MANILA -- After 30 years in show business, Martin Nievera can truthfully say that singing is the only thing in his life that does not tire him.
"There are routines in your life that gets tiring sometimes, the everyday life, the hustle and bustle in trying to make ends meet. Even we entertainers go through that same struggle. As far as singing, I love it... I think I love it more now than ever before," he told Karen Davila during last Friday's "Headstart."
But it wasn't a smooth run for the country's "concert king," as he recounted a harrowing experience when he was in the US many years ago.
"At that time I thought I was worthless. I thought I was losing it so I came home, with my tail in between my legs... and nobody gave me a hard time here in the Philippines. They welcomed me back," he said.
"It was a humbling experience. The learning experience has made me a more grateful performer. Now there's no such thing as a small gig or a big gig, they're all equally important to me now whereas before I gave importance to that one pot of gold. I learned to appreciate the little things," he added.
At the same time, Nievera acknowledged that he is also more jaded, private and secretive now.
"In the beginning I was experimental... I wasn't afraid to fall as much as I am now. Now it's becoming scarier. You try different things, you see life pass you by," he admitted.
"As you get older in the business, you look at yourself and you're saying, 'How long is this going to last?' You savor every moment and as much as possible you try to save as much as you can for yourself. That's one I struggle with all the time," he said.
That's why he feels sad that the young stars these days don't seem to realize what they have.
"They have the social network, YouTube... we didn't have any of that. These kids... don't know how good they have it. They need to embrace their fame. They have to know it's temporary. You have to seize the moment as it comes to you. You cannot create it, you can't expect it, you cannot demand it, not anymore," he mused.
Nievera, who will have a Valentine concert with Regine Velasquez at the Mall of Asia Arena, boasted that can take a story and write a song about it, on the spot -- sometimes. He and songwriter partner Louie Ocampo have written songs on the spot, where they can take someone else's love story and make it their own.
"I think that's the magic part of my job... I get to be the soundtrack of your life, of your Valentine's, of your love story, of your break-up," he said.
But at the same time, he noted that he could be going through the a rough time in a relationship, "but we can't tell you about it."
"We have to sing instead about your struggles, your love story. Kayo muna," he noted.
According to Martin, it's easier for him to write when he's sad and to sing sad love songs.
"It's either because I've been there before or I can really pretend. If I'm happy, I can put myself in a sad place and I can sing that song," he said.