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Ngayong Pasko

She either takes a break from the usual night ’til dawn singing gigs or goes out to cheer up less-fortunate kids in a charity institutions as a way of celebrating her birthday. But as Sitti turns 24 on Nov. 29, she is setting aside whatever plans she has for her special day with family and close friends to perform in First at the Captain’s Bar of Mandarin Oriental. The concert starts 9 p.m.

“Since it is my first time to do a show that falls on my birthday, we have come up with a concept which will make everyone in the audience know me more by dividing the show into three parts — the past, present and future,” Sitti says.

The past will trace Sitti’s roots prior to hitting the right tune of success through bossa nova. Not everyone knows Sitti started as a lounge singer at 17, belting out standards and jazz hits of Kevyn Lettau and Patti Austin in front of Manila Peninsula and Hyatt’s Calesa Bar music-loving crowd. The stints served as good breather for Sitti, who was then a Business Economics student at UP.

“They also helped pay for my tuition and books,” she recalls.

“I still remember how I kept on listening to Patti’s songs in cassette tapes for me to memorize the lyrics and get the feel of songs like In My Life, Through The Test of Time, Baby Come to Me and others,” she relates.

She, too, joined MTV Philippines’ MTV Supahstar and was named one of its seven winners which served as her key to formally break into the recording scene as MTV’s partner label Warner Music signed her up as its recording artist.

Of course, Sitti’s present covers bossa nova, a genre which originated in Brazil and made Astrud Gilberto a popular name. In the country, it also worked wonders for Sitti and has become her signature repertoire. She even started hitting the platinum and gold marks for her albums since the release of Café Bossa in 2006.

For a change, Sitti and show director Calvin Neria inject a different flavor in the “future” part. Sitti will render songs that will semi-depart her from bossa tunes. “This way, I prepare the listeners to see me singing other genres the way I did in my latest Christmas album Ngayong Pasko.”

Will Sitti also push through with the plan of moving ala Jennifer Lopez while crooning Baila?

“Calvin and I still have to finalize the details like what clothes to wear. Parang di ko yata kaya masyado sexy but we’ll see. That’s a surprise,” she replies.

Won’t she be doing any charity project because of her show?

“I have this egroup, Sittizens, and we do outreach programs. The last outreach was on Nov. 2 and we are planning on another one. But since I have a tour with other Warner artists after my birthday show, I will in our outreach project for Don Bosco scholars in Batulao next month. I love kids and you have this happy feeling na ma-share ang blessings mo na di mo magawa noon.”

No one really can turn back the hands of time but like Sitti, everyone can look back to the toughest or sweetest days of the past, share a blessing or two and move forward to a brighter future.

By Bot Glorioso
20 November 2008, Philippine Star

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