By Mortz C. Ortigoza
CALASIAO, Philippines – If Filipinos Allan Lindo known as Apple de App and Arnel Pineda show their mettle as front men of American bands Black Eyed Peas and Journey, can a Pangasinense fills the vacuum left by Queen’s flamboyant and crowd pleasing lead singer the late Freddie Mercury?
“It’s my dream incase I’ll be invited (by the members of the band). But he (Mercury) is irreplaceable,” quipped by Michael “Mitoy” Yonting, whose meteoric rise to national fame was when he won the franchised “Voice of the Philippines” musical contest at TV station ABS –CBN.
Mercury and Yonting shared a powerful tenor voice.
Yonting was ambivalent in his answer when told by this paper that he can belt the songs written by Mercury compared to his (Mercury) wannabes Paul Rodgers and Adam Lambert who joined the remaining members of one of the world’s famous rock bands Brian May (lead guitarist) and Roger Taylor (drum).
“Ano iyon, irreplaceable iyong ta-ong iyon. Hindi hindi, basta ano na lang dream ko iyong kung sakaling invite nila ako. Pero irreplaceable si Freddie Mercury! (I mean, Mercury is irreplaceable. No, no, but you know it’s my dream incase I’ll be invited by Queen. But remember Freddie Mercury is a legend),” Yonting was here when he was invited by the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s regional office based here to entertain for free the guests and visitors of the tax agency’s tax drives “I love the Philippines I Pay my Taxes Right”
Yonting, a resident of this burgeoning town, said he is presently recording his album that will be released to the public in April this year.
|Queen's lead singer the flamboyant Freddie|
The fancy for Yonting in egging him to try his luck with the British rock band was conceived when some hard and progressive rock fans and balladeers here led by Ryan Orbon compared the singing prowess of Rodgers who sang with Queens from years 2004 to 2009, Adams who sings with the band from 2012 to 2013, and Yonting at YouTube where the trio crooned the songs of Queen.
In that YouTube video, Rodgers, Adams, and Yonting sang “Bohemian Rhapsody” at London, “We Will Rock You” at Ukraine, and “Don’t Stop me Now” at the Voice of the Philippines at ABS-CBN, respectively.
“Tingnan niyo si Mitoy "Don't Stop me Now" ng Queen. Compare niyo, mas mataas ang range ng voice niya kena Rodgers and Lambert. kung si Freddie Mercury ang range ng vocal niya is "10" si Rodgers "6.5" sa labnaw. Si Lambert "7" si Mitoy "9", you listen and check them to see (Look at Mitoy's "Don't Stop Me Now". Compares his soprano high voice to Rodgers and Lambert. If Freddie Mercury's voice range is "10", Rodgers' is "6.5" low, Lambert is "7", Mitoy got a high of "9". You listen and check them to see),” Orbon told rock fanatics in Pangasinan.
Click to watch and listen how the voice of Paul Rodgers fares.
Click to watch and listen how the voice of Adam Lambert fares.
“Although Mercury's speaking voice naturally fell in the baritone range, he delivered most songs in the tenor range. His vocal range extended from bass low F (F2) to soprano high F (F6). He could belt up to tenor high F (F5). Biographer David Bret described his voice as "escalating within a few bars from a deep, throaty rock-growl to tender, vibrant tenor, then on to a high-pitched, perfect coloratura, pure and crystalline in the upper reaches," Wikipidia cited.
Compare how the range of the voices of Rodgers and Lambert fare to Yonting.
Mercury was known for his prowess on composing distinctive layered sound that either features long complex instrumental passages, or fantasy-themed lyrics like Somebody to Love and Seven Seas of Rye.
The English musical virtuoso died of bronchopneumonia brought by AIDS ON November 24, 1991, only one day after publicly acknowledging that he had the disease.
According to Wikipidia the band had released a total of 18 number one albums, 18 number one singles, and 10 number one DVDs. Estimates of their album sales generally range from 150 million to 300 million albums, making them one of the world's best-selling music artists. They received the Outstanding Contribution to British Music Award from the British Phonographic Industry in 1990, and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.
“One of Mercury's most notable performances with Queen took place at Live Aid in 1985, during which the entire stadium audience of 72,000 people clapped, sang and swayed in unison. Queen's performance at the event has since been voted by a group of music executives as the greatest live performance in the history of rock music. The results were aired on a television program called "The World's Greatest Gigs". In reviewing Live Aid in 2005, one critic wrote, "Those who compile lists of Great Rock Front men and award the top spots to Mick Jagger, Robert Plant, etc all are guilty of a terrible oversight. Freddie, as evidenced by his Dionysian Live Aid performance, was easily the most godlike of them all," Wikipidea stressed.
Yonting, on the other hand, was discovered when he won the 1990s televised singing competition Ikaw at Echo segment of Eat Bulaga, a noontime variety show, on GMA Network where he competed as the voice-a-like of Air Supply's Russel Hitchcock. Though he did not win the title, he gained popularity. In 1997, he and his brother, Mylo Yonting, formed a band called 'The Draybers' and joined Rockstar: Bakit?, a sing-alike television show.
Through his television appearances, Yonting pursued a career as a comedian in GMA Network's sitcom called the Ful Haus, and the comedy sketch show H3O: Ha Ha Ha Over aired on QTV. He later on became a regular host in Eat Bulaga. This stint, however, was short lived and he decided to go back in his band.
Later on he travelled abroad with his band. They travelled around several countries around the world, such Japan where he met her wife from Barangay (Village) Lasip here, to play for various Filipino communities. By late 2011, the band came back to Manila and performed in Resorts World Manila.
But because of some unforeseen event he was seen here working in some menial jobs until he landed a regular singing stint with his band Drayber at Silverio’s Restaurant in the nearby city of Dagupan.
His world change when he won “The Voice” under the coaching of Filipino international singing star Lea Salongga
“Naka patong pa rin ang pa-a ko sa lupa (My feet are still on the ground),” when Kevin Macanlalay, this town administrative officer and the brother of the mayor here, asked him what it feels winning the P2million (U.S$4,444.00) pot money at the national TV.
Macanlalay said that before Yonting became famous people usually see him as he did his regular marketing in the morning in the wet market here.
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