Amazing singer–that’s all many people know about Jed Madela. Dig deeper, though, and he’ll let you in on something there that you thought wasn’t there before.
But, first, the basics: He is John Edward Tajanlangit in real life. Jed rose to stardom by becoming the first Filipino to win a trophy at the World Championship Performing Arts (WCOPA) in 2005, besting 3000 contestants from all over the world. In 2013, he was first Pinoy inducted into its Hall of Fame.
So, now, the15 things you won’t believe you didn’t know you never knew about the champ:
Jed came from humble beginnings
Jed was born in Iloilo. His father was a choirmaster while his mother worked as an Administrative Assistant.
Though some reports claim his grandfather owns a huge part of land in their province, Jed dismissed the notion that he lives life in silk stockings.
“Hindi kami mayaman. Well, probably my grandparents pero kami we’re not that rich. Although hindi rin kami ‘yung kawawang-kawawa kasi nakapag-school namin kami ng maayos. I guess, the way we’re brought up, nagkakaroon ng notion na ‘Mayaman siguro yan,’ pero hindi naman. Simple lang kami,” he said.
He never wanted to be a professional singer
He grew up with a musically-inclined family but Jed never intended to be a professional singer. For him, at least in the beginning, it was all “hobby-hobby lang.”
“The reason I came to Manila that time was nag-apply ako for a flight attendant job. I was supposed to do training na kaso underage ako. Nag-skip kasi ako ng dalawang years so maaga akong naka-graduate ng college,” he narrated.
“So sabi ko, habang nag-aantay ako maging 21. Kakanta muna ako sa mga bars dito sa Manila. Actually halos lahat ng bars sa Malate, naikot ko. Tapos one time habang kumakanta, duon na may naka-discover sa akin.”
He loves performing in the country most of all
As fate would have it, Jed became successful in the music industry. According to him — after winning in WCOPA — he was offered several times to establish a career abroad. But he turned them all down.
Jed’s heart belongs to his homeland.
“Iba talaga ‘yung feeling kapag dito ka (nagpe-perform sa sariling bansa mo). Not unless si Bruno Mars and Beyonce ang magi-invite sa akin,” he quipped.
“But seriously, happy na ako dito. Iba ‘yung hype kapag nakikita ko ‘yung mga kapwa ko Pilipino na apektado sa mga performances ko. Sakin nga kahit wala ng awards, ‘yung mapasaya ko ‘yung mga nanunuod, it’s already an award for me.”
Jed expounded: “Filipino fans are very appreciative. And it’s very flattering na na-touch ko ang mga puso nila through my spiels, through my music. Honestly nakakapagod ng mag-byahe lalo’t tumatanda na ako. Iba ‘yung fulfillment kapag nasa Pilipinas. At the same time, challenging kasi ang Pinoy fans, they are very hard to please.”
He almost gave up his singing career
Believe it or not, there was a time when the pop balladeer had anxiety attacks following a phase of feeling “irrelevant and insignificant” in the music industry.
“I started my career from scratch. That time, walang social media, word of mouth, newspaper and talent lang talaga (ang magdadala sa yo). Whenever I share my people my stories, parang palaging ‘Wow lang,’” he shared. “But honestly, I’d been through many down times. In fact, I wanted to stop na nga eh. Kasi sabi ko, kahit anong birit ko, kahit anong pagpapakitang gilas ko na magaling ako, parang hindi ako na-aappreciate.”
Eventually, Jed realized that audience appreciation is seasonal. Meaning one day they love birits, other days they hanker for low key acoustic music.
“It’s a phase,” he said. “Nu’ng mga time na iniisip ko na ‘Ano pa bang kailangan ko gawin?’ Na-realize ko na pana-panahon talaga. Ang mahalaga, you have to let people be aware na you’re still there kahit na iba ‘yung taste nila for that time para hindi ka nila makalimutan.”
He has his limitations
Jed said he’s only human and there are things he can’t do as a singer.
For one, he finds it hard to reach low notes.
“I also cannot hold my breath long. ‘Yung mahaba, ‘yung ginagawa ni Kyla na hangin, I can’t do it,” he said.
Jed can’t sing and dance at the same time like Gary Valenciano does.
“Baka isang talon pa lang, hingalin na ako!” he said, laughing.
But when Jed highlights his strengths – belting high notes — wow.
“And the fact na I’m a guy, I think that deserves as advantage for me,” he said. “Above everything else, I guess my other strength is my passion for the industry. I’m so gigil to bring back how the local music industry was before.”
Jed expends extra effort in taking care of that voice
Being someone who makes a living out of singing, losing his voice is Jed’s worst fear.
In 2015, Jed faced career dilemma when he suddenly lost his voice. He was advised by a doctor to not sing for a month.
All is well now and the singer makes sure it won’t happen again.
“Lalo na ngayon na the weather is really bad, laging akong nagkaka-sipon at nagkaka-ubo. Sobrang conscious akong ingatan ito. In fact, I gave up na ‘yung mga usual na ini-indulge ko like ice cream, chocolates, ‘yung mga malalamig (na food),” he said.
He gets a big thrill connecting with his audience
“I’m very sensitive to what my audience wants. Hindi ako ‘yung tipo ng artist na didiktihan kita, na ito ang pakinggan mo,” Jed said. “Ang ginagawa ko, inaalam ko ‘yung gusto nila, pinagbibigyan ko sila, at the same time inooffer ko ‘yung ganitong style ko. Kumbaga, balanse lang.”
Jed is conscious with his growth as an artist.
“I owe this to the audience. Kaya every concert, I make sure na may bago akong ipapakita. Challenge siya for me because I have to give something else all the time.”
He is a funny guy
One look and you know he is serious with his craft but Jed can be funny too. In fact, he discovered – by accident – that he can mimic the singing styles of some of our best singers. And this “talent” is a big hit in his shows.
“During the first few years ko sa industry, ang naging tatak ko lang is biritero ako. But eventually, na-discover din ng mga tao na I’m not just a balladeer. I’m not just a singer, I can make jokes, make people laugh. And they see different dimension of me sa mga live concerts ko,” he said.
He conceptualizes, writes and directs his own show
Jed is very hands-on with everything that concerns his music.
“Ayoko kasi i-entrust sa ibang tao kasi kapag ako ‘yung gagawa, alam ko kung ano ‘yung gusto though siyempre open ako sa collaborations,” he said. “Pero ako talaga ‘yung kumbaga ‘yung nangungulit kay Jonathan (Manalo of Star Music) na ‘Oh mag-record na tayo bukas ha.”’
He likes mentoring young talents
Jed has a soft spot for those just starting in the business. Over the past year, he mentored the kids of WCOPA Team Philippines for free.
Asked to give unsolicited advice for young singers, here’s what we got from Jed.
“Actually okay naman sila eh. Like sila Inigo (Pascual), Darren (Espanto), they’re very good. Ang masasabi ko lang sa mga batang singers, they should sing their age. Kung 14 o 16 ka lang, why would you sing about sex ‘di ba? Ngayon kasi, basta sikat ang kanta kahit bastos, sasabihin nila na ‘Ah kailangan kantahin natin yan.’ Hindi naman sumunod sa uso,” he shared.
Jed celebrates his 15th anniversary in the industry this year
In line with this, he will release an album soon then hold a concert by end of the year.
He is grateful he remains relevant. Among his goals is to keep the local music scene alive.
Why not try acting, we suggested.
“It depends. Given the chance, why not? But more than that, I hope for more opportunities. I hope to sing more on TV, to direct, to write scripts for concerts,” he said.
He doesn’t see himself heading an OPM organization
“It’s difficult to deal with so many artists, hindi ko kakayanin. I can help but walang specific position. Pikon kasi ako eh, like kapag may umarte na artista diyan, sasagutin ko yan,” he said. “At saka sobra akong strict lalo na sa mine-mentoran ko.”
He has a collection of shoes and perfumes
Jed considers buying shoes and perfumes as reward for his hard work. His most expensive shoes cost thirty thousand (he won’t say in what currency).
“Actually I don’t have specific brands but I just buy it kapag talagang gustong-gusto ko, at the same time, reasonable ‘yung price.”
He visits charities and foundations every December
“May isang home for the aged sa Iloilo na pinupuntahan ko every December. Nagpe-perform ako du’n, I buy gifts for them tapos kwento kwento. At the end of the day, they just need attention eh, kaya kami ‘pag nagpunta kami du’n, nakikinig kami sa kwento ng buhay nila.”
Don’t make him sing…
As much as possible, Jed said he refrains from singing the Philippine National Anthem in professional capacity only because he is pressured to meet the expectations of Filipinos.
“Grabe din kasi mag-judge ang mga tao. Kung may mamali ka lang ng isang pronunciation, lagot ka na,” he said.
According to Jed, he’s not a fan of novelty songs as “I’m more into songs na may deeper meaning.”
Asked about the fans’ most requested song during shows and concerts, Jed disclosed: “The Past.”
“Actually kapag nagma-mall ako, ‘pag may nakakita sa akin, ang sinasabi palagi ‘Oy si ‘The Past!’ Though it’s not my (original) song, du’n ako nakilala kaya hindi din ako napapagod na kantahin siya every time na nire-request ng mga tao.” (With report from Jojo P. Panaligan)
Tags: 15 things you won't believe you didn't know about Jed Madela, Jed Madela, Manila Bulletin, Manila Bulletin Entertainment, mb.com.ph, professional singer, With report from Jojo P. Panaligan, World Championship Performing Arts