THRILLMAKER: Introducing the Corona diva

Published January 24, 2021, 7:20 AM

by Joee Guilas

Julia Serad

Someone once said: “Out of adversity comes opportunity.”  This is probably the wisdom behind the success now being enjoyed by up-and-coming performer Julia Serad whose stock as an entertainer shot up, quite unexpectedly, at the height of the Coronavirus Pandemic.

While other live performers have been sidelined by the restrictions the government imposed on live shows and events, 24-year old Serad is presently raking in fans and big bucks by being one of the frontliners of the Live On-Request Virtual Entertainment (LOVE) Project, an online talent booking platform that allows end-users direct access to entertainers for virtual live performances.

A total performer whose vocal range and stage presence can match the world’s best of the best she’s got the qualities that truly spell DIVA.  Very recently, she got a taste of the royal life when she shared the stage with some of the country’s biggest names in pop music, Morrisette, Jona and Jed Madela, during Resorts World Manila’s Grand Countdown to 2021 show: “Who would have thought that I’d be sharing the stage with them? I never really expected anything like that.  It was all like a dream,” she said.

Things coming to her unexpectedly seems to be a repetitive theme in this artist’s journey as a performer.  She started her love affair with singing during her 5th grade, when her cousin asked her to be accompanied in an audition for a singing competition in school.  She ended up being convinced to audition as well, and later on, won the competition—even with no formal music training.

That experience gave her enough confidence to join more singing contests, including the Star of Davao search in 2013, where she emerged second runner up.  From the provincials, she took on a leap of faith and joined two other singers in a group called “ZALIA,” in representing the country in the World Championship Of Performing Arts, (WCOPA), from which they brough home 5 gold medals and 2 division championships.  It was at this point, when she decided to try her luck in Manila and go solo.

“It was a struggle making my own name in the big city.  I didn’t know na magiging ganoon pala kahirap.  I had to keep on reminding myself that my time will come, if I don’t lose my spark as a performer,” she admitted.

Then her big break came, again, unexpectedly.  One of her friends told her that auditions are being held for performers in Resorts World Manila.  She came along, not knowing that the auditions were only for male performers that day.   

“When I got there, sabi nung mga nagpapa-audition, sige mag-audition ka na rin,” she narrated.  She ended up getting the lead in two productions: Iconic 80s and Motown Funk.

What she thought as the real start of her ascent in the entertainment industry was, however, cut short by the pandemic.  All live performances had to be halted the moment the country was put under quarantine restrictions.

“Ang hirap.  Alam mo yung feeling na kinuha sa ‘yo yung gustong-gusto mo, tapos wala kang magawa. Hindi lang yung kawalan ng pera, pero yung passion mo kinuha.  Bumaba lahat.  Nahirapan akong hanapin ang sarili ko at that time.  Nagdilim lahat,” she sadly recalled.

Of course, the introduction of the LOVE Project in the middle of last year changed all that.  More than getting the rewards of being among the most highly-booked virtual performers, she finds performing in a more personal setting truly rewarding.

“Mid-December may nag-book na pakantahin sa birthday ng late dad nila/  They asked me to sing his favorite song.  When I started singing, first line pa lang, umiiyak na sila.  I had a hard time controlling myself from crying.  I switched my settings to see myself lang.  I find it fulfilling touching people that way,” she shared. 

Given the breaks she has gotten coming out of the pandemic, she can very well lay claim to the title, “The Corona Diva,” and for a sampling and an appreciation of what this most promising talent can do, people may check out her cover of the Freddie Aguilar classic “Anak,” which can be seen via the STEEG channel on Youtube.

“Singing the song made me realize that it is not just for me but for all the anaks in the world.   I have not been the perfect anak to my parents but at the end of the day, I know that it is them that I’ll always come back to,” she said.