Gigi de Lana gets real about her journey, music and struggles; thanks Charo Santos as discoverer

We know you have been captivated by the charm and vocal prowess of internet’s newest obsession, Gigi de Lana. Bakit nga ba mahal na mahal natin siya? Well, the answer is abundantly clear. And as the viral songstress shares her inspiring stories of dreams, music, and faith – flaunting her heavenly smile and cracking jokes each time – it all makes more sense why she’s worth rooting for.  

In case you didn’t know, Gigi is a former Tawag Ng Tanghalan contender who made it to the grand finals and later on the TNT All-Star Grand Resbak, sporting her real name Mary Gidget dela Llana. The transition from Mary Gidget to Gigi is a process she called growth. Albeit scared, Gigi came to realize that change is beautiful and worth embracing, not to mention necessary if she really wanted to secure a spot in the mainstream music scene.

“Nung una, inisip ko, ‘Magwo-work kaya ito?’ Kasi nga nakilala ako as Gidget. Pero sa puso at isip ko, you have to trust the process. You have to learn to accept the things na alam mong mag-go-grow ka. So in-accept ko siya one hundred percent at nagtiwala ako sa management,” she related in this episode of Kapamilya Chat.

Although tweaking her screen name a little, Gigi is still the same girl who first melted hearts with her angelic rendition of “Araw Gabi” on the TNT stage. Only, she’s become a lot better at singing and more gorgeous than ever, also a bonafide contract star under Rise Artists Studio and part of the Star Magic family.

“Masaya ako sa nangyayari… Ang daming nangyayari na hindi ako makapaniwala tapos parang ang bilis ng happenings,” she said, tossing in the cue to thank everyone who helped her turn her dreams into fruition. On top of the list is her official discoverer, none other than Charo Santos-Concio, who saw her potential through her singing of “We’ve Only Just Begun” on YouTube.

“Wala akong planong i-upload ‘yun kasi it’ a live event tapos wala ako sa tono at hindi ko abot para akong zombie,” she described what we would call her official ticket to showbiz. The quip might sound too self-deprecating but just her humorous way of saying it’s not her best material on the web, which is why she’s dumbfounded by the turn of events.

“Noong sinabi sa akin na si Ma’am Charo ‘yung naka-discover sa akin, at that moment, hindi ko mapigilan na mapaluha kasi si Ma’am Charo po ‘yan. Pinapanood ko lang ‘yung Maalaala Mo Kaya noong bata ako at ngayon siya pa naka-discover sa akin. Malaki ang pasasalamat ko. Sa Star Magic, Direk Lauren, thank you,” expressed Gigi, followed by a promise to always give her best.

Despite failing to bag the coveted title in TNT, Gigi never thought of quitting. Defeat might have made her sad but it never waned down her passion and fighting spirit. A quick backtrack to the first season of Tawag Ng Tanghalan: Ang Huling Tapatan, Gigi recalled losing her voice on the final round supposed to be her last shot to the grand showdown. “Paos ako tapos kinanta ko nu’n ‘Hero.’ Sobrang paos ko pero pinilit ko siyang itawid kasi kailangan mong lumaban sa mga moments na hindi mo kayang lumaban.”

The trending songstress admitted to suffering from anxiety and depression, which she overcomes through the help of family and friends. “Kapag depressed ako or may anxiety, humihingi ako ng help agad. Sinabi ko, ‘Pag nagkakaganun ako, pagalitan mo ako.’ Kasi aminin natin, ‘yung feeling that you are sad and alone, nasa-satisfy ka, eh, ‘Ah, tao ako. Nasasaktan din ako.’ Pero once you think about that at gusto mo ‘yung feeling, it’s not healthy.”

For Gigi, the only cure she needs is love from family and friends, coupled with gratitude and with the help of music. She’s now focused on her singing but never too busy to count her blessings. She also has her bandmates and social media team, and more importantly, God, to thank for.

While her singing is already too much of a talent, Gigi can surprisingly do more. She can also dance, write songs, and act (she starred in” Four Sisters Before the Wedding”). “Nagluluto din po ako kasi vegan ako. May idadagdag pa ako, gusto kong mag-host in the future. Gusto ko rin mag-vlog kasi mahilig ako sa mga skincare review, beauty review, mga reviews pero hindi sa exam ha,” quipped the YouTube sensation.

As for the artists she wants to work with, on top of the list is Gloc-9, “Idol kita Gloc-9 lalo na sa passion mo, sa pag-inspire ng mga tao, at ‘yung lyrics mo sobrang iniidolo kita doon, lalo na yung Upuan.” She also mentioned Albert Martinez, Angel Locsin, Anne Curtis, Bea Alonzo, John Lloyd Cruz, and Vice Ganda.

Like any other OPM rookies, Gigi has hefty adoration for the Asia’s Songbird Regine Velasquez, whom she already shared the stage with for an ASAP Natin ‘To prod. Just the mention of Regine’s name can switch her fangirl mode on. Looking back on that day, she blurted out, “Para akong nahihiyang tuta!” Any fangirl would understand what she means – keeping the composure despite the bursting enthusiasm deep inside. “Nahihiya akong lumapit pero at the same time gusto ko siyang yakapin. Alam mo ‘yun? ‘Yung fan na fan, ‘yung nagpipigil ka.”

“Si Ate Reg kasi ‘yung aura niya, so beautiful. Parang makita mo pa lang siya, nai-inspire ka na. ‘Yung mata ni Ate Reg, ‘pag tinitigan ko para siyang kumikinang. Nakakakilabot!” enthused Gigi in a real fangirl tone.

Speaking of “kilabot,” Gigi served us with major chills, made our knees weak and blew our minds with her impossible key-changes in the now-viral “Bakit Nga Ba Mahal Kita” cover that started as an impromptu semi-prank challenge courtesy of her bandmates. In that video, which now has more than 15 million views, Gigi sang the Roselle Nava hit in several key changes ala Beyonce’s “Love on Top.”

“Sobrang katuwaan lang talaga ‘yung ‘Bakit Nga Ba Mahal Kita,’” said Gigi, who is both amused and overwhelmed with the netizens’ reactions. “Bakit ito ‘yung nag-trend?” she laughed. 

Before all these viral videos and rise to fame, Gigi was part of It’s Showtime’s homegrown ensemble of singers, the TNT Divas, together with other TNT alumnae. She said they all keep in touch, although not as much since the pandemic. She went on to give them special shoutouts, starting with her closest friend Rachel Gabreza, also mentioning Eumee Capile, Sofronio Vasquez, Jex Castro, Hazelyn Cascano, and Sam Mangubat.

With all the good things happening in her life and career right now, Gigi wouldn’t want to take too much control but just letting everything unfold at its right time and ways. She has Paramore’s “Last Hope” to perfectly describe this bold surrender.  Check out her a cappella rendition of the Haley Williams song in this video!