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Evolution

From America to the Philippines, Jessica Sanchez keeps her momentum going at her own pace.

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Ever since the teaser of “Idol Philippines” was made public, and past the time Regine Velasquez-Alcasid was officially announced to be part of it, there have been wild guesses on who else will be on the judges’ panel.

Jessica Sanchez (mb.com.ph)

Jessica Sanchez

Consider Jessica Sanchez. Her fans were set abuzz by hopes that she might actually take a seat on the local edition of the hit reality singing competition, given her “American Idol” experience years back.

In an interview with Bulletin Entertainment, Jessica herself admitted she is aware of the clamor. She hopes it will be wish granted not only for the fans, but for herself.

“I heard rumors like that. I’m really grateful that fans are considering me since I became a part of ‘Idol’ here in the States. I hope I can be part of ‘Idol Philippines’ in the future. I’m super excited to watch many Filipino talents. I hope they (the management) invite me!” she said.

Behind that, Jessica has quite a lot on her plate now as an artist. She travels from North to East for a series of shows. She has an upcoming concert in the Philippines, and a new album hopefully for release by early 2019.

Big dreams

Jessica’s story is one that begins when a shy 16-year-old girl dominated the American stage with a voice that goes head-to-head with “I Am Telling You” singer’s Jennifer Holliday.

Recalling her stint on the “American Idol” – where she finished as runner-up – the now 23-year-old Fil-Am singer said her experience was quite bittersweet, yet it taught her a lot of life lessons.

“It looked like a camp that prepared me to the chaos in the music industry,” she said. “It may be seven years ago but it is still a surreal feeling for me. Yes, the competition was kinda draining, like, I was thinking ‘Oh I’m not gonna make it to the next round!’ I was crying and freaking out.

“It was crazy but I can say that it prepared me for the real world. The constant hustle and hard work, it taught me to be strong as an artist.”

Born to immigrant parents who have established their lives in the United States, one would hear many Filipinos say Jessica was living the American dream. Some even argued she was too American to be celebrated, adding the fact that she had never set foot in the Philippines prior to her “American Idol” success.

But according to her, it was this opportunity that helped her touch base with a part of her identity that she has yet to fully discover.

She added that contrary to stated prejudices, she is more Filipino than meets the eye.

“I was so excited for my first trip to my mom’s homeland. It all happened so fast, but I remember it being full of amazing food, amazing people and amazing moments,” she recalled.

In the years that followed, Pinoys saw her performing on local television programs like “ASAP,” and held guest performances in some concerts.

Why not stay in the Philippines for good, we suggested.

Although with no certainty just yet, Jessica said, “I would love to! But you know, with things going on with my career and my personal life, it’s really hard to say. I try to visit at least once a year. I’m half-Filipino so I always want to learn and experience more of the culture.”

Should it push through, Jessica looks forward to collaborating with local artists like Regine, whom she congratulated for her return to ABS-CBN.

“Filipino singers are like monsters!” she exclaimed. “Everyone is so great, very passionate and very talented. So definitely I want to collaborate with them. I am looking forward to that.”

Relating how she started being a kontesera at the age of 7, Jessica advises young singers to never give up.

“I remember that when I was pursuing my dreams, many people told me ‘No. Why are you even trying?’ I was like, this is my passion. Nobody can stop me. All I want to say is just keep pushing forward, never let anybody strain you from your dream,” she said.

Bolder, grittier

A big voice in her own right, Jessica said her concert in the Philippines will show her evolution and versatility as an artist. Joining her on stage is guest artist Martin Nievera, whom she describes as her “big brother.”

Her songs are deemed Filipino favorites as “I Will Always Love You,” “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going” and “I Have Nothing,” all of which were among her “Idol” performance repertoire.

According to the singer, the night will also see a new Jessica who is bolder and grittier singer.

“The concert is a mixture of fun stuff. Actually, I don’t have any expectations from the Filipino fans despite that this is my first major concert. I just wish for the audience to have fun, be in the moment, have a good time,” said she whose influences are Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston and Aretha Franklin.

Even with the dominant Western look and accent, Jessica promised to belt out Filipino songs as a way of thanking her loyal fans and supporters.

“Jessica Sanchez With Special Guest Martin Nievera” happens on Nov. 10 at The Theatre at Solaire.

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