From Rockstar to Popstar
By Viva Alvaro-Galvez and MJ Racadio
Who would not recall Junard, the rockstar from the famous Philippine Sprite commercial in 2015? Yes, that’s him!
Together, let us discover how he managed to land the famous character, and witness his transition towards fulfilling his dreams and aspirations. There is so much more than what his character in the commercial offers.
This is a story of a young man who has overcome undertakings at a very young age, by focusing not on his negative experiences, but on the things that he wants to pursue, and the person that he wants to become.
“I didn’t really enjoy being a kid because I was bullied. Everyone was calling me names. Somebody would say nobody likes me, I should just go home.”
“But I enjoyed listening to music, and playing various musical instruments. I did not have lots of friends but I enjoyed being with my family all the time.”
Hearing his past experiences would make us wonder and ask how and why he has become the person that we know today.
Graduating from high school marks the end of the darkest moments in his life. “That’s the best and most memorable part for my high school life; saying goodbye to everyone. New environment, new me,” he said.
In 2011, he went to the best culinary school in the Philippines. He did great in school and he was half scholar. He started meeting a lot of great people and great friends, however, he felt like something else is missing.
“There was a piano in the lounge. That’s where I learned how to play piano. No one taught me. I started with Happy Birthday, and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star at first and then soon, I became good at it,” he recalled. He did it everyday without a miss, before classes, during breaks, and after classes.
That’s when he found the answer to the question he was asking himself way back. He already knew what was missing! This is something he has always been passionate about, his joy, his solace, one of his selected companions during his unhappy days in high school – his love for music.
He recalled his thoughts and dilemmas during that time. “At the back of my mind, I still think about music. I was good at baking and culinary stuff, but the urge to play and make music was there, and not even my parents knew about that.” Nobody knew about this except him.
It’s the universe showing a glimpse of what he would do and pursue in the coming years, but not in culinary world. He was so used to playing piano that he would hum along, and eventually sing while playing, until he started writing songs out of these melodies. It gave him a hope that he could make it to the industry.
Aside from his love for music, he would attend TV commercial auditions. His Dad is an award-winning advertising creative director, but during his younger years, he would always think he wouldn’t make it. “I’ve always wanted to be a model, but before, I was thinking I will never reach that level. I am not saying that I am a really good looking person now, but I tried my best to make myself look and be like one,” he added. Little did he know, his first ever commercial break would air on the national TV in 2015.
Sprite Commercial: ‘Jhunard as Rockstar Vocalist’
He was chosen as one of the main characters in Sprite commecial. “Ako si Jhunard,“Punta ka sa gig ko, ako Bokalista” was his line. To him, it’s not only about having a noticeable part in a TV advertisement. Moreover, it is about being portrayed as a musician, because that’s what he is in real life. “I perfectly fit in that commercial,” he said.
More than 200 young men auditioned for the role.
In 2016, he went to Hollywood for an auditon, to sing, and participate in a workshop for John Robert Powers. He stayed there for 5 months. “It was hard to be away with my family. It was also scarry because there are a lot of con artists in Hollywood and I met a lot of them,” he recalled.
When asked about the learnings he acquired during his stay in US, he would say it taught him a lot of things. “Life is really hard. You don’t get an overnight success in Hollywood, you really have to work for it. You have a lot of competitors. You have to be realistic with your dreams, but you do not have to be discouraged. It seem impossible, but there is a possibility.”
Right now, he is preparing for a come back. Every bit of him could really tell that he is excited for everything. He is being mentored, and he is very much willing to work things out. “This is it! There is a strategy. I feel like I am on a right direction. I never thought that there is a better way of doing it. I just have to do it.”
He will be making a music video soon, featuring one of his original music. “I am polishing all my songs. I need to sharpen my performance, and work on my vocals even more. I am giving myself a 6-month preparation before I launch myself in New York and Hollywood,” he said.
He picture himself launching an album, and becoming an International popstar, a year from now. “I can see my future as that person. I see myself playing my music, performing, and having concerts in different places,” he said.
It is indeed a dream that one could only imagine as a reality. Louis is far different from the many because he is doing something about his dreams. He has a goal, a plan to reach that goal, and a way to work on everything thay may hinder him from reaching it. He is unstoppable!
His dreams would only remain as dreams without the most important people who believed in him; his family. Family is the sole foundation throughout his transformation, and towards becoming the person he was just used to dreaming about.
“To me, they are the only people that I can lean on to. Friends will come and go, but my parents are always going to be there for me. My family is my real friend.”
Horror of the past may sometimes hunt him in sleep, but they are no longer there when he wakes up. It’s now too far from his reality, not even a slight of it show today.
The world and some people in it may take away some of the valuable things in life (confidence, happiness, and true identity)but in their most powerful way; Music, and family seem to be a refuge. There is no room for a vengeful heart, but a fighting, pure, forgiving, and loving soul conquers. “I didn’t really change, I just made myself stronger, and better,” he said.
Louis is currently working in the studio finishing his debut album with Ryan Klos (Record Producer) . His dream of becoming a pop recording artist is a work in progress, and he is surely getting there. It’s 90% completed, and only 10% is a work in progress. He’s got what it takes, and he believes he can!
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