Paolo Santos is a well-renowned acoustic musician in the Philippines, even though the lifespan of a musician in the country is relatively short.
But, playing music was just a “hobby that turned into a career,” At one point, he had to balance his life in the corporate world and his hobby. Then, his music banged.
In his own words, “I wasn’t ready.”
Kick-Start Coffee Brewed Awakening aired another lively episode on Monday, with Paolo Santos providing the perfect way to begin the week. He looked back at how he started in the local music scene.
“What happened was I was working a corporate life, minding my own business, and earning just enough. As a hobby, I’ve always been a lover of music for the longest time. Not playing, not singing, just listening to it. I grew up listening to all sorts of music from all genres. There was no discrimination. I was, at a very early age, exposed to all kinds of music because our family, even if they are not musicians, they’re all lovers of music,” he shared.
“As a hobby, I picked up the guitar then decided to some songs,” Santos added.
How did Santos’ music career start?
It’s more of the question of where and it started at a bar after a good friend of Santos told him that there was a bar in Ortigas willing to give them free beers in exchange for Santos playing the guitar.
As host Migs Bustos joked, “It wasn’t that bad,”
That deal turned out to be the starting point of Santos’s new life.
“In a span of three months, the very small venue here in Ortigas got crowded. It was like ‘we haven’t heard something like that in a long, long time,’ Eventually, people from other bars, the bar owners were offering me, ‘Why do you play at my place?’ I wasn’t paid at the venue where I was playing so, I asked permission, and then they said, ‘Don’t leave because we will pay you,'” he explained.
At that time, Santos was paid P800 to play 40 songs on weekends. And it didn’t stop there.
“The other bar owners still wanted to get me on another day, even if it’s not on a weekend. The next thing you know, I’m playing almost every day and working at the same time from 9 to 5. So, I had to choose,” he revealed.
Santos did leave his corporate life and focused on his music for a year. Income-wise, he was doing fine back then. “The income more than what I’m earning in the office,” he said.
But what helped him kick-start his career as a musician happened he returned home after staying in the United States for a while. “When I got back, I played at this wedding where the godfather was Joe D’ Mango. What he knew was that I was recorded because I was hidden. I was just background music at the wedding.
When he found out that it was live, he asked for an appointment the following Monday. He said, ‘Why don’t we work together? I’ll give you a platform, and you can perform live,'” Santos explained.
It was a boom from that point, but the thing was, he wasn’t ready for the success that came with it. And that’s the thing: nobody will ever be.