An Intimate Chat with Erik Santos About His Life and His Upcoming Concert The Greatest Theme Songs

Erik Santos earned the title Prince of Pop because of his ability to express a whole range of emotions through his songs which make him stand out among his contemporaries.

A sought-after interpreter of theme songs, Erik has breathed life to around 30 movie and TV themes such as May Bukas Pa, Now That I Have You, Miss You Like Crazy, If You Asked Me To, Lupa, It Might Be You, Maging Sino Ka Man, Say You’ll Never Go, I’ll Never Go, among others. It has even been said that the Prince of Pop seem to be John Lloyd Cruz’s lucky charm because most of the latter's movies had Erik singing the theme.  

Besides being a prolific singer, Erik is also an accomplished concert performer who has numerous hit concerts to his name as proven by sold-out performances at the Music Museum, Meralco Theater, Aliw Theater, and Araneta Coliseum.

In an intimate chat over lunch at Kaizo in Tomas Morato with a few members of the online media last week, Erik gamely answered questions and revealed his thoughts on many topics. For one, he expressed that he feels fortunate he and his good friend Christian Bautista have already been established as balladeers of their generation. He credits that to the team effort between ABS-CBN, Cornerstone Talent Management, and all the people who believe in him.

Aside from singing, Erik has also acted on stage (as the prince in Little Mermaid) and revealed that one of his dream theater roles would have to be the lead in Ghost, the musical. When we talked about the recent run of Repertory Philippine's Jekyll & Hyde where lead actor Jett Pangan sang This is the Moment, one of the songs identified with Erik, the Prince of Pop admitted how much he was inspired to make more of the song in the future because of Jett's rendition.

Here's further sharing his replies to some of our questions ...

What's a typical, non-working day for you? As much as possible, I try to be active. Tumatakbo ako, I invite friends to run with me sa UP oval. Nagba-bike din ako, minsan kasama sina Kuya Gary [Valenciano]. Nagbu-bundok kami, trails ... nagba-boxing din ako. Kahit wala akong ginagawa, gusto kong productive pa rin ang araw ko. Mas nagiging health conscious ako ngayon kasi hindi na ako bumabata. Gusto kong i-maintain ang itsura ko kahit na dumating ako ng 40 o 50; gusto ko mukha pa rin akong bata, yung hot pa rin! (laughs out loud). I regularly go to the gym. As to food, I lessen eating yung mga, feeling ko, junk lang. Pero minsan nagchi-cheat ako.

Favorite foods? Madami. Foodie kasi ako. Mahilig ako sa pagkain. Pero I like Japanese and Pinoy food, in general. How about street foods? Ngayon, medyo pinipili ko na kasi nga conscious na ako sa health. Pati chips and ice cream, minsan na lang ako kumain nun.

Don't you get burned out? Kaya nga may mga ibang bagay akong ginagawa like mag-bike, hiking, ganyan. Para maiba naman kasi [I've been singing for] 10 years na. Two years ago, I  graduated from college. Kumbaga, may mga times na naisip ko before na feeling ko, nabobobo ako, so bumalik ako ng pag-aaral. Iba na naman yun. So andaming ways at bagong pagkakaabalahan para hindi ka ma-burn out.

Course in college? I took up dentistry pero nahinto ako when I entered showbiz. Nung bumalik ako, I finished BS Psychology. Saan mo gagamitin? Professionally, wala. Pero nakakatulong. Like, yung isa sa mga subjects ko is social psychology. So parang mas nauunawaan ko yung … halimbawa, ikaw, masungit ka sa akin, hindi kita dapat i-judge ng ganun lang kasi may dahilan kung bakit ka ganun. So you have to go back to the root of the matter and 'pag na-discover mo yun, ah kaya pala. As a singer, nalalaman ko kung paano ka magre-react at paano ko mai-influence yung behavior mo. Like sa audience, alam mo kung papano sila i-entertain sa pamamagitan ng pagkanta at rapport sa kanila. Alam ko papano sila pakiramdaman. So yun yung connection n'ya

Plans for further studies? Meron, pero wala pang pagkakataon. Dance? 'Pag talagang kailangang-kailangan lang. When are you planning to do a full Erik Santos dance production? Malay n'yo, next year sa 10th anniversary concert ko.  'Yun ang pasabog! Baka tumulay pa ako sa alambre! Kayo ang humanda sa akin! (big laugh)

Do you still take singing lessons? Hindi na. Kasi parang nahanap ko na yung anoHalimbawa, wala akong boses o pagod yung boses ko, tapos kelangan kong kumanta, nahahanap ko na kung saan ko s'ya kukunin. Physiologically-speaking, alam ko na yung tamang breathing kahit may sakit ako, alam ko paano kakanta. So, more or less, medyo naaral ko na sya. Siguro through experience din.

Paano ka magalit? Bihira lang ako magalit. Positive kasi akong tao. Marami namang ways to turn negative things to positive. So ganun ginagawa ko. Saka 'di ba, sabi nila, kapag negative ka, ginagawa mo lang negative ang paligid mo? And you’re just hurting yourself. Pero 'pag positive, kahit negative ang experience mo ngayong araw na ito, 'pag ginagawa mo s'yang positive, parang masarap lang sa pakiramdam na puro gusto mo yung ginagawa mo or ginusto mo yung ginagawa mo kasi nagawa mo s'yang positive.

Worst thing a fan did to you? Nanghipo! Sa isang event ng ASAP sa Harrison Plaza na sobrang daming tao, 'di mahulugang karayom. 'Di ko nakita kung babae o lalake. Basta, saktong-sakto!  

How about the best thing fans did for you? Naku, ang dami! Siguro yung birthday ko five years ago. Wala akong plano that time, patulog na ako. Tapos, maya-maya, maraming tao sa labas tapos may mga kandila sila. Twelve ng gabi, nag-form sila sa kandila ng parang heart yata yun. Tapos each of them, may regalo for me. They were about 30. Tapos bigla silang kumanta ng Happy Birthday. Sobrang nakaka-touch talaga.

Your fans know where you live? Yes. Kasi yung nanay ko, pinakama-PR! Kahit tahimik lang yun at 'di nakikialam sa career ko or sa lovelife ko, pero sa pakikitungo at pakikisama sa mga taong sumusuporta at nagwo-work for me ... mahal n'ya yung mga yun

This coming August 30 and 31, Erik will highlight his love of singing theme songs and performing via a major concert called The Greatest Theme Songs at the Meralco Theater. In the concert, experience the power of Erik’s voice as he celebrates the magic of cinema and music through impressive production numbers and sincere singing.

“I am excited with the concept of this concert,” says Erik. “I have always been fascinated by great Theme Songs, be it movies, theater or teleseryes, so I am really happy that I was given this project.” The concert will feature, aside from Erik’s live performance of his previously-recorded theme songs, the Prince of Pop’s favorite songs lifted from the big and small screens.

“It will be a night of good music and memorable moments,” adds Erik. “It will be a trip down memory lane, but I assure you, everything you’ll see onstage will be somewhat new. It is an exciting show.”  Joining him in the concert are all female Classical Crossover Pop Trio Opera Belles and OPM legendary icons Basil Valdez, Vina Morales and Gary Valenciano.

As a recording artist, Erik still remains to be one of the most bankable singers of his generation winning the 2012 Tambayan 101.9 Song of the Year award for his single Kulang Ako Kung Wala Ka, part of his latest album Awit Para Sa’yo.

The concert is presented by Qualibet and Record Breaker Events in cooperation with Zenea Slimming and Body Sculpting and a production of Cornerstone Concerts.  For tickets to The Greatest Theme Songs, please call SM Tickets at 470-2222 and  Ticketworld at 891-9999.

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