Fil-Am saxophonist discovers Pinoy roots through music

Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Apr 29 2016 11:30 AM

TAMPA, Florida - Since Filipino-American Philip Mahoney learned to play the saxophone at the age of three, he never stopped playing at Filipino community events in the Orlando, Tampa Bay Area.

His dream was to become known as the Filipino counterpart of sax legend Kenny G.

When he turned 10, he made a goal to start a music career in his mother’s homeland, the Philippines.

"I kept doing it and I focused really on sharing my talent with the Filipino community. As time went on I grew to love Filipino music. That’s kind of where I’m making myself to learn Tagalog thru music," he said.

Four years ago, he packed his bags and a saxophone to try his luck in the Philippines. Mahoney met with multi-awarded songwriter and music producer Vehnee Saturno and was signed to Viva Records.

After shedding a few pounds and gaining a lot of confidence, he found himself recording a single called "Into the Sun" with pop star Princess Sarah Geronimo.

By January, 2014 the half-Filipino, half-Irish music artist launched his first album in the Philippines – self titled: "Philip Mahoney."

"I love it actually. I really miss the Philippines right now. It’s just the lifestyle there. I love the people. I love the food. There’s just a different feeling when you’re back there," he said.

Mahoney is back living in his hometown Orlando for now, promoting his album in the US.

Mahoney said no book or travel show could have ever taught him about his Filipino roots. To have lived and worked in the Philippines opened his eyes to a lot of things, especially poverty.

"Just seeing how people live day-to-day, I actually cried the first time I saw how it was. To be honest, I took things for granted living here in the States. The Philippines taught me how to be humble, how to be thankful to God for what we have, being simple. I don’t want to ask for anything more. I’m happy with what I have," he said.

Mahoney is still honing his Tagalog speaking skills but says he is proud of his first Tagalog single, "Naalala Kita," composed by music legend Saturno.

Mahoney is planning to bring his music to Filipinos across the US in a show tour that includes New York and New Jersey come September.

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