Moving forward is a continuous process for Juris Fernandez. Four years after striking out on her own, the diminutive Filipino singer and songwriter has enjoyed success as a solo artist without abandoning her pop roots.
Juris, whose real name is Julie Iris Fernandez, first caught the attention of music fans back in 2003 when she fronted the platinum-selling acoustic duo MYMP (Make Your Momma Proud). The group charmed its way to the ears and hearts of listeners through the hit songs A Little Bit, Get Me, Now, as well as covers of popular tunes such as Waiting in Vain, Tell Me Where It Hurts and Especially for You.
In 2009, Juris officially left the group to embark on a solo career. To date, she has released five studio albums bolstered by hit singles such as Magkaibang Mundo, Kahit Di Mo Sabihin and Di Lang Ikaw.
We caught up with Juris ahead of tomorrow’s performance in Dubai.
You’re one of the few artists who have managed to pursue a successful solo career after leaving a group. Was the adjustment hard?
I found it difficult to accept that I needed to move on as a solo artist. Fortunately, I have the support of my family, management, the rest of my bandmates, fans and the record label.
How challenging was it to break away from your MYMP connection?
Breaking away from the name is more of a concern at the beginning of my solo career. I think it’s normal for people to associate me with the band’s name since I was the vocalist when it entered the recording scene.
What are the advantages of being a solo artist?
It’s great to be able to choose most of the songs that you want to sing. In my case, I enjoy learning more from other talented artists, to be involved more in the kind of sound that I want.
How would you describe your evolution as a musician?
I can’t tell how much I’ve changed. I think being involved with the songs that I want to sing, being able to share my thoughts, to be validated by artists who know more about music made me trust myself more. I don’t see myself evolving drastically. As much as possible, I don’t want to veer away from what people loved about me since the beginning.
You’ve made quite a name in South Korea and your albums have been released internationally. How does it feel being appreciated by fans outside your home country?
I feel blessed.
What’s the greatest compliment you’ve heard from foreign fans?
That they love the way I sing, it’s what they usually say.
Can you give us a sneak peek of your repertoire for the Dubai show?
We’ll definitely have some OPM (Original Pilipino Music) classics. A local band from Dubai will be accompanying me, so hopefully what we’ll be working on will entertain the audience.
• Juris performs tomorrow at Club Seven, Park Regis Kris Kin Hotel in Bur Dubai. For ticketing enquiries, contact 050 105 6606 or 056 744 6633
A Little Bit (2003)
The song that jump-started MYMP’s career as a hit- making band. Juris’s voice perfectly captured both the yearning and feeling of apprehension that comes with falling in love. It gave MYMP their first taste of mainstream success.
Tell Me Where It Hurts (2005)
MYMP’s acoustic version of the song written by Diane Warren solidified their reputation as a solid cover band. Juris and Chin Alcantara’s (MYMP’s guitarist) stripped-down interpretation of the track gave it a subdued yet heartfelt take – elements that were dwarfed previously by Kathy Troccoli’s soaring vocals.
Di Lang Ikaw (2010)
Although preceded by other singles, Di Lang Ikaw signified Juris’s return to the charts following her departure from MYMP.
Say You Love Me (2010)
Released as a single in South Korea, Say You Love Me stayed on the Korean charts for weeks.
Kahit Di Mo Sabihin (2011)
A song about love gone sour, with Juris’s emotional rendition, was a hit with the heartstrings – and the charts.
* Ferdinand Godinez
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