Gigi De Lana talks about showbiz journey

As their cover of the Roselle Nava hit “Bakit Nga Ba Mahal Mahal Kita” raked in millions of views and went viral online in the past weeks, we had the opportunity to catch with Gigi de Lana and The GIGI Vibes Band in the latest episode of PUSH Bets Live.

The conversation commenced with Gigi, who was formerly known by her real name Mary Gidget dela Llana, reminiscing her journey in the inaugural season of It’s Showtime’s Tawag ng Tanghalan. While she was among the top contenders, she confessed that being a part of it had actually hindered her to showcase the real her.

Thus, she’s very much grateful to her bandmates Jon Cruz (Keyboards), LA Arquero (Guitars), Harvey Jake Manalo (Bass), and Romeo Marquez (Drums), for constantly supporting her through letting her belt out any song she wishes and providing music accompaniment everytime they perform together.

Nagpe-perform ako online halos every Wednesday and Saturday, doon ko nalalabas kung sino ako kasi ‘yong mga gusto kong kantahin, ‘yong mga gusto kong sabihin, nasasabi ko talaga. ‘Yon talagang hindi ko tinatago kung sino ako. Kumbaga, walang wall. Kung ano ako sa off-cam, gano’n din ako sa live. Ang laki actually ng naitulong ng banda ko – nina Jon, LA, Jake, [at] Romeo, and of course, Tritone Studios. Siya ‘yong producer at director namin, so maraming-maraming salamat. Siya rin ‘yong naghulma at nag-guide sa amin ng banda ko,” she expressed.

Even though she became popular after the competition and was invited to perform in various events, her then-blooming singing career struggled as she found it difficult to decide what she would want to do next. As she frustratingly waited for bookings and orders from the management, she came to the realization that she and the band should do something to help themselves improve and grow.

Ang natutunan ko is talagang kailangang maging consistent and kailangan sariling gawa talaga, hardwork talaga. Gumawa ka ng sariling work mo and ikaw ‘yong sarili mong boss,” she imparted.

Since she’s in the field of entertainment, Gigi and the Gigi Vibes Band felt the terrible effect of the pandemic due to the cancellation of events and projects. Besides, it was also impossible for them to continue their livestreaming gig because of the lockdown that prohibited them from performing together. And when the restrictions eased up in the recent months, they agreed to compromise by limiting their movements from their respective homes to the studio, and vice versa, and undergoing swab tests every time they part ways.

With regards to what made them decide to come up with the idea of doing online gigs, the 25-year-old singer recounted that there was one person who approached them and shared to them her vision for their group, which they reluctantly accepted at first since they used to have individual goals then. This ensued to a misunderstanding among them and their separation for some months, but they’re able to gradually resolve it.

They then proceeded on coming up with a name for their band, which Gigi initially wanted to be “Kabogera”. But Tritone Studios proposed “GIGI Vibes” instead, which stands for “Gidget Good Vibes”, and they all agreed to it.  They started doing live performances at the stockroom of the studio, and later on transferred to a bigger space.

When asked if they have plans on mounting a live concert once this is all over, they disclosed that they’re actually looking forward to it, sans the pinching of cheeks, since they all truly miss doing it. And while they’re waiting for it to happen, Gigi shared that they’ve been preparing for it by undergoing workshops and rehearsals and watching talk shows in order to improve. Besides, they’re also cooking something up for an upcoming album.

The GIGI Vibes Band also talked about their trending prank on Gigi, which has successfully amassed millions of views across social media. They also related the changes that happened to each one of them after that momentous feat.

It was also revealed that they used to have a YouTube channel that already had over a million subscribers, which was taken down after the huge amount of strikes it received from another record label, to which some of the songs they performed were under. Since then, they’ve been extra careful in accepting OPM song requests.

Gigi disclosed that they actually tried reaching out to the label to express their willingness to pay for the penalties in exchange of allowing them to keep at least one of their song covers.

Nakakaawa lang sa small artists na hindi pinapansin ng mga gano’ng labels na ang lalaki,” she uttered. “’Yong 1.6 million [subscribers] na ‘yon, hindi lang naman siya basta-basta. Pinaghirapan namin siya.”

They went on to impart some of the messages they received from their viewers from different parts of the world, which truly touched their hearts and further inspired to keep going on. While they didn’t mind losing the profits, what they were more concerned of was the audiences who relied to them for entertainment.

As the guys expressed their disappointment over the selfishness of the label, Gigi added, “Ang hirap kumanta. Alam mo ‘yong ang dami kong gustong kantahing OPM, except Star Music, walang problema sa Star Music. Ang dami kong gustong kantahing OPM na ang gaganda talaga na hindi ko magawa kasi napipigilan ako, napipigilan kami.”

But they just choose to look at the brighter side of things by thinking that they will have another play button out of their new channel, aside from the silver and diamond play buttons they got from the former.

“Pero actually, ang goal talaga naming is maka-1 million na subscribers. ‘Yon lang talaga ang goal namin. ‘Di naming naisip na ‘yong ginagawa pala naming, sobrang laki pala ng effect sa OFWs, sa mga may problema, sa mga may depression,” Jon said.

Watch out for the part 2 of this interview in the next episode of PUSH Bets Live!