Inspiring Fil-Ams: From Youtube to Justin Bieber
The “Driven” Vocals Behind Legaci!
by Ricky Delos Reyes
Perfect harmony, smooth vocals and beautiful music is what you'll get with these proud Filipino-American R&B group, Legaci. The group consists of Chris Abad, Del Lazaro, Jaymill Atencion and Micah Tolentino. The group originally formed in 1997 and performed over the years at various events and shows. Since then, they have released singles and albums including Little Black Book in 2006 and Sessions in 2007. We caught up and interviewed the guys for our TV show ”Power ng Pinoy”, which just wrapped up it’s 2nd season on GMA Pinoy TV. Chris Abad talks about group, “We consider ourselves best friends and brothers, so we have that mutual understanding, mutual respect for each other. I think that’s what makes us click.” According to Del Lazaro, “I think also our journey to get here, this point, keeps us grounded...This is our whole lives in the making. So all we have to do is look back, the hard times, and it's a reminder it could all go away. We don't want to take it for granted.” When we asked Jay Atencion on how the group got started and what drives them to push harder?, he explains “when we first started Legaci, that was something that we wanted, to use it to be able to inspire the younger generation to keep on striving and working hard that anything is possible.”
In late 2007, the guys turned to YouTube to promote the group and to expand their fan base. Little did they know that Justin Bieber himself would catch their rendition of his popular single “Baby” thus Justin asked his manager to contact the group to join him on his next tour. The group performed in over 22 countries as Justin Bieber's backup singers at his “My World Tour” over a span of two years plus appearances on various TV shows including Ellen, Today and The Late Show with David Letterman. Micah Tolentino mentioned “Performing with Justin gave us an opportunity to meet Filipinos all over the world, including the Philippines! It's like a worldwide family of Filipinos! It was an amazing experience”. The New York Times once called Legaci “the most visible yet invisible pop figures in the world”. “We really counted it an honor! I mean, it's the New York Times! And to think the New York Times was speaking about a bunch of Filipino guys making music was a real great honor!” said Micah. “We believe that Filipinos are on the edge of something really big which we think is going to be a huge movement in mainstream media. We got acts like Charice, Apl de Ap, Nicole Scherzinger, and just a number of other people....”.
When we asked the group what their signature sound is, Del Lazaro expressed, “we’re combining music from the 90’s to current types of music. ... You know, the 4-part harmony — bass, tenor, baritone — but still evolve it a little so that it sounds current, and people who are just listening to music today can enjoy the music that we put out.” We then asked the group what contributes to their success, Chris mentions “our families and friends have been very supportive of our chosen career path. 'Cause I know being a musician, it's not the ideal career path... they've been very supportive from the very beginning and it's been a huge blessing.”
Legaci worked very hard and are passionate about the release of their newest EP album titled Driven. The album includes seven singles including the popular hit "Never Got Over You". When we asked Del why they titled their new album “Driven”, he said “When we were thinking of a title for the album... we wanted to let people know how hard we've worked to get to this point... It's just taken hard work, blood, sweat, tears... It's a pretty simple word. Driven. And I think it says a lot.”
With the successful social media campaign, the guys got their fans to contribute to the
making of "Driven" asking them to suggest and vote for songs to put in their album. "We've tried to be
personally in touch with our fans in everything that we do. So when we decided to have this album, we wanted to have that same connection with our fans”, said Jay. “What better way to do that than let them choose what songs to put in our album? You know, it doesn't really get and closer than that!”, Del added. The group launched and celebrated the release of their new album “Driven” on December 9, 2012 at the Pa’ina Lounge in San Francisco which was hosted by Freska Griarte of 99.7 Now. Their album and singles are now available through iTunes, Google Play and Amazon. The Legaci and their inspiring story --- ‘Yan ang Power ng Pinoy!
(For questions or comments about this article, please email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Ricky Delos Reyes is a Producer/Director of Power ng Pinoy TV Show which airs on GMA Pinoy TV. For more information about the show, please visit www.powerngpinoy.tv or http://facebook.com/powerngpinoy. You can learn more about Legaci and hear snippets from their newest album at www.wearelegaci.com)