We may not have seen him on television for quite some time, but promising actor-singer CJ Navato has been actually busy with his personal life and creating music in the past months – as what he revealed in his guesting in the latest episode of Hotspot on Tuesday, August 31.
In fact, he commenced the episode by giving us a sample of his second single “In My Imagination”, which he later on discussed in his fun and insightful chikahan with DJ Jhai Ho. While he doesn’t have any showbiz commitments yet, CJ revealed that he’s currently busy finishing his Culinary Arts degree in De La Salle-College of St. Benilde, writing music, playing video games, and living a simple life with his family.
With all the classes being held virtually due to the pandemic, he admitted that he was at first have no inclination to finish his course online as he wanted to learn and do the required activities in an actual laboratory or kitchen. However, his mentors advised him to just take it for him not to waste time, which he heeded to as he realized that it’s indeed doable at home since he’s been cooking for his family.
As his stints in Star Circle Kid Quest Season 1, Goin’ Bulilit, and LUV U had honed and exhibited his prowess in acting, it is his participation in Your Face Sounds Familiar Season 3 early this year that showcased his vocal talent and capability to impersonate other personalities.
“Sobrang huge step ‘yon kasi hindi naman ako kilala dati na parang singer na singer talaga. Pero no’ng tinanong ako para mag-audition sa Your Face Sounds Familiar, sabi ko, ‘Oh my God, it’s my chance! Mahilig akong manggaya.’ So, oo, sobrang laking opportunity no’n naging visible ulit ako as an artist tapos na-explore ko rin ‘yong mga parts na ‘di ko nagagawa dati. Kaya ko lang gumaya ng boses, pero sa galaw pala medyo kulang pa tayo do’n. Pero na-realize ko ‘yon. And na-realize ko na marami pa akong pwedeng i-improve,” CJ related.
As he chose to portray Bruno Mars in the grand showdown and giving us a concert-level performance of “That’s What I Like”, he told DJ Jhai Ho that he later on realized that he should have picked Harry Styles as his icon instead and belted out his hit “Adore You” since he’s more confident that he could attain the latter’s vocal range. Nonetheless, he just gave us a sample of how he could have done it and explained that being in the shoes of the Filipino-American artist really challenged him and allowed him to further explore dancing.
Although he’s able to establish unique bonds with his fellow contestants in YFSF, the “The Viral Crooner” shared that he was actually the closest to Christian Bables and iDolls, comprised of Lucas Garcia, Matty Juniosa, and Enzo Almario. He also enthusiastically reminisced some of his fondest memories with them, as well as being on the same program as Philippine showbiz bigwigs Gary Valenciano, Ogie Alcasid, and Sharon Cuneta.
DJ Jhai Ho eventually veered their conversation to his second single “In My Imagination”, which, according to him, talks about love and the idea of it falling apart. “Dumarating tayo sa gano’n na parang ini-imagine mo siya. Wala, baliw tayong mga tao e. Our imagination runs wild minsan and ‘yon ang message ng song – na alam mo ‘yong thought na ‘hindi kita kasama sa buhay ko, pwede bang do’n na lang ako sa imagination ko, pwede bang hindi na mangyari ‘yon?’ ‘Yon ang thought ng song,” he said.
He added, “Pero the song din, it also touches the part na may mga bagay sa relasyon na nakakapagod, especially kapag binabalik-balik ‘yong mga bagay na natapos na. I believe kasi in progress, na sinusuportahan dapat ang progress sa relasyon. Hindi siya ‘yong parang ginagamit against you. Isa ‘yon sa thoughts ng song na parang ‘can we move forward and just move forward?’ ‘Yon lang naman ‘yon coz it’s easy to love para sa akin.”
Aside from “In My Imagination”, it was also him who composed the first-ever single he released six months ago, “Anumang Dulo”. According to CJ, his journey as a composer started when he attended the songwriting workshop of Froilan Canlas, who became more famous as one of the contenders in inaugural season of Tawag ng Tanghalan, a few years ago. And in order for them to accomplish the course, they had to submit an original composition and he wrote a song entitled “Better Man”. However, he revealed that he doesn’t want to perform it anymore since he was only 17 years old when he penned it and thought that he’s not talented and passionate enough yet towards it.
Thus, when his record label Ivory Music gave him the opportunity to write his own songs, he accepted it. Churning out the right lyrics and the perfect melody maybe so challenging, but that experience made him feel satisfied and realize that things indeed don’t come easy and you have to work hard for it.
He related as well the songwriting process that he usually goes through, which, according to him, “starts with being honest with yourself” as he never writes about the things he has not experienced yet. There are times that it would take weeks before he could find the right lyrics and tune, so he listens to other songs in order to get inspiration or an idea would suddenly come while he’s driving.
Since he always bases his compositions to his experiences, DJ Jhai Ho asked him if he has ever begged someone to stay in his life, to which he replied that he did and said that he believes that everyone of us has probably done it at one point in our lives. He also heeded to the host’s request for him to give a piece of advice for people in a relationship are struggling to keep it and make it work, as well as pick out a part of his song that resembles this situation.
When asked which local artist he would want to collaborate with, CJ wishes to perform or write a song with popular band Ben&Ben, which vocal sound he also tries to mimic.
Before the interview concluded, DJ Jhai Ho asked him to share some of his unforgettable memories with or never-before-known trivia about his fellow Goin’ Bulilit alums, whose pictures were flashed on the screen.
Watch this video to find out what he said regarding John Manalo, Kiray Celis, Sharlene San Pedro, Nash Aguas, Jane Oineza, Kristel Fulgar, Kathryn Bernardo, and Julia Montes, as well as his other revelations about his SCQ stint and his time in the long-running kiddie gag show.
Support CJ by listening to “In My Imagination” across all music streaming platforms!