LOS ANGELES – Award-winning solo artist Ivy Violan, dubbed as the Phillippine’s “Music Festival Queen,” is nowhere near finished with her career. In fact, she’s nowhere near retirement either.
The 61-year-old pop singer is celebrating 34 years in the music industry, along with the launch of her 13th and newest album. Her one-of-a-kind musical anniversary show, Ivy Violan @ 34, will take place on Sunday, September 14 at the Rockwell Table and Stage in Hollywood.
After living in Manila for several years and taking a short hiatus, Ivy is thrilled to be back in the United States to not only perform as a solo artist, but also to be a new legal resident and citizen of the country.
“This is an entirely new journey for me,” she said of her sudden move to the US in 2012. “Things just happened so quickly, but I am fortunate. I have been blessed with this opportunity.”
Now a resident of Los Angeles, Ivy is looking forward to launch her career in the States. Her loved ones, faith in God, and the ongoing support from her fans are what have kept her going for 34 years. She has never once thought about giving up, because music is her life.
Disciplined and award-winning
Ivy was just two and ½ years old when she started singing, and was exposed to all kinds of music by her grandmother. At the age of 4, she was the lead singer in a band with her siblings, called “Ivy and the Velboys.” The group went on to perform in multiple TV and radio shows, and even won top honors at a 1958 children’s singing contest.
“When I was younger, I was always looking at how I could fit within the industry,” Ivy remembers. “Although I never dreamt of becoming a big star. I just wanted to sing and be a performer.”
In the 70s, a time when music flourished with creative talent and colorful sound, Ivy became seriously involved in the entertainment industry. She sang at lounges and performed in singing contests. Her career took off when she joined various popular Philippine bands like Royal Flush Music Society and Sangkatutak as the lead vocalist. In 1980, Ivy became a solo artist through Viva Records with her own band, 8th of September.
“As an artist, Ivy has always been disciplined,” said Rhea Espino, Ivy’s business manager, consultant and a longtime friend. “Her ‘old school ways’ are very good for her, because she is constantly looking for a way to improve herself. At 61-years-old, she exercises regularly and watches her diet. She’s very disciplined, and in that sense it has humbled her as a performing artist.”
Since going solo, Ivy has won a number of prestigious awards including the grand prize at the 4th International Midnight Sun Song Festival, the ABU-Golden Kite World Song Festival, and first place in the 1988 Asia-Pacific Singing Contest in Hong Kong. She became known as the Philippine’s “Festival Queen” after winning 11 top awards at international music festivals, and quickly earned respect within the Filipino music entertainment industry.
‘Pray hard, work hard, and bare your soul’
Through many trials in her life, Ivy has often turned to faith to help her through. A self-proclaimed “Catholic-renewed Christian,” she is very active in missionary work and in Bible study groups. She has always used faith as a guide through life’s toughest moments, and continually thanks God for her success.
When she first arrived to live in the US in 2012, Ivy was not sure of what she was doing in a different country. Having lived in the Philippines her whole life, she only traveled to the States for festivals and performances. As a new immigrant, she moved in to Los Angeles to help take care of her mom, but adjusting to a new way of life proved initially difficult.
Later in 2012, Ivy got into a freak accident and seriously injured her hand. She did not know if she would be able to work or even perform, and she became depressed. Eventually she turned to her faith and church for support, and that was the beginning of a new journey.
“God took me off the dwelling period of pain I was going through, the therapy, and everything that has happened,” Ivy shared of her devout faith. “He said not to be depressed. He gave me this project, and I believe everything was heaven-sent. Now I always turn to him in prayer, saying ‘God, please sustain me.’ And now, here I am.”
Within two years Ivy quit her music hiatus, applied for US citizenship, and reached out to her colleagues to reunite with her first love of singing. Over the years and with the support of family, friends, and her so-called “Victory Group” team who manages her, Ivy has blossomed into an award-winning solo artist with a growing worldwide fan base.
“I’ve realized that life is like the ABC’s and the 123’s. First, you pray hard. You work hard. And you treat the stage as a playground. Showcase what you have, give your all, and bare your soul when you’re on stage.”
34 years in the making
On Sunday, Sept. 14 Ivy Violan will celebrate her 34th anniversary as an award-winning performer. Bringing together many of the same artists she worked with years ago, including special guest artist Mila Garcia, her music director Rey Cristobal and her original drummer, the concert will feature an arrangement of hits from the past, as well as new songs from her upcoming album. Goldmine Entertainment and Cravings Entertainment, who also helped put out her CD, is behind the production of the show.
“There will be hit songs from the 70s, covers, upbeat pop songs, dance music, OPM, award-winning songs, just every kind of genre,” Ivy’s manager Rhea Espino shared. “Ivy wants to have a show that is enjoyable to all ages, all audiences.”
Her new album, also launching on Sunday, will include re-released recordings of older music, as well as six new songs that Ivy herself wrote and produced.
“She is always looking to evolve and change her sound, to improve it,” Espino said.
The 34th anniversary concert will be the first time the Rockwell in Hollywood has hosted a mainstream Filipino artist at its supper club-like venue. The show will include dinner, followed by an hour and a half-long performance and ballroom dancing.
“I always say it was the perfect time, and it was given to me. It has been a dream,” Ivy said.
At her age, Ivy continues to see big opportunities opening for her career, and she is always looking forward to the next chapter. After her anniversary show, she will continue to perform in various concerts and local fundraisers in North America, and she is going back to the Philippines in December to perform in musical variety shows like The Filipino Channel’s ASAP.
“With God, nothing is impossible. It has always been my desire to bless others, and through music I believe that I can,” she said.
Ivy Violan @ 34 wouldn’t have been possible without sponsors like the Law Office of Mary Lyn T. Sanga; M Beauty by Dr. Tess Mauricio; JMJ Wealth Management; Care Property Management; David’s Salon of Los Angeles; Beverly Western Medical Group; Helping Hands of Beverly Hills; Neri’s Curbside Cravings and Neri’s Restaurant; Shaklee; Jesi Medez Salon – Glorietta Makati Manila; The Crowd Bar Manila. The show is on Sunday, Sept. 14 at 7:30pm at Rockwell Table and Stage located at 1714 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, Calif., 90027.
(LA Weekend September 13-16, 2014 Sec. B pg.1)