Only 17 years of age, Filipino singer-songwriter Miguel Antonio is like the Miguel Rivera in the film ‘Coco’, a 2017 American 3D computer-animated fantasy film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. He loved singing since he was a boy, but no one in his family knew of his hidden talent until he became the champion in 2010 at a singing competition organized by Qifa Primary School, where he was a student, in Singapore.
It was a family friend who posted a YouTube video of his singing ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ from the musical ‘Les Miserables’ on facebook, which instantly became viral and he started getting noticed by a wider audience.
Like Miguel Rivera, the 12-year-old aspiring musician, voiced by Anthony Gonzalez, he hid himself in the confines of his room while practicing his entry piece; kept his singing pitch lower to go unnoticed with his room closed by any of his family member. He practiced hours and hours, weeks and weeks before the actual competition took place.
In the film, Coco, Miguel practiced in the attic of their house just to work with his guitar, to follow his heart and to seize his moment; which the real-life Miguel, the Davao-born lad is actually pursuing.
As a singer-songwriter, the one thing that (he considered) has made a great impact in his career was, “I always wanted to give back my voice and through that I decided to perform in charity shows. I did a song for ‘Hope of One Voice’ (with Jessica Reynoso). We went to Tacloban to film the devastation and for the restoration of Tacloban (the aftermath of of Typhoon Haiyan).”
With his chance to work with David Foster and Apl.de.ap of the Black Eyed Peas, he shared, “It’s the sense of professionalism and musicianship; I really took it upon myself to learn more not just being a singer but as a musician as well.”
For his bid to reach out to Filipino audience, he chose ‘The Only Thing’, a song he also composed, as his first OPM single because of its storytelling.
“It’s a love song and it’s about long distance relationships. I feel like there are elements in the song that people would relate to in certain ways,” he shared.
Antonio first rose to fame when he won the 2011’s ‘Born To Sing Asia’ talent competition and got selected by world-class musician David Foster to perform at the ‘David Foster & Friends’ concert in Singapore. He also signed with US-based BMBX Entertainment, led by Grammy award-winning producer Apl.de.ap of the Black Eyed Peas in 2014.
A year later, the young singer was able to tour Manila to promote his then single ‘Every Day’, shoot the music video for another song, ‘Breathe You In’ and record his other single, ‘Satellite’, written by the song-writing team of One Direction.