Jose Mari Chan reimagined on ‘The Manhattan Connection’

Jose Mari Chan (Voltaire Domingo, NPPA Images)Jose Mari Chan (Voltaire Domingo, NPPA Images)

The songs of Jose Mari Chan have been covered by a number of great local artists over the years. Just recently, Christian Bautista's Jose Mari Chan cover album earned a quadruple platinum award, proving that the acclaimed singer-songwriter is still relevant in the music scene today.  And now, Chan adds another milestone in his already celebrated career via the tribute album "The Manhattan Connection: The Songs of Jose Mari Chan."

The 12-track album is produced by Janis Siegel, a member of the American vocal group The Manhattan Transfer. All songs on the album are given a different twist by Siegel and music producer Yaron Gershovsky, making them an entirely different creature from the Jose Mari Chan originals. All songs were also performed by up and coming American artists, making it the first tribute album to a local artist produced by an All-American production.

"I was pleasantly surprised with the result of the album. I felt honored and challenged," Chan said during the press launch of the tribute album last week.

He added that the album is a "good shot in the arm for OPM"

The production of the album came about when Ovation Productions' Renen De Guia introduced Chan to Siegel a few years ago. When Siegel found out Chan is a songwriter, the Grammy-winning solo artist wanted to hear his songs. After giving her a number of his albums, Siegel told a month later that got she interested with three of his songs. Later on, the list of Chan's songs she liked grew longer and Siegel expressed her desire to arrange the songs, hence the birth of the tribute album.

Songs included on the album include "Constant Change," "I Have Found My World in You," and "A Heart's Journey."

One notable thing about the album is the absence of Chan's more iconic and recognizable songs. Save for "Constant Change," the album does not have any Jose Mari Chan hits such as "Beautiful Girl," "Can We Just Stop and Talk A While" and "Please Be Careful With My Heart." This is because Chan gave Siegel and Gershovsky a free rein with the album production.

The fact that the album is mostly composed of songs even the members of the press present during the press launch were not familiar makes Chan "marvelously surprised" with the outcome of the album. He even said "The Manhanttan Connection" is a sort of achievement for these little known songs, adding that song preference is simply a matter of taste.

"It is like telling you that 10 of my children, because my songs are like my children, have now attained their master's degree. That's how it feels about my songs na hindi naging popular," he said.

"The Manhattan Connection: The Songs of Jose Mari Chan" will also be the first locally produced album to be sold on Starbucks branches nationwide.


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