The phenomenal advent of the internet, specifically YouTube, has remarkably taken full advantage of its consummate functionality and premeditated intention way beyond men’s wildest imagination.
YouTube, an American video-sharing website created by three former Paypal employees (Chad Hurley, Steve Chem, and Jawed Kalim) on February of 2005 and headquartered in San Bruno, California, has transcended the very essence of its founders’ intent but worked to the advantage of the majority in search of acknowledgement and fame especially the millions equipped with potential singing talent.
The said website has inevitably opened doors to many seasoned talents ready for the big time especially from the Philippines where some netizens are born-singers and popularly known to be world-class performers.
It will be recalled that Journey’s frontman Arnel Pineda became an international singing sensation via YouTube. And his fate was almost duplicated when another China-based Filipino was “fished out” of YouTube by an equally popular rock band (Survivor) and underwent the same route that could have accorded another aspirant like Bryan B. Magsayo with an international exposure.
At times, Lady Luck emerges from even the most unexpected locations and Bryan was aware that when she knocks he should readily welcome her in for if he made her wait then the next door hopeful might have it…which he enthusiastically did.
Although every so often fate had it that you’d lost the chance no matter how unflinchingly dedicated you are…and it was good that Bryan had something to hold on to during that disheartening moment when almost all hopes crumbled and his dreams gone to nothingness.
Sadly, the band’s boss scratched the idea of another Asian, a Filipino at that, to be catapulted to stardom through a copycat process. The infrequent opportunity, a once-in-a-lifetime break, initially gave Bryan the probability of building lofty dreams out of his wild imaginations only to be jilted and perturbed upon learning of his supposed fame been ditched.
That unforeseen emotional downfall undeniably weakened his mortal being like a melting candle amid the dark but gave his highly spirited will power that much needed challenge to fuel his aspiration to go on and pursue his dream… to stand firm and tough in the same soil that nearly buried his lifetime passion… beneath the very skies that almost dimmed his future.
Standing barely 5’4” but walking tall with pride and dignity, the YouTube sensation from Misamis Oriental is currently in the east coast aptly armed with nothing but his incessant hope to achieve what he has decreed, living up to the expectations of his loved ones and avid supporters, and continuously reaching for that elusive star he was denied.
Bryan’s wide vocal range and great pitch made it all up for what he was short of. Listening to his covers of Air Supply and Michael Bolton could mislead one to the identity between him and the original.
Read on what actually transpired during my interview with Bryan in a midtown Starbucks Café over steaming coffee on a hot summer afternoon.
Asian Journal (AJ): What was your childhood like?
Bryan B. Magsayo (BBM): I was born in Manticao, Misamis Oriental but my family moved to Bukidnon when I was 5 and then to Zamboanga del Sur when I was in high school. My father, being an optometrist, constantly change locations where he thought business would prosper.
AJ: When did you discover your potential talent in singing?
BBM: Actually, I was timid and bashful when I was young… but I loved singing Basil Valdez’s songs through multiplex. I think I was in Grade 5 when I started to openly sing.
AJ: Could you still remember your first ever public performance?
BBM: I was in Grade 6 in an event at the Department of Agriculture. I did “Ngayon at Kailanman” by Basil Valdez.
AJ: When did you sing professionally?
BBM: I would like to consider my performance at Radio DXPR where I sang “Nais Ko” and won the daily round with fifty pesos as my take home prize but got one thousand pesos when I finished as champion.
AJ: Who are your influences?
BBM: Easily, I consider Basil Valdez… ninety-nine percent na gayang-gaya ko. Then later, Air Supply and Michael Bolton.
AJ: I saw you accompanying yourself on keyboard, was it self-taught? Can you read notes?
BBM: I had piano lessons when I was nine and yes, I could read notes. I also play drums and guitar.
AJ: How did your musical inclination evolve?
BBM? I joined a band (Noisy Busy) as a vocalist and keyboardist. My passion for music grew even extremely intense that I wanted to take up Music in college but my father persuaded me to opt for Political Science since the former’s tuition fees were high-priced.
AJ: At what stage of your singing career did you notice your capability as an Air Supply vocal dead ringer?
BBM: When I was with my band. Air Supply was on the top of the heap then but there were no available minus ones so we really mastered every single note until we perfected their songs…and people noticed our vocal similarities.
AJ: What made you decide to work overseas?
BBM: Actually, prior my leaving the country, I became an enlisted civilian army and joined the 8th Infantry Battalion under Col. Rey C. Ardo for three years. We were assigned to assist in combat in Maramag, Bukidnon and neighboring towns where our service was needed. I brought with me my band and we were tasked to entertain people amid chaotic and warring atmospheres.
I came to realize my passion as a singer won’t prosper in the boondocks and warzones so, in 2001, I applied as an entertainer in China.
AJ: So, how did you fare in a foreign land?
BBM: I landed in Xiamen City, a Chinese port city in the southeast coast, and was assigned in Holiday Inn as a member of a band for a year. Then I went on as a solo performer in 1801 Club for almost seven years (2006 – 2013) and moved to 99 Club for two years (2013-2015). My schedules weren’t that tight so I was able to record and upload my songs on YouTube during my free time.
AJ: How many songs have you uploaded? Any favorite song among them?
BBM: A lot… a little more than three hundred songs…mostly Air supply. I love Air Supply’s “Having You Near Me” and Michael Bolton’s “Said I Love You But I Lied” not only because I feel I did my best on them but simply because both have garnered two million views.
AJ: I heard you almost made it similar to Arnel Pineda’s fate?
BBM: Yeah, almost! It was Frankie Sullivan, guitarist and songwriter of Survivor Band, who discovered me on YouTube with “The Search Is Over,” a 1985 song by the same band. He contacted me and invited me to audition in Chicago. They actually approved of my performance and I knew I passed the tryout…but for some reasons, the plan folded up right there.
AJ: How did it feel? How did you take it?
BBM: Frustrated, of course! But I respected their opinion and decision. I just shrugged it off. If it wasn’t meant for me then so be it. I still believe God has even better plans for me. But the only consolation there was I was given the opportunity to legally enter the US and maybe, make all possibilities to succeed.
AJ: If given a choice, would you rather be employed, manage your own business, or make singing for a living?
BBM: Honestly, I would prefer both… as an entrepreneur and an entertainer… so that I’ll still have a fallback in the event one fails.
AJ: So far, what has been your biggest achievement, failure, regret, concert, obsession, frustration, and dream?
BBM: Achievement…? Hmmm, well, that would easily be the fame that YouTube gave me…it opened doors of opportunity for me.
Failure: My audition with Ryan Cayabyab as a Smokey Mountain member… due to my Visayan accent.
Regret: Actually, none that I could think of… everything that happened in my life was quite acceptable and fine. But if ever there would be one… that would be not mustering enough courage to fight for what should have been due me.
Concert: My fundraising concert in Valencia City in 2014 that raised money to support a poor patient’s heart surgery.
Obsession: To sing and share the stage with Air Supply and Arnel Pineda.
Frustration: My failure to make it as Survivor’s frontman.
AJ: What is your stress reliever after a hard day’s grind?
BBM: My family…my wife and my eight-year-old son… they are both the world to me.
Like a chameleon, Bryan is an effectual mimicker. His vocal power could effortlessly sound at par with the original artists and at times, even much better. If only Lady Luck could lead him to the right track that will offer him the opportunity to prove his worth, without a trace of doubt, the moniker Bryan B. Magsayo won’t only be reigning supreme on YouTube but will be a prominent figure in the main stream arena.
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