THE FREDDIE AGUILAR STORY
Born on February 5, 1953 in Sto. Tomas, Isabela, Philippines, Freddie Aguilar moved to the old capital city, Manila as a child… started writing songs at 14… first guitar at 17… first time on stage at 20.
HIS CLAIM TO FAME
It began in earnest in 1978 when the young man from Isabela entered his composition entitled "ANAK" (child) in the First Metro Manila Popular Song Festival. The song, with its haunting melody and poignant story about a parent's love for a wayward child, captured the imagination of the judges and became FINALIST from thousands on entries in spite of an essentially folk style, and thus, out of step with the strictly pop orientation of the competition. Close on the heels of the composition came a recording contract with VICOR Music Corporation, then the leading record label in the Philippines
The "ANAK" single was an immediate smash success, gaining double platinum certification in a matter of weeks. This was followed by an album that contained both the Tagalog and the English versions of "ANAK", but ironically, it was the Tagalog version that carried the album and brought international success. "ANAK" climbed fast to the top ten charts in Japan and Europe; over six million copies were sold and the song went on to generate 55 conversions in 26 languages. International opportunities followed and Freddie recorded an album in Los Angeles in English.
In spite of its commercial success and the fact that the English version of another track off his second album entitled "BUHAY NGA NAMAN NG TAO" entitled in English as 'THINK ABOUT THE GOOD TIMES," was eventually recorded by Americas top country singer LEE GREENWOOD, Freddie was not happy with the international projects. He felt that his own songs had been abandoned with some of Los Angeles top songwriters bringing entirely different lyrics to Freddie's songs. Freddie felt that the resulting album, while technically superior, was not really him.
MINSTREL OF THE MASSES
Freddie went back to continue his career in the Philippines with producer Jose Mari Gonzalez releasing an album in Tagalog entitled "MAGDALENA". The album went double platinum and Freddie was back in the groove at home in the Philippines. "MAGDALENA" was released in Europe where it was charted in five countries, but Freddie hardly noticed because his country was in turmoil. On August 21, 1983, the incarcerated Philippine senator worshipped and loved by many was killed at the Manila International Airport, and everything changed, not only for Freddie but for the entire nation.
Freddie Aguilar emerged as a key player in a complex political and social equation. It was at home in the Philippines that Freddie Aguilar, came of age not as an artist, but as one of the premier leaders of the country, His songs were not so much "SOCIAL PROTEST ANTHEMS", although there were some of these, as they were honest and heartfelt evocations of the lost values of the people, they were in the true sense "FOLK SONGS' for they established him in the truest and most meaningful sense as the voice of a nation.
Freddie's songs, which had always probed deeply into human values, began to take on an overtly political quality. The battle lines had been drawn, and with the Philippine Society in the midst of a protracted upheaval, Freddie took a clear stand with the songs like "KATARUNGAN" (justice), "PANGAKO" (promise), "LUZVIMINDA" (Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao, the three main island in the Philippines), songs that became rallying song for the nation.
More award winning albums followed and Freddie found himself increasingly identified with the political opposition to the Marcos regime. His songs were banned from the tri-media radio, television, print, but this did not hinder him. His efforts reached a stunning crescendo with "BAYAN KO" (my county), an old and plaintive 1933 Filipino folk song to which he added a verse that called the people to the streets in support of a peaceful democratic change. The song became the anthem of a growing revolution, the med "PEOPLE POWER" movement that swept the Marcos dictatorship from power in February, 1986. The people sang "BAYAN KO" in the streets all over the country, but no one could emote its meaning quite like FREDDIE AGUILAR.
The PEOPLE POWER won the revolution. The whole world watched as the nation headed for cataclysm with FREDDIE AGUILAR, the only singer songwriter apolitical figure, at the center of a peaceful upheaval that caught the heart and the imagination of the whole world.
MORE HIT SONGS AND MOVIE SCORES
Today, Freddie Aguilar has returned to normal life as a thoughtful artist at the peak of his abilities. He has a wall-to-wall collection of trophies and plaques honoring his contributions to music, everything from an AMPEX GOLDEN REEL AWARD (the second in his country the Philippines) for Excellency in his recording to Presidential citations from the past administrations (Presidents Marcos, Aquino, and Ramos). His credits also includes several multi platinum awards, the latest being one for the masterpiece album "KUMUSTA KA" that was recorded in Wales. His home and office displays more than a dozen platinum awards, plus a score of gold albums. Some of them went beyond record sales and inspired other mediums.
Freddie's music has scored and contributed theme songs to a variety of films. By the time "SARILING ATIN" achieved its multi-platinum mark, a movie based upon one of its hit singles, "ESTUDYANTE BLUES" (student blues) was a smash hit at the box office as the song became a teenage craze. Other movie theme songs born from his album tracks include the double platinum love song "IPAGLALABAN KO" (I will fight for you), the socially relevant movies "SA KUKO NO AGILA" (The Claw of an eagle), and "HANGGANG SAAN ANG TAPANG MO" (How brave are you?) Freddie has created theme songs for true to life movies such as those of the life of the infamous Commander Alibasbas and the notorious criminal Warren Balane. He has scored action films like "ANAK NG MATON" and entire dramas like Rubio Servios.
The most exciting movie that Freddie scored was shot on location at the rebel hideout in the mountains of the Cordilleras. For the first time, night after night, he lived at the rebel camp in the edge of danger, where government troops have been known to ambush. This was also his first time to make a camera appearance (and sure enough, the real danger of mock government troops gunned him down, in the movie). These movie theme songs were gathered and eventually released in a smash hit album. In 2001, a new version of the movie "ANAK," with "Vilma Santos" on the lead role, was fathered by Gary Valenciano.
INTERNATIONAL CONCERT TOURS
Freddie has gained popularity in the Middle East no doubt starting from the influx of labor forces sent there year after year. Every concert held there brought thousands of fans including the locals of Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, two were held n Israel's Rison Lisium Amphitheater and at the Huslia Stadium last July of '93. Ever since "ANAK" dominated the airwaves, Japan was the first to clamor for his live performances after Tokiko Kato garnered the number one in the Japanese charts for the Japanese version "KODOMO" (child), and Europe came only second. After Italy released the Italian version of his albums, RCA Germany followed suit with a German version. And so did Spain, Portugal and France with singer Nana Mouskouri and others.
The lasting impression for his music held for over a decade, as proven by his August 1990-three night concert at the Hammersmith Odeon in London, an overwhelming success in a predominantly European audience from Finland, Switzerland, Sweden, France, Norway, etcetera. In 1991, he performed another European tour in Rome, Milan, and in Geneva, Zurich's concert required an impromptu second night because the crowd was too big to accommodate for a one-night show at the downtown Volkhaus. In 1993, the concert tour in Seoul, Singapore, Japan, the Australian tour, and the New Zealand tour are among his favorite tours in 1993. Regular show: Every Monday at the hobbit house in M.H. Del Pilar St., Malate, Manila.
THE F.A.M.E. LABEL
For more original music are scheduled for the market under the Freddie Aguilar Music Enterprise (Fame) label of fifteen years. Albums featuring songs not only of Freddie Aguilar but of other artists are on their way. His daughter's, Maegan Aguilar, album with her own blues-rock-music are slated for the future as well. New album being produced by Freddie as you read include a band of a new upcoming Anak Band, lead by Jeriko Aguilar his son.
A LEGEND IN HIS OWN TIME
Today, Freddie Aguilar remains a perpetual artist performing his own home-grown music. With a solid 35 good years in the art of music, he is active within the vibrant but chaotic Philippine music industry. His international charisma brings him all over the world with a recent 2000 tour of Europe. His tour in the United States for the year 2002 took him to New York, California, and Illinois. He is slated to go to Texas and Virginia. Over all, Freddie lives on as he continues to emanate the music from his soul every day ...