Listeners of Jam 88.3 are most likely familiar with radio DJ Jobim Javier’s refreshingly vibrant voice, witty banter, and funny antics in his radio show Rude Awakenings (Monday to Thursday 6 a.m. to 9 a.m.). But as it turns out, there’s more to this guy than meets the ear, as can be noted in his recent foray in musical theater. He stars in Eto Na! Musikal nAPO! as Butch, the campus barkada/playboy who falls in love with a girl who Jobim describes as “much like my crush in high school, who had a boyfriend. So I played that role really well.” Jobim is the son of Danny Javier, one-third of the country’s legendary singing-songwriting trio, APO Hiking Society.
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In the musical, now on its second run, Javier showcases his gift in singing and acting, and his explosive “hip thrusts.” His dad is, of course, supportive of this career move. “He gave me one advice: ‘Don’t be the reason that they have to change anything.’ It’s a brilliant bit of advice. Unfortunately, I did not take it. My dancing was so horrible at the start of last year’s rehearsals. Our choreographer, PJ Rebullida, worked with me for the entire day on my choreographed numbers; I just wasn’t getting it. I practiced it at home that night, and next day I came in and said, ‘PJ, I’m ready, I’ve learned your moves.’ And PJ said, ‘[Director] Robbie [Guevarra] and I talked—your dances are no longer choreographed. You just have to play around onstage, and that’s what you see in the play. It’s my ineptitude at dancing,” he says, poking fun at himself.
Eto Na! Musikal nAPO! is his first performance in front of an audience after his college band, Milagro, disbanded. Asked why he decided to dabble in theater only recently, Javier admits he never thought that a career in theater was something he could pull off. “But when I heard that there was an APO musical coming up, how could I not want to join?” he quips.
Javier is well aware of the talks about people wanting to produce an APO musical, particularly when Kami nAPO Muna, the revival compilation, came out. “But I don’t think the three of them [Danny, Jim Paredes, and Boboy Garovillo] were ever happy with any of the scripts that they have gotten,” Javier recalls. “So when Robbie and Nine Works approached them with this script, they worked it out, they finally had something they want to move forward with.”
It’s been so much fun, the theater greenhorn admits. “As cliché as it sounds, it has opened up so many doors for me. It has put me in a better place just knowing that I can do this kind of thing. Since my college band, I haven’t really gotten to perform in front of an audience. It’s just so empowering. To hear their reactions, to know that you’ve made 500 people happy in one show is a great feeling,” he says.
While Javier is enjoying his deejaying career—his way of helping out talented musicians—Javier admits that he plans to make music again once he’s done with his theater commitments. He thinks that he doesn’t have the mold of a movie star because he’s “a foot and a half too short and don’t have abs,” but he thinks he has a place in theater.
His father’s son
How he developed his love for music has been organic, as he lives in a household that eats, breathes, and sleeps music. “I remember growing up, our dad taught us to sing different parts of the song “Respect” R-E-S-P-E-C-T (sings). We also watched The Sound of Music, so we say goodnight to our parents in harmony “Goodnight…” (sings).”
His father’s tastes in music definitely rubbed off on him, too. He shares, “I would not be listening to Al Jarreau, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young if not for my dad. Paul Simon’s solo effort when he sang “You can call me Al”—my dad loves that album. I wouldn’t say we have similar tastes in music because I listen to a lot of things that he doesn’t, but his taste in music definitely affected the kind of stuff that I listen to today.”
His choice varies from week to week—from Frank Sinatra to Bruno Mars to Stevie Wonder—depending on whatever he’s feeling. But one thing’s for sure, “Music is my life. I wake up in the morning and I look for new songs. It’s part of my four things that I need to function properly as a human being—proper rest, proper diet, exercise, and good music. If I don’t get the good music, I’m cranky.”
The APO songs have been a part his life, too, because as Javier puts it, “there is an APO song for every occasion.” Back in the day, he guested in a father-child episode of the show Sharon, and he was asked to sing an APO song. “Knowing that this will be broadcasted live on TV and that the girl I had a crush on could be watching it, I sang “Mahirap Magmahal ng Syota ng Iba,” knowing that she knew that I liked her. It turns out she did see it, she eventually became my girlfriend. Thank you, Dad!”
Javier admits that aside from his love for music, something else is very Danny Javier about him: “I’d say bastos, but my dad would kill me. Aside from being bastos, I think it’s that I’m irreverent. My dad will sometimes offend people just for the sake of offending people, just because he thinks it’s funny. He knows that we have a limited time on this earth. The only person you have to please is yourself. I mean, it’s one thing to be a nice person, but it’s also another thing to be bored. And I think that’s the one thing we have in common is that we ruffle people’s feathers for fun. I learned from the best,” he laughs.
Style, soufflés, and Star Wars
More fun with Javier in his Q&A:
What are your other interests other than music?
I love to cook. The only problem is, I like to cook expensive stuff that I see on TV. They don’t have those ingredients here! I have to go to a special grocery for the special thing.
What cooking shows do you follow?
Just stuff online or on TV. When I see them cooking, “I can do that!” The thing is, in those shows, they usually cook for a family, like in the Barefoot Contessa. She’d whip up something for clients coming over for lunch, or who’d need to feed a family for the next three days. I end up spending way more, than if I went out to eat.
What have you cooked so far?
Do you have a most requested dish?
Mushroom risotto—that is my go-to food! I love it because it has complex flavors, it uses a little red wine, so it’s a little naughty. It takes a long while to cook—if you’ll really do risotto right, it will take you a whole afternoon. That’s my favorite because it shows love and care and it tastes delicious.
Do you collect anything?
I collect Star Wars memorabilia. Anything Star Wars, I have.
What’s your style?
My fashion sense is… what I was given for Christmas last Christmas. So all the clothes that I wear for 2019 are clothes that I have received in Christmas of 2018.
Wow, you get a lot of Christmas gifts!
No, that is why I wear the same three outfits all throughout the year! I wear what I feel comfortable in. I don’t really consider myself a fashion-forward guy—just sneakers, old jeans, and a sweater.
What was your earliest ambition in life?
This is true: I wanted to be a garbage man. I came home one day, I was about 5 years old, and blurted out: “Mama, papa, I’m going to be a basurero.” And they laughed their asses off. I was like, “How dare you! That is a noble profession.” I found out that in the United States, garbage collectors make a lot of money. So I was thinking, I get to help the planet and I get to make a lot of money, and that’s a great job. Then I realized, it’s not the same here. Screw that!
Is your birthday April 1?
Nah, it’s October 28. It’s close to Halloween, which explains the face—I look terrifying. We put the “boo” in Maboohay.
What would you like to own that you don’t currently possess?
Height. I’d like to add a good one foot to my 5’6” frame.
Are you into any kind of sports?
My sports are martial arts. I love boxing, MMA, Muay Thai. I’ve been boxing since I was 15. I have been into Muay Thai for five years now. I rarely ever miss UFC or Bellator or ONE Championship fights on TV, or I download it, if I miss it.
What can people look forward to in Eto Na! Musikal Na Po?
My hip thrusting. I don’t dance very well, but I can gyrate like you’ve never seen.
I witnessed that earlier during rehearsals.
That was nothing! That was a rehearsal-gyrate. I don’t do the real thing unless I’m getting paid. If you like crotch in your face, this is the play for you.
Photographs by Romeo Peralta, Jr.