Being onscreen may have been their ticket to fame, with all of them making waves on television and movies. But for James Reid, Nadine Lustre, Bret Jackson, Alexander Diaz, and Ivan Dorschner, their careers do not just revolve around portraying characters and displaying their acting chops. They have made it a point to put music and art at the forefront no matter what it takes.
“It’s my passion, really. It’s what I love doing,” James says of music. His girlfriend and love team partner Nadine tells Inside Showbiz Exclusives, “I started out with performing talaga. I was in a girl group (Pop Girls). And that’s what I love. The feeling that I get from performing is so much different from what I get when I’m acting. And I like the energy in performing better.”
The JaDine tandem did not just soar on the big and small screens; the pair was also a force to reckon with in the concert scene and recording industry. Despite their busy schedules, the couple continues to make music. “We find a way to make it work,” notes James. Nadine shares, “We always try to find a way. But it’s so hard ’cause I’m working on movies now so it’s hard to squeeze in time. Especially for me, I’m always tired. When I’m at home, I just wanna chill. It’s hard for me to get into that creative space.”
James adds, “I think the hardest part about music is that, well, with acting, you have a director, co-actors, producers, and scriptwriters to make a movie. But with music, it’s something very personal that you need to get in that creative space. It’s not something that you can just like, throw in. It takes time.”
James’ best friend and fellow Pinoy Big Brother: Teen Clash 2010 housemate Bret states, “I’ve always wanted to do music ever since I was young. I started writing songs at 14. And you know, I did a lot of the acting stuff because I had to take care of my family. But now, I’m in a more comfortable position. I don’t have to do that stuff anymore so I get to focus on music which I’ve always wanted to do.”
What makes things more exciting for our cover stars is that they are working on a passion project which is Cinco de Mayhem. The music and arts festival slated on May 4, 2019 at the Vista Mall Daang Hari Open Grounds features Careless Music Manila artists James, Nadine, KINGwAw (Jackson), Astrokidd, Curtismith, Massiah, and Sofia Romualdez. Completing the lineup are Kiana Valenciano, Quest, Divine Smith, DJ Euric, Nix Damn P, and Deuce. Meanwhile, Alex and Ivan are part of the organizing team together with Pro Media Productions.
“I’ve been doing content and I’ve been doing my music, and I also wanted to branch out. I didn’t want to be confined to showbiz—acting and performing. Naisipan ko rin mag-branch out, to learn din, to get some experience,” says Alexander who is also the Creative Director for Cinco de Mayhem. The Star Circle 2013 member delves on his Mexican concept: “We were thinking about Labor Day, nawala na ‘yung sa Boracay kasi they rehabilitated it and we were thinking, ‘Ano ba ‘yung hindi pa nagagawa sa Philippines?’ We’ve never really had a festival dedicated to Cinco de Mayo.”
Alexander, 24, continues, “I wanted to make it a very accurate slice of this other culture which is closely related to our culture. And throughout history, Mexico and the Philippines have entangled in so many ways. Our cultures have enriched one another, diba? So that’s why I wanted to make a Mexican cultural festival.”
Ivan, who was also with James and Bret in PBB: Teen Clash 2010, shares: “I saw Cinco de Mayhem start from tabletop meetings. We thought of how we can create an experience that would achieve an immersive, kind of like resonating feeling afterwards. The regular music festival is just like they get top-billed artists. And it’s pretty much you go there, and you pay for overpriced drinks, you pay for overpriced whatever. Like you don’t get much besides what you pay for kaya ‘yun ang gusto naming i-present because iba ‘yung parang na-transport ka sa wala sa nakasanayan mo.”
The festive feel of the event is made even brighter by the close-knit friendships of the performers and organizers. Even during their cover shoot, it felt like the young celebrities were just hanging out. In between takes, they would check on each other. In other instances, they would burst into laughter. Nadine even prepared a playlist for the shoot, and this made the set atmosphere more enjoyable because of the Latin beats.
James, 25, remarks, “We’re just excited for the big party. It’s gonna be really fun” and Nadine echoes, “It’s a thematic kind of party so I think it’s gonna be the first ever, and I’m really excited. Almost all our friends are gonna be there so I know that’s gonna be really fun.” Bret, 28, also cannot contain his excitement about collaborating with friends whom he met around seven to nine years ago.
Alexander discloses, “I just remember being younger with James and Bret and yeah, even Nadine and Kiana, but more with Bret and James. We used to be on a beach, nung wala pang Careless Music. Nagsimula ‘yung Careless sa isang joke lang namin na ‘pag masyadong lasing na, ‘Parang ang careless mo naman.’ And we would just talk about like, ‘One day, we’re gonna make it and we’re gonna do our own thing.’ So, to have them as my headliners, my best friends, my barkada, it’s a really good feeling. Parang sabay-sabay tayo aangat.”
Ivan still finds it hard to get used to collaborating with friends. “It’s weird. Are we working? Siguro ‘yun ‘yung pinaka-challenge namin. Is this really work?” He then cites the pros of working with friends. “We’re giving each other goals and we’re helping them reach those goals. It’s more like hindi nalang kami nag-uusap bilang friends, it’s more like becoming a team. There’s a little bit of pressure but there’s also excitement because it’s a new side of our friendship that we’re exploring.”
Despite having friends onboard the Cinco de Mayhem lineup, Alexander shares that he has also faced challenges as the event’s creative director and co-head of operations. He had to deal with time constraints and scale down his visions. “We’re going through every single department to make sure it comes together. From reaching out to sponsors, to stage and venue, lights and sounds, the program flow, to our artists. Sobrang napaka-humbling ‘yung feeling na andito ako sa other side kasi it really makes me respect just how much effort it takes to do operations.”
Alexander, who is at the helm of a huge event for the first time, declares: “I’ve fallen in love with the whole [industry of] events.” He even teases that there are more events on the way. As for Ivan, he points out that he is still learning how things work behind the scenes. “Ganun pa rin siya para sa akin because you’re still creating. I’ve never really thought that my craft starts and ends in front of the camera. It never is like that. We also have homework. We also have to research because if you arrive on set na hindi prepared, makikita din ‘yun ng camera, creative team, katrabaho mo, at ng audience.”
Ivan adds, “I still have the same creative methods and structures that I put my ideas through. Lahat ng dinadaanan kong creative processes, ganun pa rin. But it’s also fun. It’s a different kind of fun dahil it’s a different art form. It really is. It’s very immersive and there are different facets. It’s always like we want to use all our creativity in all the ways possible. So, this is me doing that.”
James, Nadine, and Bret also put their musicality and artistry to even better use. Behind the glitz and glamour of releasing songs, filming music videos, and staging concerts (Careless Music Manila has opened for Khalid and A$AP Rocky), James provides an answer to why he continues to thrive in the music scene. “It’s an aspect of the showbiz industry that I think I can really help improve so it’s more than just making music for me. I really wanna make a difference with Careless Music,” explains James, the record label’s CEO.
He goes on, “I think our songs have different themes all the time. They always have different messages. Sometimes, they’re just fun. There’s no real deep meaning. But I think the main point of it all is there’s so many different artists and we want to help change mainstream music. Our goal, our message at Careless is really to give artists a platform to get their music heard here and out of the country, too. There are so many artists in the Philippines that aren’t given a shot. This is what I want in Careless. That’s really what the message is.”
Nadine adds to that, “We want to inspire them to keep working on themselves. We just really wanna help them put out their music. And to other people na rin who wanna put out the stuff that they do, we wanna help them be creative.” Bret describes their Careless label: “It’s run by artists for artists. So, it’s really artist-friendly. I mean the underground scene is amazing in the Philippines. There’s a lot of that already but in our mainstream, there are a lot of people who don’t get to do exactly what they want to do. So, we’re just trying to change that.”
Bret brings up his recent trip to Visayas and Mindanao to scout for artists. “I really believe in the talent out there and there’s never enough spotlight that’s given to them. I just wanna maybe open doors for artists that don’t usually get the opportunity. And I’m just lucky enough that I’m in a position to be in such a label that gives me the support to do those things. The trip was amazing ‘cause what I heard was, ‘You guys are the first people that came out here to try to help.’ I don’t know if it upset me, but it was just like it’s about time, I guess.”
Alexander Diaz, Bret Jackson, and Ivan Dorschner’s Hair and Makeup by Maquillage Professionel (Ruby Anne Rebucas and Jessica Joshua) | Nadine Lustre’s Makeup by Jelly Eugenio | Nadine Lustre’s Hair by Mark Rosales | James Reid’s Grooming by Mac Igarta | Associate Publisher Walter de Jesus | Publisher Archie Carrasco | Special Thanks To ProMedia
The Cinco de Mayhem Music Festival will be held on May 4, 2019 at Vista Mall Daang Hari Open Grounds, Daang Hari, Bacoor, Cavite. Tickets priced at P3,500 (VVIP), P2,000 (VIP), and P950 (Gen. Ad.) are now available. For more information and inquiries, visit Cinco de Mayhem’s official website, www.cincodemayhem.com. Like and follow Cinco de Mayhem’s official social media pages on Facebook and Instagram (@cincodemayhemph) for real-time updates.