www.halohalo.nz: Jam will be back in 2016 for a 3 city concert tour
By Sheila Mariano
AUCKLAND – Imagine having dinner with ‘The Jam Morales’ – the one who popularized the ‘80s OPM hits ‘Even If’ and ‘A Smile in Your Heart’ – right here in Auckland. It started with a call from Jam from Sydney, Australia in the middle of last year. She was coming over to Auckland with her daughter Serena for a short break after a hectic series of concerts over the ditch.
We met in town and from the very start she made me feel comfortable with her warm, down-to-earth personality. “I’m 50 now and I’m not ashamed to admit my age. When I was at the height of my fame and success I was very young, about 20.
“My batch is Martin Nievera, Gary Valenciano, Joey Albert, Zsa-Zsa Padilla and Jennifer Ramos. It was called the Batch ’83.
“Well actually, how it all started was with my aunty Sampaguita, who is Asia’s Queen of Rock and my uncle, who was Rico Puno’s musical director. I guess entertainment is in my blood. I used to carry all my aunty’s costumes. Then I became her back-up singer. Next I started to do jingles and commercials.
“The one big break that I had was winning the Metropop song competition. It’s a kind of American Idol and X-Factor cross. It was a big national competition. And that’s where I sang ‘A Smile in Your Heart’ and won. I was the Grand Champion. So that’s how it kicked off. The rest is history.”
Starting her singing career in 1983, she became one of the country’s top recording artists and concert performers. Many of us will also remember her as the popular co-host of the top-rating GMA ‘Supershow’.
Three decades ago she decided to give up her blossoming singing career in the Philippines to raise a family in the United States. She is currently based in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
“I thought I was going to get out of the business. But people were begging me to give singing lessons to their kids and everything.” She now manages her own performing arts school, Jam’s Voice Studio. “I started off with 15 students and now the roll is 50,” she reminisces. “Just word of mouth; it just grew and grew and grew.
“Then I started teaching at a performing arts school. I’ve been teaching voice lessons now for 21 years. I’ve had students who were in ‘American Idol’, ‘X-Factor’ and most recently one of my students made it into ‘The Voice’.”
Although teaching has been very rewarding work she still felt that something was missing. “I’ve always done large concerts. I never really stopped. My daughter Serena was born in 1987 and I remember that she was just 2 months old when I was doing shows with Rico Puno in LA. I’ve done shows with Kuya Germs, Gretchen Barretto and Jacky Lou Blanco.”
These days her performances are mainly concert tours in the States and overseas. “I would tour for the Philippine Overseas Workers abroad, like in Europe and the Middle East. There are a lot of Filipinos in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Riyadh.”
She was in Australia in June last year and performed in June this year at a concert organised by Filipino Migrant News. Jam will back in 2016 for a 3-city concert tour. http://www.filipinonews.nz/chika-muna/jammorales/More details: Filipino News 027 495 8477. (www.halohalo.nz)