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Eclectic singer Rie Manaloto’s musical inheritance


Rie Manaloto is an eclectic singer, performer and teacher. He is a composer and an arranger of a number of contemporary musical theatre shows like the Lenten musical “Road to Calvary”, and the Filipino historical stageplay, “Cabesang Tales”. He is an avid supporter of OPM (Original Pinoy Music), and believes in the beauty and uniqueness of our culture as well as our artistic talents that are strongly embodied in our music.

Why did you decide to pursue a career as a Singer/Actor?

  • I don’t think I have pursued it as a career just yet, but it is a creative passion that I continue to nurture and share within my spheres as a young music educator.

From what age did you know of your interest in the Performing Arts?

  • I grew up in a music-loving home. It was normal to love singing. and to always listen to music, particularly church tunes and OPM ballads. I’m pretty sure I was 4 years old when I sang in public for the first time. At 8, I started singing in the children’s choir. It was during my teenage years that I began to understand that music was a powerful tool—it was my place of wonder and safety. And it is through performing and sharing that experience with others that helped me shape, express and get to know myself better.

What projects or work have you been involved in Australia and or overseas?

  • In Sydney, I had the opportunity to be involved in three productions of “Her Son, Jose Rizal” between 2011-2012. I started writing and arranging my own music, and musically direct for small musical productions like “Cabesang Tales” and the “Road to Calvary” in 2018. Through the years, I had also been a support act for some well loved Filipino artists like Jose Mari Chan, Martin Nievera and the iconic group, Asin.

Of the work you listed above, any favourites or one that is closest to your heart so far?

  • It has to be the musical theatre productions where I got to write and arrange songs, and had creative control in how the music was going to play out. Writing is both a challenging and exhilarating experience, and what’s most priceless would be the things I have learned, the skills I have expanded through the process. It’s like I’ve unlocked a part of myself every time.

Who would you accredit as having the greatest influence on you and in what you do? 

  • I cannot give a single answer to this question as I see myself as an eclectic, and I get inspired and influenced by so many things and so many people. But I am always grateful to every single person that became my mentor in the journey—in the areas of music, performing arts, education, and most importantly my faith. All these things are intricately interwoven in my identity, and many aspects would just complement each other in amazing ways.

Who would you select as the most enjoyable person/s you have worked with and why?

  • It will have to be the projects I have done with Filozart. We’re a family—we had grown and matured together, learned and embraced change together. They made my theatre arts journey quite adventurous and meaningful.

Any current projects you are currently working on?  

  • I have been busy arranging music and directing my high school choir. We perform soul music. When the lockdown started, we have been rehearsing and making music online via Zoom. 

What was the most enjoyable/best part of your career so far?

  • The most enjoyable part of my career as a music teacher is being able to work with young people who have so much passion and promise, those that are just needing guidance and inspiration as they commence the process of developing their creative selves. I absolutely love arranging music for and performing with my singing group. It’s a joy to learn how to identify and highlight their strengths, and just let them “shine” in the process.     

What else would you want to accomplish?

  • I want to introduce Filipino music to my singing kids—a tasteful repertoire of traditional, spiritual and popular pieces from my youth, and the current scene. It’s like sharing a piece of me to this new generation that will help them understand my roots and my passions, and just draw them into the wonder of it all! I also want to write, direct and perform my own musical–all new and original material that somehow represents my heritage and my journey as a Filipino-Australian artist.    

What advice would you give to other aspiring Pinoy-Aussie Actors who are keen to establish themselves in the industry?

  • My advice would be, if you are serious about building a career as a performer/actor, or a singer/musician, or a teacher/instructor, plan it early, plan it well, and plan it smart. Start by educating yourself and acquiring as many tools and professional advice as you can. Get connected and build a network of people in the same industry. Share and collaborate—there’s always a give-and-take process. Get as much experience as you can, whether through gigs, auditions or showcases. Learn new things along the way, but remember to never lose your core.

by Felino Dolloso September 2021 (c)