" Under Her 'Loving' Wings "
by Jojo P. Panaligan

Lucky Gabby Eigenmann. No, make that very lucky Gabby Eigenmann.
If what is commonly believed that first-borns always get the best is true,
then Gabby is made. For not only is he the first recording artist under
a new label, but his recording company happens to be mothered by no less
by no less than Asia's Songbird and Concert Queen Regine Velasquez.

And to welcome her little chicklet, Regine Velasquez in cooperation with
Viva's Neo Records launched Gabby's debut effort called "Loving" at the
Megastrip of Megamall last Oct. 3. Lending their support to the salvo were
S.O.P. guests and some Viva artists. These included Dingdong Dantes, Cacai
Velasquez, Angelika dela Cruz, Maxine, Jeffrey Hidalgo, Nyoy Volante, Ogie
Alcasid, the First Circle Band and Regine herself.

A snug acceptance fit for royalty, indeed!

"It all started when Regine approached me in S.O.P and asked me if I
wanted to become a recording artist. At first, I couldn't believe it. But then
Regine told me three magic words that changed my mind: I love you. Kidding,
she told me 'I trust you.' Kung ikaw ba naman ang sabihan ng Asia's Songbird
ng ganon, di ka ba papayag?" Gabby said that night.

The former child commercial model and now S.O.P host still couldn't believe
his luck. Though he comes from a musical family (his father Mark Gil sings
and his grandpop Eddie Mesa is dubbed as "Elvis Presley of the
Philippines"), Gabby left nothing to chance. He took voice lessons under
Edward Granadosin of premiere vocal group 3-of-a-kind prior to recording
and got Zebeedee Zuniga of the Opera to coach him during the making per-se
that lasted for about a year.

A listen to the album reveals a Gabby somewhat detached from the one seen
on TV. Though he still sounds youngish, the boy tries his hand on different
kinds of pop mostly boy band sounding. "Di naman sa nakiki-ride ako sa
popularity ng boy bands. Talaga lang yun ang direction na gusto kong
puntahan," explained Gabby.

As a live artist, meanwhile, Gabby surprised everyone with his singing style
especially his falsetto skills. The latter is best appreciated in the track
"Let Me In" a remake of a Mike Francis original that had the new singer
hitting the high notes ala-Brix Ferraris or Luke of South Border.

Regine, on her part and though busy with her own career, took time to be
hands-on. From the choice of materials to the recording and mixing, the
Songbird made sure her baby benefited directly from her expertise and care.

"A lot of people ask me why I chose Gabby to be the first artist of Songbird
Music (Regine's recording company). It's because I really believe in his
potential," Regine disclosed. It can be remembered that Regine even asked
Gabby (with KC Montero) to rap on her song "For The Love Of You"
sliced from "R2K."

Featuring 12 songs in all, "Loving" boasts of two remakes ("Let Me In" by
Mike Francis and "Please Don't Go Away" an unreleased single from Ogie
Alcasid's first album) and ten songs penned by leading composers such as
Lisa Dy, Arnel De Pano, Chat Zamora and Tiny Rodriguez. Christine Bendebel
authors the lead single "Loving."

" Pay Attention, Gabby! "
( What a hard-headed student he was! )


Manila Bulletin, Oct. 7, 2001



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