As a young toddler in Makati, Angela Gienel Sta. Cruz Ninon was seen to be lip synching to the songs of Britney Spears, Sharkira and Mariah Carey. There she captured the attention of her family members with her talent.
Gienel arrived in Australia in 2010, and after three years joined the Kiko Choir. Some of Gienel’s memorable experiences include singing at a mass officiated by Archbishop Cardinal Tagle in Melbourne, becoming a top five finalists for the TFC Global Tawag ng Tanghalan, and performing as a front act to other Melbourne based artists as well as international stars Darren Espanto and Morrisette Amon.
In 2015, Rod Lalunio and Inday Trising introduced Gienel to U4YA Band as one of the vocalists, and she was made a front act for the late
Ms. Isabel Granada’s concert that same year.
She made her first break as a professional singer in December 2017, as she performed live as one of the front acts for the well-known Melbourne-based artists Inday Trising, Mary Ann Van Der Horst (X-Factor Australia finalist) and Herbert Fangon directed by CJ Tamale.
A major milestone for her was her first solo sold out concert in 2018 with the KDence band.
In an interview with The Philippine Times, Gienel is asked about her experiences this year.
How has COVID-19 affected your career?
COVID-19 has been a huge impact for all of us this year. It became
more challenging for me to focus especially with my studies. I am
currently studying Bachelor of Nursing and it is difficult for me to
cope with the “new normal”, which is not being able to have face-to-
face classes. It was really a struggle for all of us, nursing students.
But due to determination, patience and hardwork from all us,
students and facilitators, we are managing quite well.
Early this year, I got the chance to do a couple of gigs at a bar with
my friend Marjorie Grace Tan-Gatue. I was also asked by Kuya
Bibo Diaz to do some gigs in restaurant called “Tambayan” owned
by Mr. Michael Velenzuela with the Project Three band. Also, just
the usual student life where you go to uni and study and socialise
with friends. Everything changed when the pandemic virus
Hopefully, this year, I am graduating from the Bachelor of Nursing
and will have a stable job so I can help my family. I do hope and
pray to be successful in life, whether as a singer or as a nurse, so I
can make myself and family proud.
What are some of the things that you’ve doing during the pandemic?
During the past seven months, I have been mainly focusing on
home studying and placements. But during free time, I did some
song covers which I mostly downloaded on my social media
accounts. However, around late August this year… surprisingly I got the urge to write a song. I saw an instrumental recommended on Youtube
and I clicked on it out of curiousity. While I was listening to it and
feeling the melody and vibes of the instrumental, my brain just
started to work and was making up lyrics.
So, the instrumental was called “Morning Coffee” and what was going through my mind was how cute it looks when couples are just having fun and enjoying their simple life being together while drinking coffee in the morning.
As that thought processed into my mind, words just came through
and that was that moment where I took the opportunity and tried to
write the whole song.
I have a friend/classmate from the Philippines, Daniel John
Angcos, who helped me out finishing the lyrics of the song. Also,
another friend of mine, Denn Manaloto, who is a sound engineer,
willingly helped me with the recording of the whole song (due to
lockdown, I had to record my singing using only my phone and
earphones mic and sent it to Denn via email). I really am thankful
for these 2 amazing people because without their help, I do not
think there will be a song “Coffee”.
I am so happy that I have actually written my own song
which a lot of people liked/loved.
For me, songwriting, is a talent given by God. That’s why I salute all
the artists who can write songs without any difficulties, like Ed
Sheeran for example. I hope I can be like them soon.
What are your hopes for the future?
My plans for the future are just simple. I hope that I can find a stable
job to help my family and save also for my future. Then, if I have a
chance, I want to try again auditioning to singing contests here and
the Philippines. Hopefully, I can continue to write and create more
songs for the people to listen. We never know, it maybe one of the
steps to being discovered and become famous.
Also, I want to wish a good future for the rest of the world. If
everything goes back to normal, I do hope that all of us can all live
our lives to the fullest. I know it is easier said than done, but, if we
all have that perspective, we can manage our lives better and much
I hope that we can appreciate the little things in life more
and always be thankful for all the blessings and everything happening in our lives. I just really hope that 2021 will be a better year for us. Full of love, good health, positivity and blessings.
Watch Gienel’s performance of a popular OPM track, ‘Kahit Ayaw Mo Na”
Gienel’s duet with Clyde Jaramillo
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