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Inquirer brand ambassador Lara Maigue: Filipinos should be more open to change

As a classically trained singer crossing over to the local pop scene, Lara Maigue feels that it’s her responsibility to help preserve Filipino opera and traditional songs by helping the younger generation cultivate an interest in such musical genres.

But she knows only too well that the task at hand won’t be easy. “It’s hard to get the youth into classical music because they see it as something their elders would listen to,” said Lara, a soprano who recently graduated from the University of the Philippines’ College of Music, where she majored in voice.

“I don’t want to let our musical gems just die … It would be great if young people get to appreciate the artists and history behind the music. I want them to be proud of what we have,” she said.

At 25, Lara, a former member of the vocal trio Opera Belles, is part of the millennial demographic—a fact that she uses to her advantage. “Maybe seeing someone their age performing songs like ‘Sa Kabukiran’ would make them realize that this music isn’t only for old people,” Lara said.

“I usually sing pop songs in shows I perform in, but I give them a twist by adding some coloratura flourishes here and there. At times, I squeeze in a kundiman or two,” she continued. “It’s one way of making classical music more accessible to those who aren’t used to listening to them.”

Though her background is mostly classical, Lara is attuned to the mainstream industry and the issues that beset it. Foreign artists and music continue to dominate local airwaves, she observed. So, now more than ever, it’s imperative that Filipino artists continue writing and promoting original material.

Lara longed to be a part of that advocacy. That’s why she took it upon herself to start crafting her own material—not only to expand her range as an artist but also to contribute to the Philippine music scene her way, no matter how small.

She’s a two-time finalist in the annual PhilPop songwriting tilt. In 2013, she made it into the tilt’s Top 12 with the melancholic love ballad, “Sa ’Yo Na Lang Ako”; and in 2015, with the similarly wired “Nasaan.” These are achievements she’s most proud of in her burgeoning career.

“I thought that I was going to focus on being a soprano and doing opera all my life,” admitted Lara, who couldn’t help but feel proud to be a Filipino whenever she sees news about fellow artists making it on the world stage.

“But writing songs completely changed my life,” she added. “Singing other people’s songs, in a way, made me feel that I didn’t have an identity. But now that I know I can write my own compositions—Tagalog songs, to be exact—I feel like I’m in a better position to connect with people.”

For a songwriter, ideas can come from different places—even news articles can be sources of inspiration, she said. Thus, Lara didn’t think twice in accepting the Inquirer Group of Companies’ (IGC) offer to become one of the brand ambassadors for the recently launched #MyINQUIRER campaign, highlighting the new media quintet experience – specifically the Inquirer Mobile application.

“We also get ideas from reading stories online or in print,” she said. “It helps to have news at your fingertips. It’s great to see that the Inquirer is adapting to the different ways millennials consume news these days. I’m honored to represent the brand.”

Lara related that all the members of her family (all of whom are music artists and run a music school) read the Inquirer. “Personally, I love reading human interest stories,” she disclosed.

The classical crossover vocalist, together with Ogie Alcasid, Basti Artadi and Davey Langit, recorded a jingle for IGC titled “My Inquirer.” Asked what the phrase means to her, Lara said: “‘My Inquirer,’ for me, is simply telling your own stories, which could hopefully encourage people to do better things for our nation and, ultimately, make a difference.”

Asked how she intends to do that as a musician, Lara reiterated her intent to use music as a vehicle to inspire. “It plays a huge part in our lives; music brings people together. I want to write songs that would empower Filipinos; something that would make them proud. And I’ll never stop singing the kundiman and the beautiful classical songs I grew up loving,” said Lara, who likewise urged Filipinos to be more open about the prospect of change.

“For a better Philippines, change should start with ourselves. Instead of fighting and bickering, let’s think of ways to help our country.”


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