Happy Birthday Champ Lui Pio! :)

I had no idea who Champ Lui Pio is the day I met him :p

I clearly remember my friend, Jeman Villanueva (of Orange Magazine TV), telling me, "Ano ka ba, s'ya yung vocalist ng Hale!" And then this bulb in my head lit up. "Oh, Hale! He's the guy who sang Blue Sky!" I belatedly and sheepishly exclaimed. See, I have that song in my iPod for months having asked my oldest son for a copy after hearing it being played over and over in our house and discovering how nice the words and melody are. I suddenly knew that my boys and my nephews (two of them are also big Hale fans) would be really envious when they find out who I got to shake hands and had a picture taken with. 

It was the night Somedaydream's Hey Daydreamer video was launched in a bar in Makati. I think we came from a movie screening and my companions insisted I come with them to hear a new musician with a really catchy song. They were right. Hey Daydreamer was to become OPM Song of the Year a few months later. And Champ turned out to be the young music artist's hardworking mentor and manager.

Sometime last June, one of my editors asked me to find a young celebrity we can feature in CodeRED magazine. I immediately thought of Rez (a.k.a. Somedaydream) and found a way to contact Champ so I can arrange an interview. Long story short, we agreed on an interview date and I was an hour late! I came from a client meeting, which I couldn't immediately leave, and was so mortified at having Champ and Rez wait that long. They were really nice about it though and I was grateful they stuck around.

During the course of the interview, I found out about Treehouse Day Care, how passionate about it Champ is, and realized I could also feature him for the advocacy section of the magazine. He graciously agreed to answer questions via email later that week. Because he had a wealth of stories to tell, I was able to write another article about him. This time, a feature in MoneySense magazine about his journey from being Hale's front man to becoming the CEO of Mecca Music. 

These past few months, every time we bump into each other during media events, he always has a ready smile for everyone and I sensed how much he puts value in relationships and in people who look up to him. It's not surprising then to also see how friends and fans alike always respond to him with affection. He's the real deal.

Sometime last year, too, I started listening to more Hale music as well as the songs in Synergy, Champ's solo album. A lot of the tracks have beautiful melodies and meaningful lyrics. Aside from Blue Sky, I now have a list of other favorites from the various albums and finally understood why Champ's gifts in singing and songwriting, aside from his good-natured personality, have been touching a lot of people all these years.

Last week, during Somedaydream's Bloggers Meet, I asked him to sign these and he happily obliged: 

There are people who start being a fan before becoming an artist's friend. In my case, I think I started being a friend before I became a certified fan :)

Just sharing ... I thought it might be a good time to write an entry like this given it's Champ's birthday today and it'd be nice to show him how much he is appreciated for all the things he does. I believe I also speak in behalf of other friends and fans who don't blog or can't express what they want to say in writing. 

So, from all of us, here's wishing you a really, really awesome day Arthur Bernard Lui Pio! Thank you for continuing to be the inspiration you are to a lot of people. 

Happy, Happy Birthday Champ! :)

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