Juris in Ken's eyes

Proudly made in Davao. This city has been molding talents who score big in the national scene’s music industry. Jay Durias, Jinky Vidal and Freestyle, and Joey Ayala are some. There are more and we should expect more stars to sprout from this Southern part of the country.

Juris Fernandez is one of those who carved a name in the mainstream music industry. It was that time when the acoustic music genre was very popular and her rendition of  “Especially for you” and her original track of "A Little Bit" were constantly on the play list of every radio station all around the country. The latter tune was a popular choice on the repertoires of other live performers. It was a tune that became an "anthem" in those days, and the song that shot Juris to music stardom.

I only know of Juris as the daughter of Dr. Fernandez whom I know as my very good friend’s next-door physician in CHDC Hospital. The proud mom used to tell us about how her daughter is performing with a band in Manila. Next thing I knew, Juris’ name was echoing around the Manila live music circuit.

Juris' proud mom

Having my fill of the bands-in-bar tableau and opted for a quieter scene (ageing does that to you, or is it just me?), my local music IQ dove down to zero. So where do I pick up on the success story of Juris?

Thank God there’s Ken Cruz who had a surprise up his sleeve. His invitation to catch Juris’ concert at the Waterfront Insular Hotel came at a perfect time when nothing was stirring the city’s nightscape. What I didn’t know was that he was going to be part of the show. Hearing him sing wonderfully for the first time, I knew this was this talent was right man to ask about Juris.

Ken joins Juris on stage

And does his solos.

Here is Juris in Ken’s eyes.

How do you know Juris?

Ken: Our families have been friends ever since. We went to the same school (Ateneo - elementary & high school) and her sister, who’s my batch mate happens to be one of my closest friends.

Did you witness her rise to music stardom?

K: I definitely saw her rise to “music stardom” dating back from school performances in Ateneo to the time her career started with her previous group (can’t mention the name due to “contract” reasons) and now as a solo artist.

Which song did Juris make famous? Which song did make Juris famous?

K: The song that Juris made famous with her previous group was A LITTLE BIT… and now as a solo artist, DI LANG IKAW would definitely be the one. It really went hand in hand. As she popularized these songs, it made her famous as well.

How did you end up singing with her?

K: Every time I’d come home from the US, I make it a point to watch her regular gigs at Bagaberde and 19 East. And whenever she sees me in the crowd, she would always call me up on stage to sing a song or two. After learning that I would be in Davao in time for her Pre-Valentine’s show, I was invited to join the concert as her guest artist.

What was in Juris' mind that she shared with you on this 1st solo concert of hers in Davao?

K: She shared how excited and thrilled she was to do the show. She even mentioned how had been waiting for this moment to come and finally have a major concert for her fellow Davaoenos.

Who chose her repertoire for this show?

K: Juris was the one who chose the repertoire for the show. She also did the musical arrangement.

How was it performing for the Davao audience? Is this your first time?

K: This isn’t my first time performing for the Davao audience. I used to be part of a band back in college. However, this is by far the most “legit” performance I’ve had to date. It was nerve-(w)racking! I am happy that the Davaoenos are more responsive nowadays. WE (the Davaoenos) are not the easiest crowd to please. I should know. Hahaha…

The ballroom was full, how did it make you both feel?

K: We both feel grateful that a lot of people were able to watch and enjoy what we have prepared for/worked hard for over the past weeks/months leading to the event itself.

What would you say is Juris' song that is synonymous to her name?

K: DI LANG IKAW would be the song I’d say is synonymous to her name. The song, which she wrote herself (music by Aiza Seguerra), gave her a platinum award, an album of the year award as well as a nomination for Best Song of the Year by the PARI Awit Awards ’11.

It was a great show, everyone who caught the concert will agree with me. Congratulations, Juris! Congratulations and thank you, Ken. You were both great and I am so proud of you guys!

Two nights packed the ballroom with proud Dabawenyos.

Published in Sun.Star Newspaper on February 19, 2012.