Music Knows No Boundaries: An Interview with David DiMuzio
Many foreign artists visited the Philippines and presented themselves to their fans through press conferences, music or dance concerts. From boy bands, rock bands, solo artists and even movie stars, Filipino fans would bombard the arrival of their favorite celebrities even at the airport. We can experience the feeling here in Cebu, especially during the Sinulog Festival.
Disclaimer: This post was originally published on this website last May 9, 2013. The response of our interviewee might not be relevant and current. However, we are hoping that you still enjoy our featured interview with American singer-songwriter, David DiMuzio.
On the previous years, celebrities of a dozen or more, both local and foreign were here to celebrate with the Cebuanos the annual festivities, and them wanting to experience as well the most amazing Philippine festival on Earth in Cebu. Anne Curtis was here, Georgina Wilson, Derek Ramsey, Coco Martin, and more.
But we didn’t know that this American singer-songwriter was here, too, during one of the Sinulog Festivals. We might have known of him when we saw his music video on YouTube singing, in Tagalog-English, which he originally wrote.
Have a watch of “Naiisip Mo Ba”, the first single from his self-titled album.
We probably have seen this video way back and we were so impressed with the way he interpreted the song, and he sounded very fluent in Tagalog. Now, who wouldn’t be amazed by this: a blue-eyed singer, started singing in English, then, all of a sudden he began singing in Filipino that others would really think, “He is more Filipino than I am.”
We have gotten the chance to interview him online when years ago his new music video became viral on Facebook. And what made me shocked, he sang in Bisaya. Very fluent that again, others started thinking, “He is more Bisaya than I am.” He sang “Bisan Pa” with Anna Rabtsun, which we will talk about later on.
Hoping that you will enjoy this short interview with the ever kind and ever talented, David DiMuzio.
I am so thankful that you allow me to interview you online. This will be featured on the website www.cebufinest.com as we believe your performance on the Bisaya song, “Bisan Pa” gave so much impact to Filipino music lovers particularly the Cebuanos in Cebu. But before going farther, I will be asking you some questions for you to answer…
Please introduce yourself: How old are you? Your profession? Where did you come from? When did you arrive in the Philippines?
I’m 28 years old from Charlotte, North Carolina, USA. I’m a professional singer-songwriter and a YouTuber. I first visited the Philippines on vacation in 2009.
When you arrived here in the Philippines and experienced the musicality, what made you decide to cover some Filipino songs? What was the first local did you sing and why that song?
The first local artist I saw perform in the Philippines was Rico Blanco. He had just launched his first solo album “Your Universe” and I loved the songs he played even though I didn’t understand the Tagalog songs at the time. My first Filipino cover was his song “Antukin”.
Were you challenged at first to speak the language for your singing? How long did you practice to be getting used to speaking the language for your singing?
I’m still learning Tagalog. It’s quite fun to learn. I’ve never studied formally. I’ve just picked up words, phrases, & grammar from my friends.
You wrote and sang the song, “Naiisip Mo Ba”. What is it all about and what was your inspiration when you were still writing the song? Is it included on an album you previously released? Is it still available?
‘Naiisip Mo Ba’ was basically inspired by every one of my ex-girlfriends …it wasn’t written for one particular girl. It’s a compilation of feelings of things I miss about all my ex’s, and the wonder I have if they ever miss or think about me the same way. It’s available on iTunes worldwide and off my Soundcloud page.
What was the reaction of your fans about you singing local songs as well as writing your original Pinoy music? How does it feel?
Filipinos have been extremely receptive to my music both in using the Filipino language in my original songs and in my interpretation of classic Filipino songs. I couldn’t be happier or more grateful for the love and support they’ve shown me.
You’ve been performing on TV and live guesting in Manila, and posting videos of you singing Filipino songs. “Bisan Pa,” is it your first Bisayan song? Was it a personal choice to sing those Bisaya songs or was it recommended to you?
‘Gugmang Gi-atay’ by The Ambassadors was the first Bisaya song that I ever covered. I’m happy the cover has become quite popular on YouTube. It was a song that was recommended to me by my friend Diva Montelaba. She’s from Cebu.
David on “Gugmang Giatay”: There’s something really special about it. First time I heard it I could really feel the emotion in the melody even though I didn’t yet understand the meaning of the lyrics.
I’m curious: When you sing Filipino songs, you sound very fluent. Are you fluent in speaking the language? (If you can post a video of you speaking Tagalog or Bisaya)
I understand Tagalog/Filipino well, and can speak and have a basic conversation in Tagalog. I can only sing Bisaya. I don’t speak it. I do understand the lyrics though of the Bisaya songs I’ve done covers of.
What was your largest music performance in the country? I’ve learned that you went to Dipolog for a serenade concert. How was it?
I’ve performed in Dipolog, Ozamiz, and Iligan City in Mindanao. Those shows were a blast! People in Mindanao are very hospitable as are Filipino everywhere in the Philippines. My largest performance in the Philippines in terms of crowd was probably at the stadium in Iligan for the Miss Iligan beauty pageant.
Who is your idol Filipino musical artist? You have a duet with Yeng Constantino. If you have the chance to do duet with another artist, who is it going to be and what song will you be singing?
If I could duet and record a song with any Filipino artist it would either be Bamboo or Rico Blanco. Ely Buendia would be really cool as well.
How different are Filipino songs to other songs you have sung? What motivates you to perform Filipino music?
There are certain themes that are more common in Filipino music than songs of other cultures. The thing though that most distinguishes Filipino music to me though are the style of chord progressions.
When your “Bisan Pa” video was posted on Facebook, there are some comments that said, “His voice when singing Bisayan songs is awesome,” “I am Bisaya but he sings better than me,” “A foreigner singing our song. And we are not singing our own song,” what can you say about those reactions?
I’m flatted when people say that they enjoy my version more than the original version of a song that I covered. Obviously all credit goes to the original songwriter because it’s their inspiration and talent that created the song in the first place, but I feel like I’ve been able to give many classic Filipino songs a slightly more “updated” or “modern” feel which might make some people like the sound of my version more.
Anna Rabtsun, “The Pretty Russian Girl who sings Bisaya song with David DiMuzio”… By the way, do you have Tagalog and Bisaya lessons before singing these songs? How are you so fluent? So amazing.
I’ve never had a single Bisaya or Tagalog lesson. If I sound Bisaya or Tagalog when I sing it’s just because I’m good at copying the sound of the language after hearing other Filipinos sing/speak it.
Join the Official Anna Rabtsun Facebook Page.
Have you been to Cebu? If so, when was that and what did you do? If not yet, do you have plans to visit Cebu and perform?
I visited Cebu for Sinulog this year. I had a blast! It was awesome, and I’ll definitely be back. I haven’t performed in Cebu yet, but I can’t wait to. Oh, and I always shot a music video at Plantation Bay Resort in Cebu. It’s the most beautiful resort I’ve ever stayed at. I’d love to go there again.
What can you tell to Filipinos on your passion and love of local Filipino song? What Filipino song are you planning to record next?
The next Filipino song I’m going to be releasing is my own version of the Chavacano song “Porque” originally by Maldita. It will be a duet with Aria Clemente and I’m really excited about it!
Please invite your fans and the CebuFinest readers of your future shows, support to you upcoming albums, tours, etc.
I really hope that everyone reading this will check out my YouTube channel …and if they enjoy my music I really hope that they will subscribe to my channel. You can also find me on Facebook & Twitter… I update and respond to message there daily.
We thank you, David, for giving us your spare time to answer our questions. We thank you for your wonderful interpretation of the Filipino songs, especially the Cebuano songs. We hope to meet you here again and sing with us live!