My husband and I took a little break from everyday life to watch the concert of OJ Mariano (http://www.starrecords.ph/album.asp?id=99&page=9) entitled Best of Me at Ratsky's Bar along Tomas Morato in Quezon City. It was the first time I listened to a local artist live in a long time. Produced by Bright Lights Entertainment, owned by my good friend Dennis Arce, OJ's guest was Kyla, monickered as the R&B Princess.
OJ's opening song was George Michael's I Gotta Have Faith. Though the song is upbeat, for some reason, the energy of OJ was low. He did not have an instant connection with the audience at first but as he sang one song after another, he finally warmed up to the audience.
OJ has a good voice perfectly suited for songs by Luther Vandross, Peebo Bryson or Eric Benet. However, in some songs, he seemed to be scared to hit the high notes (or was it a lack of musical direction?). His rendition of Luther Vandross' Dancing with my Father moved me to tears...ask my husband who was surprised when he saw me sniffling and reaching for my tissues. I was loving his rendition of Through the Fire when he suddenly decided to change costume and has his back-up keyboardist sing the rest of the song.
The best parts of the show were his medley of Boyz 2 Men songs and the duet with Kyla, who sang 2 songs prior to the duet. It was a beautiful duet that I finally remembered I had video features in my phone camera. Unfortunately, I forgot to set the video time to longer than 20 seconds so please bear with the shortness of the following clips.
Congratulations OJ! Congratulations Dennis!