The Valencianos were recently blessed with the arrival of their newest member—Luciano Mikael, or “Luch” Godinez Valenciano.
Luch was born last Feb. 3 at 9 AM to concert and event director Paolo Valenciano—eldest son of Mr. Pure Energy Gary Valenciano—and his wife, content creator Samantha Godinez. Weighing in at 7.08 pounds, Luch is the couple’s second child, after six-year-old Nataleia Martine, or “Leia.”
Paolo says the last few months were challenging for him and Sam. Good thing they had each other. As the saying goes, behind every successful man is a strong woman—and Paolo is beyond grateful for his wife’s strength.
“Things were tough for us,” he says seriously. “On one hand, we had been praying for a new baby for a while, and we’re so happy our prayers were finally answered. On the other hand, like everyone else, we’re still bouncing back from the pandemic. Balancing your personal and work lives in times like this is difficult. There are a lot of things I wish I had handled better. Good thing Sam is who she is.”
Buoyed by his family’s support, Paolo helmed some of 2022’s biggest and most well-attended events, many of which took place in the last quarter of the year. Paolo was behind Sponge Cola’s anniversary show on December 14, Ben&Ben’s homecoming concert on Dec. 18, and the Eraserheads reunion on Dec. 22.
“After a tough first quarter, our year ended strong with three major events. The Eraserheads show felt unreal. I told the production that all our hardships and triumphs as freelancers in the industry and our individual experiences led us to this moment. It was our chance to showcase what we could do. I honestly feel like we, as a team, graduated from something. I can’t explain how fulfilling it was to be part of something like that. Seeing how far people were willing to go to support those artists was amazing in itself. I’m just glad I got to be a part of it.”
Paolo is considered one of the industry’s most in-demand directors these days. But directing wasn’t always what he wanted to do when he was younger. It took him much soul-searching to figure out his true path in life.
“I wanted to be a performer,” he says of his childhood ambitions. “But when it came to my own skill as a singer, I always felt like something was missing. I couldn’t be completely confident onstage due to that. It wasn’t until Stages asked me to direct a corporate event that I realized I was meant to be behind the scenes. I had many ideas I could finally execute by letting other artists stand in the middle. So I became a director.”
Paolo has worked with the who’s who of the local entertainment scene. His resume includes concerts by a variety of bands and solo artists. But Paolo’s most comfortable working with his father because Gary trusts him completely.
“It’s much easier to direct an artist who trusts your vision. Besides, I learned almost everything I know from watching his concerts. When I present something to him, it’s natural and organic because it was inspired by him to begin with. Everything I’ve done has always had a bit of ‘Gary V’ in it.”
He hasn’t ruled out a return to the stage, but only for special occasions. “I might do a few gigs here and there, but I honestly don’t know if I could fully come back as a singer. I’ve learned everything I needed to learn from that chapter of my life, and it’s something I don’t mind keeping in the past.”
It’s understandable that Paolo wants to keep the past where it is. After all, he has a bright future ahead. Not only is the live events industry thriving in a post-pandemic world, but the proud papa is eager to spend some time with his family, especially their newest arrival.
“Last year was a roller coaster ride. We had some of our biggest and most successful shows, but we also had some of our biggest flops. It was an eye-opener for many of us,” says Paolo. “Being able to direct those massive shows means I’ve reached a high point in my career, but I also think it’s time to move on to smaller, more controlled environments. I’m praying for a better work-life balance in 2023, so I can spend time with my new son.”