Raised on music

Philippines immigrant to represent Canada at world championships

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Jovelle Balani, who was born and raised in the Philippines, migrated to Canada in 2018. The avid music fan has a growing vinyl record collection, loves going to vintage stores and considers herself an old soul.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 07/02/2022 (189 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Jovelle Balani, who was born and raised in the Philippines, migrated to Canada in 2018. The avid music fan has a growing vinyl record collection, loves going to vintage stores and considers herself an old soul.

An only child, Balani immersed herself in every aspect of music from early on and quickly became a multi-instrumentalist, learning to play piano, guitar, ukulele, drums and violin. She began singing when she was seven and has been vocally trained since age 12.

“I remember jamming along to Carpenters as a kid. I discovered them through my dad’s CD collection and have become a fan since then. I would play their songs over and over and do karaoke, too,” she says.

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Jovelle Balani, who moved to Canada in 2018, will represent Canada at the World Championships of Performing Arts for the second time, in Anaheim, Calif.

Balani was raised with music and her parents always encouraged her interest in pursuing it.

“One of my earliest musical memories was me carrying a Walkman when I was 4. I remember listening to the Beatles, the Sound of Music, to name a few. I fell in love with it. Fast forward to when I was 12, when I told my parents that I wanted to take voice lessons. And from there, I started joining inter-school talent competitions, performing in events and concerts.”

Balani will represent Canada at the World Championships of Performing Arts for the second time, in Anaheim, Calif. The annual event presented by Worldstars features singers, dancers, jugglers and other artists for the judges and audience to experience.

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Jovelle Balani is working on a cover of a classic song that she looks forward to releasing soon and is planning to work on an EP this summer.

The international gathering is often called the “talent Olympics” for aspiring performers and entertainers, and the only event of its kind held annually in the Hollywood area, the entertainment capital of the world.

Griff O’Neil, competition CEO and a former executive of the Miss Universe Pageant, said in a news release that, “Contestants from over 60 countries are expected to participate, vying for the gold plus prizes, cash and a total of half a million dollars in scholarships. Thousands of people around the world will apply to participate.”

A popular highlight of the festivities is the spectacular opening ceremony, featuring a colourful Parade of Nations at Disneyland. The much-anticipated Worldstars Boot Camp is an unmatched phenomenon of educational seminars and workshops by industry experts. VIPs and celebrity entertainment industry greats from Hollywood, Nashville and New York have served as judges and been honoured with induction into the Performing Arts Hall of Fame at this global competition.

“Being a part of this event is truly an honour and to represent Canada is already a reward for me. My first WCOPA competition was held virtually due to COVID. It was kind of challenging, as I was just performing in front of a camera. Despite being virtual, it was still nerve-wracking, as there were thousands of talented people who joined the event. And I was lucky enough to be chosen as one of the Top 3 Finalists in the Vocal Category. It was an honour to bag gold and silver medals for the country,” Balani says.

“This year, I will be representing the country for the second time around. And I am hoping that it will be a live competition.”

Balani learned early on to sing both in Filipino and English, and some French, too. The singer writes many of her own songs and recently released her debut single, Ode to a Lover.

“I write from my own life experiences. As for the production, it is definitely inspired by jazz standards, which have a special place in my heart. One of my favourite things to do during my free time is listening to Nat King Cole. His songs fill me with so much warmth and magic. And I wanted my music to give off that kind of vibe, too. Some people would say my voice sounds like Christmas, or something that one would play in a jazz bar. It makes me so happy that my music transports them to a certain setting — it is always something I have aspired to as an artist. And I want my songs to be a source of comfort to others.”

Balani is working on a cover of a classic song that she looks forward to releasing soon and is planning to work on an EP this summer.

“If COVID dies down soon enough, I want to be more involved in the local music scene here in Winnipeg. I look forward to getting to know more talented musicians around the city as well as performing live.”

For the aspiring artists out there, Balani encourages them to follow their passion.

“Pursue what sets your soul on fire. Dedicating time to your chosen craft is so important. And it can take many forms — take a class, practice regularly, hang out with other artists, be creative with like-minded people. Never stop learning. There is always something new, something challenging, something that will help you grow not just as an artist, but also as a human being.”

To learn more about Balani and her work, find her on Facebook, Instagram, Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon or her Manitoba Music profile.

fpcity@freepress.mb.ca

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