MANILA -- Even as she is now celebrating her 38th year as a professional singer, Ivy Violan says she’s still learning new things at this stage of her career.
The singer dubbed as the “Festival Queen” for winning several international music competitions throughout the 1980s and the early 1990s, Violan attributes her longevity to the guidance of a voice coach, the most current of which is seasoned jazz singer Jeannie Tiongco.
“That’s what helped me. I thought I already know a lot about my singing techniques, it turns out I still have a lot to learn,” Violan told this writer in a recent interview during a recent rendezvous with the media to promote her 38th anniversary concert, "2 Rocking Soul @38…a Woman in Me."
Violan said her earlier stint with the Sangkatutak, a popular showband in the 1970s, also helped hone her into becoming the singer and performer that she became throughout her career.
Being a part of that band that performed to up to three sets a night was a good foundation for her as she became more disciplined and prepared her for the milestones that would eventually follow when she started to go solo.
Violan said these milestones include her still unmatched streak in the song festival circuit that include victories in the 3rd ASEAN Popular Song Festival (grand prize), 1st Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union Song Festival (best performer), Asia-Pacific Song Contest (champion), 4th International Midnight Sun Song Festival (grand prize) and the 8th Metro Manila Popular Music Festival (interpreter of the grand prize in the professional division).
“There’s a lot of hard work and prayers involved but whenever I compete, it would never cross my mind that I would not win. I also don’t listen to the other competing singers, I just focus on myself,” she shared.
Although known for her silky smooth vocals, Violan can also belt out a song with the best of them. Asked if she watches and listens to many of the emerging young singers today, the singer replied in the affirmative and added that she makes it a point to stay updated in her industry.
Violan said she’s particularly impressed with Angeline Quinto.
“She’s a very good singer but I like the way she complements the other singers that she performs with. She does not try to upstage them and that I think is the mark of a good singer,” Violan pointed out.
She is not impressed, however, with biritera type of singers, many of whom, she thinks, lack heart when they sing.
“I cannot blame them for resorting to birit as that can be a stepping stone for them to be recognized. But the secret of any good singer is to sing with heart. When I coach, I always tell aspiring singers to know what they’re singing about so they would know where can draw their hugot and not just birit ng birit,” she pointed out.
Among her guests in her coming anniversary concert is jazz singer Richard Merk, who, like her, also had a stint with the Sangkatutak band early in his career. Being her longtime friend, Merk can attest to how good Violan is as a singer even when she was starting out.
“Her staying power is proof of that. The fact that she’s still around and has no sign of stopping or slowing down is something you cannot question about her. That’s how good she is,” Merk enthused.
Ivy Violan’s "2 Rocking Soul @38…a Woman in Me" also features Merjohn Ligaya and vocal artists Babsie Molina, Sylvia Macaraeg and Elise Cortes. The show is happening on October 19 at Vu’s Sky Bar and Lounge of the Marco Polo Ortigas, Manila in Pasig City.