By Charlene Chua
The New Paper
Tuesday, June 03, 2014
Local child singing sensation Miguel Antonio Vedanaigam is finally set for the big time after first catching the eye of Black Eyed Peas member apl.de.ap two years ago.
The 39-year-old Filipino-American rapper-producer has invited the 13-year-old singer to perform at the Greek Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles this Sunday for The Rebuild Philippines Benefit Concert.
Miguel, the only singer from Singapore, will share the stage with other international acts like Black Eyed Peas, QBert, DJ Amino, Talib Kweli and W3.
Proceeds from the concert ticket sales will go to the victims of typhoon Haiyan, which struck the Philippines last November and left several provinces destroyed in its wake.
As the youngest singer at the gig, Miguel - whose mum is Filipino and dad Singaporean-Indian - will be singing Hope Of One Voice, an original song written by Ms Elim Chew, the owner of local clothing company 77th Street. Miguel will be recording a few singles in apl.de.ap's studio - including his original composition, a gospel song titled Rescue, slated for release in Asia.
He rose to fame three years ago after HOT FM91.3 DJ Cheryl Miles, a family friend, shared a YouTube video of him singing I Dreamed A Dream from the musical Les Miserables on her Facebook page.
Miguel told The New Paper over the phone yesterday: "I'm really excited and slightly nervous to be performing at the concert. "apl.de.ap is very cool and down-to-earth and he says he's going to take us around Hollywood, to try the street tacos and everything. "I'm also looking forward to recording in (Black Eyed Peas frontman) will.i.am's studio, it's one of the most advanced studios around."
It started two years ago when apl.de.ap visited Singapore and met Miguel at a concert and was blown away after he heard him sing.
Last year, apl.de.ap set up a new Singapore-based record label and brand marketing company called BMBX (short for boombox) Entertainment to boost the profile of music artists in the region. T
he label has signed three artists so far - Singaporean rapper Kevin Lester, Hong Kong-born singer Jessica Reynoso and Filipino band Slapshock. If Miguel scores a similar record deal, it will be in part thanks to Ms Chew. The entrepreneur, who is in her 40s, said she had a vision of a flood in 2011 when she was in Japan for a meeting.
In the vision, she said she saw children clinging on to floating logs and crying out for help. That spurred her to write down what she saw and she ended up penning the lyrics to Hope Of One Voice.
Ms Chew recently sent her song - which was written for a child to perform and was composed by local singer-songwriter Cat Ong - to apl.de.ap, who welcomed her to find someone to sing it at his upcoming concert. She said: "I sent Miguel's videos over to apl.de.ap and because he already knew Miguel, everything proceeded smoothly.
"It's exciting knowing that we're representing Singapore in helping to raise funds and promote our local talent."
A specially-designed T-shirt that was created to support the Hope Of One Voice Rebuild Philippines initiative will be on sale from next Monday at 77th Street. Twenty per cent of the sales from the merchandise will go to the Apl.de.Ap Foundation for this cause.
When Ms Chew first heard the talented teen sing two years ago at a concert, she found out that he was actually the son of a customer she has known for over 20 years.
Miguel's father Sam Vedanaigam used to get his haircuts from the salon that Ms Chew owned, which was around till 1994.
Mr Vedanaigam, who has spent $15,000 on air tickets alone for family members to fly up to support him at the concert, said that he couldn't be more proud of his son.
The 54-year-old managing director added:
"Miguel has always said that he wants to sing and share his voice with the less fortunate.
"Thanks to him, we got to hang out with apl.de.ap when he was in Singapore recently (for music trade event Music Matters).
"I think I'll be more nervous than Miguel at the concert. What he has achieved at 13 is nothing short of remarkable."
"It's exciting knowing that we're representing Singapore in helping to raise funds and promote our local talent," Ms Elim Chew on teen singer Miguel Antonio Vedanaigam performing in Hollywood on Sunday.
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