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Friday, January 16, 2009

Mau Marcelo Arts and Music School

In the roller coaster rigors of show business, the ticket to the big ride is never an easy one.

For Mau Marcelo, success, indeed, has come at the price of unwavering perseverance and determination. Since her heyday as lead vocalist of the Chemical Syndrome band, Mau has soared to heights greater than her childhood-woven-dreams.

“I believe good things come to those who wait and persevere,” she openly admits in an interview at the Old Spaghetti House along Bohol Ave. in Quezon City. The newly-signed songstress of Viva Artists Agency is truly one whose accomplishments are the fruits of her persistence in her craft.

Hailing from Lucena City in the Quezon Province, Mau set off on her musical career at the tender age of five, singing in school programs and family reunions. She went on a tour of sorts, competing in amateur contests all over Quezon, Batangas and Laguna, using her professional moniker Samantha Brown along the way.

Her first real big break came when she joined Singaling, a TV singing contest then hosted by Allan K., and Ai-Ai de las Alas, aired over ABC5. Here, she reigned supreme as the champion for seven weeks. This stint was to be followed by yet another signing contest; this time, Mau barged all the way into the finals of Star For A Night, only to lose to Sarah Geronimo.

Losing in competitions, however, did not discourage our heroine. Just as the hit show American Idol began making waves on the international audience, ABC5, the same station that practically revved her career onto the fast lane, decided to put on the first ever local franchise of the stateside program. Dubbed as Philippine Idol, its first incarnation locally, Mau decided to join the competition when a — and I quote — “concerned citizen” texted and convinced her that she, indeed, had the stuff that champions are made of.

And the rest, as they say, is history. From her consistently ending up in the bottom three in the ladies’ eliminations, to her astounding entry into the semi-finals as the wildcard, to the exponential growth of her fans and supporters when she swooped into the finals, Mau ultimately won it all and claimed a title that she truly deserves — the first and only — Philippine Idol.

“It was just like what I really wished for all along, a title that I can call my own,” Mau says over seafood marinara. As fate dictated, just around early 2007, GMA 7 was able to obtain the rights to the competition franchise and renamed it Pinoy Idol. Hence, with the present setting, only Mau Marcelo, is and will ever be the Philippine Idol.

I was very much surprised to find out that this one champ, with an ego as negligible as an ant’s, still maintains her simple lifestyle. A mom to two kids, Patricia and Paolo, and a loving partner to her non-showbiz beau Ritchie, Mau still retains some unique quirks that most of her fans do not even know about. For example, she uses a kulambo (mosquito net) as her blanket for her feet, owing to its silky fabric. “Masarap talaga siya sa paa when going to sleep,” she explains, “you have to try it yourself!”

But kidding aside, busy-bee that she is on account of numerous gigs and shows, the Philippine Idol, like singer Roselle Nava, still finds time to be hands on with her very own arts and music school.

Opened in August 2008, the Mau Marcelo Arts and Music School in Lucena City caters to young, future stars who wish to follow in the champ’s footsteps. The school offers lessons in voice, guitar, dance and flute, among other courses that aim to develop the students’ skills in the performing arts. Mau personally gets involved in the voice lessons whenever she has free time, while her tight-knit crew of able and competent instructors take over when she is in the metro with engagements and performances. A point of interest in her school is the ingenuity she put into her dance studio. Mau figured out a creative way to transform a bare spacious room into her very own dance studio by purchasing huge mirrors and hanging them up side by side along the walls.

Now with two albums to her name and a unique title to boot, Mau never ceases to keep on improving her craft and her endeavours. Last November, she successfully put together a recital where her music school students showcased the lessons they learned from this champion.

Mau Marcelo, now one of the rising stars of the music industry, pours her efforts into developing the little kids whom she believes are no different from her five-year-old self who started with just a little dream and a whole lot of perseverance.

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