American singer Rex Smith first came to the Philippines in the year 2000, and 23 years later, he's elated that his music continues to resonate with Filipinos.
He fondly remembers the first visit to Manila. "Two hours into my flight with Philippine Airlines, the stewardess started singing 'And I don't know how I knew it,' and the whole plane - front and back - were singing in reply '… but I knew it somehow," the enduring singer of the 1979 hit "Simply Jessie" recalled.
"The Philippines is the most musical nation in the world. There's a double helping of joy in my heart that I've not only been accepted, but embraced here. My music is interwoven in the fabric of the Philippines in its own way. There's a part of my heart here and I'm so glad to be back," said Rex, who will be doing a one-night concert at the Grand Ballroom of the Winford Resort & Casino Manila on Wednesday, Feb. 22.
The concert will be held in cooperation with the Philippine Marketing Association and International Council for Small Business. Performing with Rex are award-winning local singers JV Decena and Joaquin Garcia.
It's a given in any concert of Rex that he will sing his other well-loved hits like "Forever," "You Take My Breath Away," and "Let's Make A Memory." But he's also expected to pull out some surprises. After all, he started in the industry as a rock artist.
"I love singing ballads but you'll find out in my concert when I perform here that I have really fun uptempo music because I love to get the audience involved.I love to get some swooning and reminiscing on love and such but I also love to see them (audience) just having a boring good time," he noted.
Rex has been in showbiz for five decades. He's 67 now. His internet bio lists him as one of the sought-after teen idol of the 1970s, and his acting debut was in the hit musical "Grease."
If given the chance to be in a musical again, he said he would like to collaborate with Lea Salonga. "We could probably do the Sound of Music together," he remarked.
Rex is full of anecdotes about how he started "working hard for years, playing in clubs without a day off, moving from city to city." He advises young people to ""pursue your passions and stick to it."
"These days, I'm dismayed to see people just glued to their phones. This world is given to us as a gift from God for us to enjoy. Phones and gadgets are a sneaky little thing. I encourage young people to talk to each other, relate to each other. That's where we learn to grow and how society grows."
He added that he's stayed long in the industry because he kept clean and healthy.
"Just remember, you are the Ferrari, so put the best fuel you can. Be cautious. What you eat is the biggest secret and it's not that hard. The other thing is that my intent has always been for my family. Family first. Be humble, be good to yourself and work out," Rex advised.
(Tickets to the concert dubbed Rex Smith "Let's Make a memory" LIVE are now available for P2500 (VIP) and P2000 (Deluxe). For more information, contact Winford Resort & Casino Manila at (02) 8 528 3600.