Excelsa De Jesus: multi-faceted, ambitious, and indomitable

“We only pass this stage of youth but once…and dreaming lofty dreams today is to be assured of a dazzling and secured tomorrow…”

Millennials, (the demographic cohort following Gen X or the 13th Generation composed of people born in the 60s and 70s) according to Iconoclast, are made up of Gen Y or those born during the 80s and 90s) that have quantified the paramount significance of an astute groundwork for the future. While Generation Y and Generation Z (those born from 1981 to 2001 (including those born a little beyond) are both called Millennials, it can’t be denied that their perceptions, ideologies, and principles have incredibly transformed and altered global communications and identity brought about by the advent of modern technology.

Excelsa M. De Jesus, a quintessential exponent of the Millennial generation (being born on April 21, 1999), has candidly embraced the most recent advancement this world has to offer leaving her family values unaffected and intact.

A Taurean by heart Excelsa is strongly equipped with a great sagacity of will power, prefers clear paths and routes, and works diligently towards developing an intellectual sense of empathy and justice. As the youngest child in the brood of 3 and only daughter of Wilfredo De Jesus (a Physical Therapist and Pastor at the International Fellowship Church at College Point, NY) and Ana Gene M. De Jesus (a Physical Therapist and Homecare Provider), the dutiful “apple of the family’s eyes” grew up closely guarded and overly protected.

At the tender age of 18 she’s unmistakably loaded with wit and wisdom, she meticulously scrutinizes what is proper and good for her and what would ensure an excellent foundation for her future. Having weathered several trials and ably examined in her keenest analysis how to give the best of her in any endeavor, she finds her journey interesting and every challenge was worth giving a try.

Excelsa is the intelligent type, setting aside serious personal affair and listing it last among her priorities.. “That will come later only after I have attained everything I have aspired for and success is comfortably rested in the palm of my hands,” she straightforwardly said. There was always that divergent sense of security and assurance in her every statement, with decisions firmly punctuated with precision and brevity. Substantial in her thoughts with inexhaustible mind Excelsa indubitably epitomizes a true-blooded millennial but honed and molded conventionally.

The future is her main concern so no slapdash judgment for her. Excelsa constantly keeps in mind that now is what tomorrow will be. A great number of guidelines could be beneficial such as studying her option and disseminating it like in a book, discerning its contents from the beginning and absorbing its concluding message with exactitude. She justifies the real context and digest it sans being bias or lop-sided for she knows mistakes will give a different meaning or ultimately lose its essence.

Music has constantly been an innate expression of her emotions since childhood. It is her heart and soul and the main core of her persona.

“I can’t even remember a single day I failed to sing or hum a tune. For me, music is something like a fundamental need like water, air, and food… something I couldn’t live without. Maybe, I can skip a meal but not my music,” Excelsa explicitly volunteered with an impish smile in an attempt to persuade me to her side. I smiled back with a nod to assure her that I believed what she stated.

Now that she has just exited the gates of La Guardia High School of Music and Performing Arts, Excelsa plans to take up Musical Theater (Integrated / Conservatory) at AMDA (American Musical and Dramatic Academy) in NYC to further hone her musical ingenuity and (maybe) explore her latent flair for  theater arts.

To have a perfect grasp of who the real Excelsa is, here is an excerpt from what transpired during our cordial conversation one chilly Friday afternoon.

Asian Journal (AJ): What was your childhood like?

Excelsa De Jesus (EDJ): Being the youngest in the family I was overly cared for but I wasn’t a spoiled brat.  I was born in Queens and moved to the Bronx when I was a toddler. I maybe young but I was responsible and clued-up as to the “don’t’s” and “do’s.” My parents and brothers could leave me alone at home when I was 5 weighed down with reminders like “Don’t open the door,” “Don’t go out,” etc.

AJ: What made you lean towards music?

EDJ: I remember I started to sing at a church service during a Christmas Cantata when I was 4. They just taught me the lyrics in English and Spanish without even knowing its meaning and message. From then on I began to love singing… at home entertaining guests and in school programs.

AJ: What type of music do you prefer?

EDJ: I go for lyrical and narrative songs… songs that tell story.

 AJ: If not music, what other options do you have?

EDJ: Hmmm, I guess that would be dancing so there’ll still be music… or acting since music will still be applied as background to underline the scene. But honestly, I wouldn’t be happy without music.

AJ: Who was your greatest influence?

EDJ: Earlier when I first heard “Sing Me Your Song Again, Daddy” from Jose Mari Chan’s “Constant Change” album I instantaneously fell in love with it that I repetitiously sung it. Whitney Houston’s dominant vocal range empowered my inclination for high octave rendition, then I gravitated towards Broadway after I watched Lea Salonga in “Allegiance.”  Now, I have a list of Broadway pieces in my repertoire.

AJ:  What has been your biggest achievement?

EDJ: For me achievement is sharing. Whatever I accomplish, I share. I’ve done a couple of solo fundraising concerts like “Harmony of Praise” and “Fun To Raise” that benefited the less privileged children of Cebu, Manila, Iloilo, Palawan, and Estancia. Seeing these kids’ smile made me feel like my achievement has enormously multiplied.

AJ: How is your free time spent?

EDJ: I haven’t actually outgrown the very child in me. Yeah, I watch anime, I write poetry and compose music. One evening I was so inspired that I composed a song overnight and performed it at the church service the next morning.

AJ: When the right time comes, what traits are you looking for in a man?

EDJ: He should be God-fearing, mature enough to take the challenges that marriage entails, he must be intelligent to carry a sensible conversation, and with a sense of humor. Well, good-looking should be a bonus. (giggles and laughs)

AJ: Enumerate 5 things you cannot leave the house without.

EDJ: My meter card, money (of course), a fully charged cellphone, keys, and headphone.

AJ: What songs would you belt out in a bar, school auditorium, social hall, and an assemblage of senior citizens?

EDJ: Easily that would be jazzy music, pop and rock, Broadway and ballads, and classical or old time favorites… in that order.

AJ: Describe yourself in 5 adjectives:

EDJ: Spunky, optimistic, ambitious, creative, and (passionately) driven

AJ: Have you received an unsatisfactory comment after a performance? How did you handle it?

EDJ: I managed to acknowledge the constructive points and shrug off my shoulder if it was just meant to beleaguer me.

AJ: What music genre is your waterloo? And where are you best at?

EDJ: I really tried to be comfortable in any given genre but my weakest? That would be rock! On the other hand, I could straightforwardly say I’m at ease with Broadway.

AJ: Any regret in life?

EDJ: I regretted so much not having auditioned for a major musical production in school. It could have given me the opportunity to shift my major from vocal to musical theater.

AJ: What was the performance that you could have done better?

EDJ: That would be my latest performance at the Town Hall in Times Square where I did  “The Girl in 14G.” I thought I could have done it better if I only have more time to rehearse…but everybody was impressed and said it was good.

AJ: Any motto in life or guiding principle?

EDJ: This I wrote for my Annual Book: “Though I may not hold the pen but I carry the ink to make my mark in this world…after all, I cannot keep the history books waiting!”

Currently, while still on vacation from school, Excelsa unstoppably prepares for her upcoming journey as New York’s representative to the Miss Republic of the Philippines-International to be participated by Filipinas around the world at the Sofitel Hotel on the last week of January, 2018.

From the Asian Journal, together with your friends in the local entertainment arena, we all wish you luck and come back home a queen.

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