As the Philippines continues to discover new talent, a young man from Cebu rose to fame through the reality singing competition “The Voice Kids.”
The series was broadcast in June 2014; by July, Juan Karlos Labajo finished third among the four finalists. Soon he was cast in popular soaps like “Hawak Kamay” and “Pangako Sa ’Yo.”
At 15, he’s not only blessed with an amazing voice, he’s also very driven. No wonder he went to sing a duet with Gary Valenciano in the final round of “The Voice Kids.”
Renowned Broadway star Lea Salonga has praised him for his “looks, charm and heart,” adding he is “guaranteed a future” in the music industry.
Determined to leave his mark in the biz with substance, Juan Karlos (or JK) is an ambassador of the Jollibee Kids Club. He was tapped to join the revival of the fast-food joint’s iconic “I Love You Sabado” campaign.
To Be You caught up with the busy singer.
When did you discover your passion for music?
I first started singing on the karaoke when I was five. I’ve always loved singing, but I never thought I could be a singer until I joined “The Voice Kids”!
What is your favorite musical genre?
A lot! Pop, acoustic, blues, EDM, etc. It depends on my mood.
Who do you look up to and why?
Ed Sheeran, because despite his fame and success, he is down to earth. He is so talented when it comes to singing and songwriting. He is just the bomb! I also love Eminem and Sam Smith.
What do you like doing in your spare time? Describe your experience on “The Voice Kids.” Any advice for young musicians?
If I have some free time, it’s either I sleep or go out. My experience on “The Voice Kids” was awesome. You’ll know what I mean when you try to join.
My advice? Being new in the industry, I don’t think I’m in a position to give advice, but among the things I learned are to be yourself and have confidence, confidence, confidence! Also, be humble—always!
What’s it like to be accomplished at your age?
It feels good. In all honesty, it felt like I won the lottery. I am so happy and thankful.
To whom do you owe your success?
My family, friends, supporters and also my dog!
Any other interests aside from music?
Acting, bowling and driving.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Want to know the key to failure? Trying to please everyone. I always tried to please everyone, and then one day I realized that I couldn’t. I stay real and avoid the force of the fake.
Name one of your pet peeves.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Weird, crazy and happy!
Which is better to follow—your heart or your head?
Your heart, because if you don’t like what you’re doing, then you will not be happy.
What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you?
A lot, actually. Falling on stage while performing is a good start.
Who’s on your playlist?
Sheeran, John Legend, Damien Rice, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Eminem, Sam Smith, etc.
Tell us something about your favorite song.
My favorite at the moment is a song that I wrote. It has no title yet but, no bias, it is just sweet. It’s about strangers meeting for the first time and catching that feeling, you know? Something like love at first sight.
What makes you bored?
When I have no one to talk to and when I’m alone.
Tell us something you would happily do again.
I’m happily doing it right now.
Photography Maika Anthoni Styling Luis Carlo San Juan Grooming and hairstyle Mico Dacanay SPECIAL THANKS TO STRATWORKS AND JOLLIBEE