Darren reacts to his music evolution from The Voice Kids contender to Asia’s Pop Heartthrob

This edition of Kapamilya React will make you want to re- watch Darren Espanto’s The Voice Kids audition and wonder where did the time go! But before going on a soothing sound trip, check out the total performer, now dubbed as Asia’s Pop Heartthrob, reacting to his golden moments on stage.

We first showed Darren a snippet of his two-chair turn audition in The Voice Kids. His entertaining performance of Jessie J’s “Domino” impressed Bamboo Manalac and eventual coach Sarah Geronimo. He would later on make it to Lea Salonga’s “top three unforgettable voices on The Voice of the Philippines.”

Just like all of us, Darren can’t help but feel a little old after watching his audition clip. “Parang kailan lang po noong nag-blind auditions ako sa The Voice Kids. Hindi ako makapaniwalang seven years na ‘yung nakalipas.” And those weren’t mere seven years but rather golden seasons of huge success and blessings.

Darren said he didn’t expect to make it this far since he failed to bag the title but he’s thankful for everything he accomplished, “It’s so crazy kasi hindi naman ako ‘yung nanalo pero I feel so blessed and grateful everyday kasi grabe, Darren, nagtagal ka ng seven years sa industriyang ito.”

The then-13-year-old power belter thought performing onstage in front of three music icons would be enough of a win. He said he never really liked joining singing competitions if it weren’t for his parents’ requests but The Voice Kids was a different story.

“Ito ‘yung first time na ako ‘yung nag-initiate at nagtanong sa magulang ko kung pwede ba akong sumali kasi sila talaga ‘yung nagsasali sa akin sa mga singing competitons kasi sobrang mahiyain po ako. Tapos pagdating dun, iiyak ako pero kakanta din, against my will talaga. Pero itong The Voice Kids was something I want to do personally.”

The best thing about the experience is the privilege to have Coaches Sarah, Bamboo, and Lea as lifetime mentors. “Sina Coach Bamboo at Lea, kahit wala po ako sa team nila, they have guided me throughout my career in showbiz. All of them have given me life lessons, not just tips sa pagkanta but also tips kung paano mabuhay sa industriyang ito,” shared Darren.

In 2016, then-15-year-old Darren was starting to experience vocal changes due to puberty. “’Yung boses ko kumakapal na pero mataas pa rin,” he said, watching a video from one of his MYX Live performances where he sang “Stuck,” a single from his debut album.

He was still unsure of his sound and experimental with his looks at that time. Here’s a fun fact: Darren was sick while recording his first studio album. Who would have thought?! “As in hindi ko alam kung may lalabas na boses sa akin. Buong week puro recording para sa album, so talagang pine-pray ko na hindi tunog may sakit ‘yung boses ko doon sa album and I was very fortunate na talagang hindi naman po,” he looked back.

Today, at 20, Darren already knows his sound and style. He’s also grateful to have maintained his range and at the same time learned to be comfortable in singing lower notes.

In 2019, Darren together with Morissette Amon was handpicked by Disney to sing the Philippine rendition of “A Whole New World” for the film Aladdin. Watching his performance with Morissette on ASAP Natin ‘To, Darren exclaimed, “It’s a mind-blowing experience!”

He continued, “Singing with Ate Morissette, it made it a lot more special kasi we’ve been friends ever since kasi parehas po kaming galing sa The Voice. Ang dami na naming napagsamahan na duet and concert tours before this, so noong kaming dalawa ‘yung napili, sobrang milestone sa Team BB DaMo.” In case you didn’t know, DaMo means Darren and Morissette. He considers “A Whole New World” a highlight of his career.

Darren marked a ‘new era’ in his recent ASAP Natin ‘To song and dance homecoming performance which trended for its entertainment value and his new look. He felt so nervous at that time, “Feeling ko magco-concert ako nun.” Same, Darren! We all felt watching a concert performance as well, considering that he only had a day to rehearse. Dubbed as his homecoming on TV, it was Darren’s first time to perform again after a year of stay in Canada.

Asked what inspires him to always give his best performance, Darren admitted he still has a lot of goals in mind. And these dreams push him to do better in each performance and continuously reinvent himself.

“The person you see in the mirror is your biggest competition. Huwag mong ikumpara ang sarili mo sa ibang tao kasi lahat naman tayo may kanya-kanyang timeline sa buhay. If it’s meant for you, the right time will come as long as you work hard for it,” he said of his motivation.

Besides the hard work, having fun is also an important part of the journey. “Music is my passion. I don’t see myself stopping from performing or releasing music,” expressed Darren. Above all, he takes inspiration from his supporters and family, who never lacked sacrifices in helping him reach for his dreams.

Check out this edition of Kapamilya React and sing along with Darren!