Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Perfect Song

The hardest part of being in a singing contest is PICKING THE RIGHT SONG.

It has to be the one that suits my voice, the one that would have a great impact on the audience, the one where I could have much drama on stage and best of all the one that would fit my style.

It took me more than a week to find the perfect song, often times spending most of my free time just searching on the net, asking people around and checking other resources for that PERFECT SONG.

But finally after much thinking and debating I have decided on something where I could dance to the song and something that suits my personality...

NOBODY by the Korean girl group WONDER GIRLS. :D

My plan is to try to reconstruct the song according to my voice and also reconstruct the mp3 to a different arrangement than the original.

Now, the next problem would be... the costume... :p

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

FEBRUARY 26: The Fighter

February 26, marked the first fight for the Pop Icon title. All of the contenders felt the tension amidst the laughter and chitchatting... it was time.

I arrived at the Philippine Embassy feeling refreshed. Before I went to the venue I worked out, vocalised, ate a hefty meal, drank herbal tea and took a short nap while listening to classical music. I made sure that all of the things I will be needing in the competition were ready and good to go. Everything were prepared and so was I.

All the contenders were still bonding and laughing backstage despite the uneasiness everybody were feeling. Finally, after four Fridays of rehearsals and workshops it was time for us to shine and show our stuff.

We started the show by performing "THE CLIMB" by Joe, the 2009 winner of X-Factor, then we hurried of backstage to dress-up for our performance.

I was contestant number 8, but somehow when we were called to the side of the stage I felt tense and thought to myself that I needed some more time to rehearse my high notes... so I prayed. And as if God heard me, the call for the Aisha prayer came and so the show had to stop in respect. That gave me ample time to prepare.

When my turn finally came, I answered the interview questions with much confidence... and then the performance.

The moment I walked to the center I didn't feel anything, everything went black and I felt like I was possessed by the music. It didn't matter how I looked or sounded, I just wanted to give everything I've got and perform well. I felt like a pop star! At the end of my performance I was surprised because I heard lots of people cheering for me when I didn't even brought so many people to root for me.

I stumbled and fell... but I stood up and tried again. Despite all obstacles, I WAS ABLE TO MAKE IT TO THE NEXT ROUND!

With dedication, passion and determination, I rose and became one of the victors. I was definitely a fighter that night.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Thank You

FINALLY! All my hard work has paid off! I have my voice back and I am very well conditioned for the competition tonight! And it's all thanks to my friends, family and vocal coaches who had stuck with me 'til the end! PLUS of course my determination to win and my passion for singing helped too. :)

There are so many people to thank... so I'm gonna start with:

MY MOM, who stuck with me from the very beginning and has supported me in all my endeavors... She's my number one supporter in this POP ICON competition... My stage mom, thank YOU! I will be a much better daughter to my mama from now on! I LOVE YOU MA!

MY DAD, who patiently drove me to practices, Pop Icon rehearsals and costume fittings. :)

MY SIBLINGS, who are always there supporting me and cheering me on!

MARK BADONG, who graciously took some time off from his busy schedule to watch me sing every night and bring inspiration. Thank you for giving me my strength and passion back. This song is for you and you know it! :)

MICHAEL ARLOU DE DIOS, who listened to my woes every night and gave me time to think about what I should do to pull myself up again. Thanks for being such a wonderful and supportive friend! And for giving me HK! I will bring her tonight! ^^

MRS. KHOURY, for always believing in me and giving so much confidence! And for taking some valuable time each day to coach me for free in your class. I am sorry for those times that I felt I couldn't do it, but I am thankful that you have so much faith in what I could do! :)

CRISTINA PENALOSA, for being a very patient vocal coach! You've done so much in polishing my song and helping me get back on track after getting sick! I would still be singing sharps and flats if it weren't for you!

JEI-C, who gave me that very powerful message that woke me up from my desperation! I will never forget what you said, that my enemy is me and I am my only inspiration. That my song is about being a fighter so I should fight... and so I AM FIGHTING! :D

MS. LAURIE and MS. SITTI, two of the most wonderful co-workers in the world! Thank you for lifting me up each day and for allowing me to go to Ms. Khoury for my training even during work times hehehe. :)

MY FRIENDS AT FACEBOOK/MULTIPLY, POP ICON S2 and S3... Thank you for all your wonderful and inspiring messages! Thanks for taking time to vote for me as well. :)

And above all... GOD THE ALMIGHTY, for Whom I owe all these blessings. If it weren't for God I wouldn't be in this competition. Thank you Lord!!! This fight is for YOU!

The competition is tonight at 5PM KSA/10PM PHIL. at the Philippine Embassy here in Riyadh! Please take some time to pray for me or send me some positive vibes. :)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Climb

Lately I have been down in the dumps, because I have been sick with a sore throat and cough for two weeks and that rendered me useless, because I am not allowed to practice my piece, to sing and to do cardio work-outs for my breathing. And so when I came back from being ill my voice was not in good condition.

Then last Saturday, for the first time after two weeks of being sick, I sang again with Mrs. Khoury... and I really sucked! I didn't nail the high notes, I wasn't myself. AAAAARRRGGGHHHHHHHHH! I WANTED TO CRY that time!

I only had 6 DAYS... SIX freakin' days before the competition and I am still not at my best!!!!!!

A huge part of me wanted to give up. But a chockfull of friends were lifting me up with wonderful words of wisdom. A friend of mine even asked me the title of the song I was going to sing in the competition, and I was like “You already know right, it’s Fighter”… and that’s when he made his point, that my song was about being a fighter and fighters don’t give up, they fight! A friend of mine also said that I have to think about my passion in singing, my determination to win and stay focused in what I’m doing… and that’s what I am doing right now.

I can’t say that I am back to what I was before I got sick but atleast I’m doing my best now and not giving up.

I guess struggles like these happen to challenge people and see if they really want what they want. I suppose a lot of pop stars had to go through same things like these in the beginning.

Well, just like Miley Cyrus said in her song, The Climb:

“The struggles I’m facing, the chances I’m taking, Sometimes might knock me down but no I’m not breakin’… But I gotta be strong, Just keep pushing on! There’s always be gonna another mountain, I’m always gonna wanna make it move, Always gonna be an uphill battle, Sometimes I gonna have to lose, Ain’t about how fast I get there, Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side… IT’S THE CLIMB!”


Sunday, February 14, 2010


It’s been more than a week since I practiced singing and it is making me feel rusty.
I have been sick since Feb. with a sore throat and that lasted for a week, which was then followed by a bad cough and I still have it today.
I guess this is a lesson for me not to overdo practicing especially during cold weather. Now I realized how important it is to take care of, not only my singing voice, but of my health as well, otherwise it will be useless if I can’t sing well because of my condition.
My vocal coach suggests to stop singing once I feel tension in my throat, and to only sing my piece twice a day to not strain my voice. I should’ve listened to her.
Now, I only have less than two weeks to prepare for the 1st elimination round and I’m still not in my best shape and I still haven’t been rehearsing.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Audition Piece

 My Audition Piece during the Pop Icon Auditions uploaded by Sherwin... LOL... don't LAUGH! :))

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Jan. 29: The Photoshoot

I had such a grand time during our photo shoot that I almost didn't want the day to end. We were all beginning to bond well with each other, joking around, almost as if we're not competing. I guess this is how the contenders in the Pinoy Dream Academy or Pinoy Big Brother feel, they form this special bond inside the house that they almost forget that they are in a competition.

While waiting for our turn, I formed my "Boys Over Flowers" group, of course inspired by the popular Korean and Japanese series. The concept was very fun because we ended up looking like characters from a Korean teleseries.

More of our behind-the-scenes pictures in here.

And here's my picture from the photo shoot... I just grabbed it from one of the photographers hehehe. There will be more coming soon, so hold your horses hehe


Check out the rest here.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Jan. 28: The Judge

A couple of days ago, I was asked by the International Philippine School in Riyadh to judge their Musical Contest for their 24th Foundation Week, which was this morning. I felt honored to be chosen as one of the judges and I saw that as a good opportunity for me to experience how it is to be a judge in a musical competition, that way I would understand how judges think and feel while judging the singers, and how they evaluate and observe the contestants.

I judged the singing contest from 7am in the morning until 3pm for all levels. It was tough and fun at the same time. Being able to watch singers from a musical judge's viewpoint allowed me to see how I should be in the Pop Icon competition. It was indeed a great learning experience.

First I was able to realize what I should do on stage to wow the judges, based on how I observed the contestants as a judge. Then I learned and picked up a lot from the contenders as well, like techniques, gestures and styles. I saw what I should and should not do on stage that the judges will see.

Hopefully, I will be able to apply the things I learned from the event so that I could have a better connection with the judges during the competition.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Jan. 22: The Personality Factor

I arrived at our first Pop Icon workshop yesterday an hour and a half late. The moment I went inside the room, all eyes were on me. And just as soon as I entered Mr. Ron Jacobe, our workshop facilitator, asked me to introduce myself. I was caught off guard and was a bit confused so I didn’t do anything fancy. Little did I know that it was an exercise to see which one of us would catch the attention of the audience based on how we introduce ourselves. But somehow, I was able to because of my dramatic entrance LOL.

The first workshop was basically all about personality building. As Mr. Ron discussed, a Pop Icon not only means that one should necessarily have to have the best voice but one should also have a personality to boot. A certain character that would capture the hearts of the audience so the package should also contain confidence, charisma and the right attitude.

The workshop kicked off with Mr. Ron asking all of us this question:
"Which of all the contenders is most likely to be coined as the next Pop Icon?"
A guy raised his hand and chose me, then Mr. Ron asked the whole room, who else agree. I was surprised that more than half of the contenders raised their hands in agreement. Most of the comments were because I am pretty (ahem), I have the right style (I was wearing a cute trench coat, a hat, tights, grey blouse with scarf and boots) and the right aura. That’s when Mr. Ron said that if we wanted to become the next Pop Icon we should start dressing up and acting like one.

We then moved outside for our activities. We were asked to do ramp modeling in the middle with confidence. It was fun because that activity loosened us up a little bit. Of course we were all nervous at first, and then there were a few who seemed uncomfortable doing the activity, but we all had fun. I, on the other hand, having watched so many fashion shows and having tried ramp modeling once, was able to pull it off pretty well, with me smiling at each one I pass and then removing my coat and hanging it on my shoulder as an effect. That had them all cheering and laughing. :D

In the next activity we were asked to introduce ourselves pretending that we are in front of the TV saying “Watch out coz I’m your next Pop Icon” or “I will be your next Pop Icon”. We had to do the activity twice because the first time most of us were mumbling, or stuttering as we if we were unsure of ourselves. For the first try I said:
 “Good evening y’all, I am Reia Ayunan. Are you scared? Well, I’m not... 'Coz I’m gonna be your next Pop Icon!”
During the second try I said:
“Good evening! I am Reia Ayunan. Remember this face… because this is gonna be your next Pop Icon!”
And that statement had them cheering.

Anyway, in the next activity we were asked to pretend that we are encouraging our TV audience to vote for us. This time all of us were becoming more creative and everybody seemed less nervous. For my take I said:
“Hello Saudi Arabia… Hello World! (trying to imitate Toni Gonzaga) You better start texting now and vote for me! Reia Ayunan!”

For our last activity, we were asked to pretend that we are having a concert in Araneta stadium. So the very famous “Good evening Araneta… I love you all!” line needs to be inserted. It was so funny because everybody had their own gimmicks, which is a good indication that all of us are becoming more confident. What I did was, I ran up to the front from where I was with my hands raised up shouting, pretending I am a popular artist getting the crowd excited for my concert, when I got in front I still had my arms raised up waving to the crowd screaming
“Good evening Araneta!!! Reia Ayunan in the house! You better vote for me R-E-I-A!!! I love you all!!! Woooooh”
It was pretty funny I think, because everybody cheered with me and laughed at what I did.

Apart from all of us having a great time, I think that the first workshop was a great success because towards the end of the session we were all beaming with confidence. :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Jan. 20-21: The Training

I started my vocal training yesterday with Ms. Khoury, and it’s so amazing how much I’ve learned from her in just 30 minutes. We did some vocal exercises, and since it was my first time to do this again with a professional music teacher I felt tense and I wasn’t able to reach the high octaves, although Ms. Khoury believes I could do it I just have to focus and hit the notes hard.

When I finally came to sing my piece to her I was amazed at how many mistakes I made and how out of pitch I was. In my ear, I thought I was doing okay, but to a pro’s ear she was able to hear my mistakes. It really does makes a huge difference to have someone hear you sing other than yourself, in that way, they could judge you and find your mistakes that you haven’t noticed.

Today is the second day of my vocal training and I was able to reach the three octaves that we were trying to hit yesterday. I was more relaxed compared to the first day. We only had 15 minutes to train, but still I was thankful for the little time we had because I was able to learn how to control my voice by being able to listen to the notes and try to nail them.

I hope I’ll do better next meeting. For now, I will just have to continue practicing.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Jan. 17: The Help

Just this morning I approached Mrs. Khoury, A I S's fabulous music teacher, to ask her help me with my song choice and my breathing. But when I told that I was competing in a singing contest, IMMEDIATELY, without second thoughts, she said she'd be willing to coach me! It came as a shock at first because it was more than I was asking for. But needless to say I was overjoyed by the help she's offering me. I have been praying for someone to aid me with my singing and here she was telling me that she'd be more than happy to help me out! She was like an answered prayer!

Meanwhile, in the library, Ms. Laurie Dukes and Ms. Siti were so enthusiastic and supportive that they are willing to help me during my preparations and watch me during the competition.

I feel soooo lucky right now to have very wonderful friends and co-workers that I can almost cry. :'D

For the meantime, I have been doing some breathing exercises, vocal trainings and facial exercises on my own. I have been working out like crazy. And right now, I am designing my costume and researching on the perfect look that would fit my song choice. I have alreasy chosen a song but I will not reveal it just yet. So you'll just have to watch out for the first elimination round. *wink*

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Jan. 15: The Briefing

So after the announcement, all the contenders were gathered inside the room to get to know each other. There was the introduction and of course the mentioning of musical experiences and accomplishments. There were four competitors who joined singing competitions on TV in the Philippines, there was actually one who reached the regional finals of Philippine Idol. Well, it was intimidating yes, but like I said during my introduction:

"It looks like there are so many big time competitors in this competition. And I am just a small time singer. But like they said, David once defeated Goliath. And I will that David slaying the giants!"

Anyway, the rules and regulations of the competition were announced as well as the schedule of the elimination rounds and our first project.

I'm not sure if I'm allowed to mention what the theme is for the first elimination round so I'm not gonna tell for the mean time.

Here are the schedules so far:

1st Project: Pictorial for posters, ads and website
JAN. 29, 2010
10-3 PM

1st Elim. Round: Feb. 26
2nd Elim. Round: March 19
3rd Elim. Round: May 21

That's all for now... I'll keep you posted on what I'm doing so far. But for now I'm cooking creative ways to spice up my act. I'm also thinking of my hair, make-up and costume. Well, we'll see. :)

Jan. 15: The Auditions

The night before, I slept earlier than usual (on a weekend) because I wanted to be feeling in tip top shape on the day of the auditions. Needless to say I woke up early with great spirits, having 8 hours of sleep. I arrived at the auditions 30 minutes earlier, talk about trying to impress the judges LOL.

After signing the audition forms, I sat along with the other people auditioning and waited for more people to come in.

The auditions started about an hour later than the announced audition time. But it was just fine, it gave me enough time to internalize though I wasn't able to vocalize (I don't know how hehe).

As I walked in the room, I felt my whole body shaking. There were four judges and a cameraman, who was  documenting the whole scene. It was like a scene in the American Idol auditions, me standing in front with the judges looking nice but serious. They made me introduce myself, asked a couple of questions about myself and then asked me to sing my piece. I sang I Turn to You by Christina Aguilera and Bad Romance by Lady Gaga. Actually, I was only prepared to sing I Turn to You but when I got to the venue I was informed that we were going to be asked to sing a fast song. And since Bad Romance kept playing in my head since the night before, that was the first thing that popped into my mind LOL.

Of course just like in the American Idol, they commented on my singing and stuff. They also said I was pretty and I looked like Christina Aguilera LOL. The good thing about auditioning for this competition is that the judges clap after each performance, which boosts up the confidence of the person auditioning.

Anyway, the results they said were going to be announced by 12:30 pm, but since there were a lot of people who came in to audition, the results came in a little bit late. At about 1pm, we were all asked to come in once again. While we were all inside, they called us one by one. I was the first of course, I went in the middle, and all the judges gave me...  A SMILEY WITH AN OKAY SIGN which meant I WAS IN!!!

Mr. Rani shook my hand while handing a card, which was an official sign that I was really part of the competition:

Jan. 8: The Second Chance

After all the fun and excitement in the Philippines, I still haven’t forgotten about the auditions. But I wondered if it was too late for me. I just woke up from my rest after arriving back from my vacation, and I still have no idea what to sing.

Gaaah! I felt like a mess!

I frantically thought of what to sing and decided on a couple of songs and started practising. After awhile, I took up enough courage to call Jei-C, one of the numbers posted in the ad, who is also one of the organizers of the event. I asked him if there’s still time to audition and he said there is. Audition ends at 3pm.

I immediately told my dad I was auditioning. And although they were skeptic at first about my chances of getting in, they were still willing to drive me to the auditions.

But the thing is, with all the time I spent searching for a song to sing and practising, I didn’t realize the time! It was already quarter to 3! I panicked and felt hopeless. Then I just thought maybe it was just not meant to be, maybe next year would be the best year to try out.

Just when I was about to give up Jei-C called asking if I were still coming. I said there’s no more time. Then I asked him if there’s gonna be a second audition or something. He said as far as he knows there’s no more, but what I could do is send him an audition tape via facebook. I agreed and was so glad for the second chance given to me.

I started planning and thinking of songs to sing for the audition once more.

After a few hours Jei-C called again bearing good news. The organizing committee decided to open another audition on Jan. 15 at 10 am.

I almost jumped from happiness! God has given me a second chance to audition in front of the judges, it must fate!

It must be a sign that I should join now. So I thought it's NOW OR NEVER!

Dec. 16: The Beginning

I received an email containing the ad for the upcoming Pop Icon Saudi Arabia Season 3. For some reason, God has answered my prayers!

I don’t know how that email turned up into my inbox but I was thankful to the heavens that it was sent to me. I had been waiting since last year for a chance to join this competition, I just don’t know how or when the audition dates are… and there it was like a blessing:

I was on my vacation in the Philippines when I got the email, and the audition was unfortunately scheduled on the day of my arrival back in Riyadh.

I didn’t know what to expect, but I was determined that I wasn’t going to let this opportunity pass me by. I am going to join this season… no matter what!