Full of grace



Ivy Grace Paredes

In the universe of Ivy Grace Paredes, a large part of her magic, also so palpable every day in the lives of Filipinos, is the common understanding that—in the best of times, but especially in the worst—music isn’t just music.

It is the outward expression of spirit indomitable.

“Dapat laging palaban, dapat proud na Pilipino tayo, saan man tayo pupunta, dalhin natin ang Pilipinas,” she tells us three months after the news broke that her final journey to the live competition on X-Factor in United Kingdom ended.

Early in December 2016, she performed at the Sky Alive Tour at the Northwing of SM City Cebu, tucking in hits
from Sia, Regine Velasquez, and Celine Dion.

Unlike the rest of the singers, she was not stoned out of the TV franchise by its resident celebrity jurors Simon Cowell, Sharon Osbourne, Louis Walsh, and Nicole Scherzinger—who fondly calls Ivy “her Filipino sister” off-camera.

Or, interpretation thereof, a mine of talent.

To begin with, she is most favored in other countries, either in Dubai where she is an expatriate singer at a bowling pub since 2006, or in United Kingdom where he talent show’s auditions were staged.

Listening to her shift from one language to another—English, Cebuano, Tagalog, and a slight lift of intonation due to the British
invasion—only charts the many places she has resided to chase after her one true love.

On X-Factor, she emerged victorious after a series of test performance that began with the unaired audition with executive producers to the final six-chair challenge which earned her the mentorship of Osbourne.

Until the unthinkable happened, if the devil may ask:

Was it foul play?

“Disappointed ko kay pwede man gud siya nakong likayan, kaya lang, unprepared ko—naa ko’y fault,” the 33-year-
old native of Bukidnon confesses.

Months later, we are assured that it is no longer as disheartening—or say, the scar is not as fresh.

This is now the regeneration of a dream.

The girl who only wished to sing at amateur competitions in some small towns in Mindanao is back again, stronger than ever.

But we want to scare up the thrill, too: Once fate grants her the world stage, can she keep up?

Are you ready for showbiz?

Actually, matagal na akong ready (laughs). Ang showbiz ang hindi ready sa akin. I am still hopeful that ang time ko at ang space ko sa music industry nandyan pa rin.

I am still doing everything to fulfill my dream, especially now na may anak na ako. There’s no reason for me to stop or pause.

How did you discover your talent in singing?

I started singing at the age of nine.

Basta may amateur singing contest in Bukidnon.

Kaya lang, medyo patakas because miyembro ng Iglesia Ni Cristo ang nanay ko.

We were not allowed to participate in fiestas.

Kaya lang, it’s not the fiesta that I was after but the singing, kung baga, yun ang gusto ko.

It’s my passion. Maliit pa lang ako, kailangan ko na kumanta.

Eventually, natanggap na nila ni papa, until such time na binilihannila ako ng ukulele.

Sabi ko, di ako musician… mang-aawit ako.

Gusto ko maging singer, so binilhan nila ako ng karaoke.

Tapos yung first song na pina-aral nila sa akin ay kay Regine na “And I’m Telling You.”

Yun yung time na nanalo siya sa Asian Song Festival. Nag-start na din akong maging biritera din.

You moved to Cebu to study.

Nung 12 years old ako, dito ako sa Cebu nag high school, sa University of Cebu.

Hindi ko kinaya yung aral tapos trabaho, lagi akong nale-late sa school, so ang ending, di ako pinapapasok.

Apil-apil gihapon ko ug amateur, bisag asa apil ko.

Pag 14 years old nako, nagpaalam ako kay mama na titigil muna ako sa school.

Who is your favorite singer?

Si Regine (Velasquez) man akong number one.

Maski unsa iyang attitude sa iyang trabaho, iyang background, attitude as an artist—wala man gud siya’y issue.

But she married late.

Do you want that, too?Ako, okey na ako.

I’m a single mom.

Getting married is the last thingon my mind.

Simon Cowell said you’re entertaining.

Lahi man gyud. Dili ko naga-compose ug song pero daghan ko’g ideas gikan lang pud sa lain-laing artists, kuhaon nako siya ug ibutang usahay sa usa ka performance. Nagtuo sila nga ako ra ang gahimo sa ako’ng style.

Tungod sa daghan kaayo ko’g style nga akong gigamit wala ko nakabantay nga nahimo’ng ako na diay ang singing style. Mao na ang gusto ni Simon sa akoa… dili ko copy-paste nga artist.

Who are these artists?

Patty LaBelle, Celine Dion, Regine.

Pero for the six-chair challenge nga
“I Who Have Nothing” kay ang unang sinearch ko na version is kay Regine. Tapos Celine Dion, tapos Patty Labelle at linagay ko sa isang material.

How did you feel when you were in front of the judges?

Kulba uy … kulba gyud kaayo. Mao to ang pinaka kulba nga part sa audition nga akong na suwayan… kanang Makita nako silang upat ka judges. I am aFilipino, and they’re looking for a British artist.

I expected that 80 percent of the contest, British artists.

I did not know if they would like me kasi British country yun, eh. Simon told us that he is looking for a British talent, British accent. Nakakapang-lumo.

Is Simon Cowell really strict?

Of course. Ug sensitive ka, maghilak gyud ka sa iyaha, murag sumpa nimo siya.

Pero for me, giatanaw nako siya in a positive way kay sobrahan siya mu derecho ug sulti, sobra gyud siya mo-pranka—usahay maka-offend gyud siya—pero ug huna-hunaon nimo iyang gisulti makatabang gyud sa imo.

When Simon visited the contestants’ waiting area, did he notice you?

Wala gyud. Pirmi ko naa sa sulok. If they need me for interview, diha lang ko mupakita.

Did you feel the competitiveness of your fellow contestants?

Oo, naman. We’re all friends, pero di namin nakakalimutan na magkakalaban kami. We’re helping each other pero pagdating sa stage … diskarte mo, diskarte ko.

Of the four judges, who is your most favorite?

Si Simon. Kahit maraming galit sa kanya, kahit maraming nagsasabi na “I don’t like him”.

Give us a quick rundown of what really happened and why you exited the show.

First, I applied for a visit visa, kaya lang, I am qualified to apply for an artist’s visa category.

I asked if may problema ba, wala naman daw kaso lang I should have applied for the artist’s visa category kasi nakalagay sa form ko “professional singer.”

I reapplied.

So when I was granted another visa, late na ako ng three days.

Umalis sila ng Sept. 10 (2016), lumabas ang visa ko ng Sept. 13.

We tried to expedite the processing pero wala nami mahimo.
How did you feel that you weren’t able to join this season’s show because of visa conflicts?

Lami kaayo i-bali ang lamesa (laughs).

Disappointed ko kay pwede man gud siya nakong likayan, kaya lang, unprepared ko—naa ko’y fault, na sab
siguro sila or ang panahon gyud ang wala mitugot, so karon, we’re planning to join next season, klarohon na nako ang papers kay sa papers man mi nagkaproblema.

How did you prepare for the audition?

I exercised, jogging. Malakas ako manigarilyo noon, pero I quit smoking.

What are your upcoming projects?

I’ve spoken to a few friends in Dubai.

Gusto sila mo-buhat ug talent show, but I do not know yet, nangita sab sila ug artists nga ipadala sab nila sa laing lugar mag audition.

I will be one of the judges.

How do you describe your music?

I am a balladeer.

How do you connect with your young audience?

It’s not all the time that they like club music. For example, I always sing Adele’s pieces and most of the young audience
like it.

They’d scream. Gustong- gusto nila ang mga kanta ni Adele kasi laging nagsusumamo sa pag-ibig (laughs).

What’s your advice to aspiring singers?

The only advice I can give those planning to join big competitions like X-Factor is
to believe in themselves, do what they want, love what they do.

Put God first in everything they do, and do not lose hope. Dapat laging palaban, dapat proud na Pilipino tayo, saan man tayo pupunta, dalhin natin ang Pilipinas.

TAGS: brit, Filipinos, full, grace, Paredes, UK, X Factor UK
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