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Jan Nato    April Rose Llave: 11-year-old singing sensation
When I sat down with April, she told me that her favourite singer is Céline Dion. I knew that the interview would go very well; she was my favourite singer, too, when I was younger. I watched a YouTube video of April singing the Shirley Bassey song, Diamonds are Forever, from the James Bond movie of the same title, and I swear, she sounds much older and very advanced for her eleven years.

April Rose Llave 
As a fellow singer, I was very excited to hear about the singing technique she uses to create that glorious, rich sound. She said right away, “Never eat chocolate and ice cream [before you sing].” The dairy and sugar content of these foods will dry out your throat. She adds, “Drink eight glasses of water before you perform.” “Breath in through your nose and out through your mouth,” she continues, “Don’t breathe with your chest, but to your diaphragm.” I knew I was speaking with a well-versed singer when she said, “Use your mix.” She says that the sound “vibrates in your cheeks and nose.” She assures fellow musicians that “this feeling is normal.”

April tells me that she practices two to three times a day for about a half an hour to an hour each time, which, admittedly, is more time than I spend. She is also studying harmony theory with Wendy Cameron of VIGCOR.

I was amazed to hear that April is also a singing teacher. She teaches at VIGCOR Music Studio and some of her students are older than she. I asked her if this scares her and she said, “No, because they listen to me.” She tells me that she teaches them “how to use your diaphragm, your head voice and your falsetto. How to control [your voice] when you’re singing.”

 April Rose Llave
I know for a fact that singers will often have magic potions and concoctions that they will use if they’re feeling even slightly under the weather. “Drink salabat!” April told me. I did not understand, and her mom, Rose Llave, laughed and said, “It’s ginger.” April says she also drinks orange juice.

Her considerable knowledge and vocal skill has already reaped awards, especially for her young age. Most recently, April headlined a VIGCOR Music Studio fundraising concert for the Philippine Canadian Centre of Manitoba. She has taken part in the Tuklas Talino and the YTV’s Karaoke Star Jr. competitions; she reached the finalist and semi-finalist levels, respectively, in these competitions. For the Tuklas Talino competition, she sang songs by her favourite singer, Céline Dion.

We talked about why Céline Dion is her favourite singer, “[It’s] how she does high notes, how she projects.” she says, “She makes the diaphragm work easy.” When I asked her to pick a favourite Céline song, she said, “Basically, every song that she sings.”

Apart from singing, April dances as a member of the Kayumanggi dance group. “I like tinikling a lot. [Dancing] helps a lot with gracefulness.” She also had the opportunity to sing at the Folklorama pavilion last year. She sang, Isang Lahi. I, in my excitement about really old Filipino songs, recommended that she learn Bayan Ko, and Sa Ugoy Ng Duyan. I hope that one day she will learn these beautiful Filipino songs.

Despite all the excitement of the world of music, her mom always reminds her of the importance of education. “April, it sounds like you have no interest in school,” mom Rose joked as we continued to talk about singing. April tells me her favourite subject in school is art and her favourite book is City of Ember by Jeanne Duprau.

I could tell by our short conversation that April has a bright future ahead of her. She wants to thank “[her] family, her lolo at lola, all the people who came to the [VIGCOR] concert, the people who support [her], VIGCOR Music Studio, Mr. and Mrs. Rudy Baris, and Melanie Baltero-Cruz.”

We here at Pilipino Express will be sure to keep an eye on this rising star.


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