Jose Mari Chan given tribute CD by US artists

By Reyma Buan-Deveza,

Posted at Apr 15 2011 04:51 PM | Updated as of Apr 16 2011 12:51 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Music icon Jose Mari Chan again made history, this time as the first Filipino artist to be given a tribute CD by American singers and composers.

"The Manhattan Connection: The Songs of Jose Mari Chan" is the title of the tribute CD done by the American vocal music group The Manhattan Transfer.

In an interview during the press launching of the new CD, Chan said Janis Siegel of The Manhattan Transfer and international musician and music producer Yaron Gershovsky worked together for the CD, considered a special collector’s item.

"It's not me singing my song. I'm very happy and proud because this is the first time that a group of American artists--and not just any American artists--is singing my song," Chan said.

The music icon shared that the CD was conceptualized after his meeting with Siegel a few years ago.

"We started a conversation and she found out that I'm a songwriter. And she wanted to hear my songs. I gave her a set of my CDs and suggested perhaps she could arrange one or two of my songs.

"About a month later she e-mailed me and said, 'Wow so far, I like 3 of your songs.' Then it became 4, 5, 6, 7 until it became 10. Then the idea came for her to produce a whole album of my song using jazz and pop artists from the States," Chan said.

Chan revealed the songs from the new CD are really different from other remakes of his hits.

"Sometimes when artists, especially here in the Philippines, when they copy my song, they sort of clone the song, so that the audience will not be shocked, hindi ba? But, in the case of Janis and Yaron Gershovsky, who arranged the music, they really gave the songs a lot of thought and studied them so the arrangements are fresh and exciting," Chan said.

The singer said that what surprised him was the fact that Siegel and Gershovsky did not pick his hit songs "Beautiful Girl" and "Please Be Careful with My Heart."

"I was surprised but at the same time I feel honored and challenged," he said.

“The Manhattan Connection: The Songs of Jose Mari Chan” is the first tribute CD to a Filipino artist that will be sold at Starbucks outlets starting May.

Below is the track list of the said CD:

1. "Constant Change" -- Nic Bearde
2. "Like Night and Day" -- Roger Treece and Lauren Kinhan
3. "Thank You, Love" -- Julie Hardy
4. "I Have Found My World in You" -- Kellylee Evans
5. "A Heart’s Journey" -- Leo Sidran
6. "Stay, My Love" -- Nic Bearde
7. "Easier Said Than Done" -- Kellylee Evans
8. "Love Lost" -- Lisa Fischer
9. "Walking in the Moonlight" -- Theo Bleckmann with a cappella intro by Janis Siegel and Laurel Masse
10. "So I’ll Go" -- Larel Masse, Janis Siegel, and Lauren Kinham
11. "Spellbound" -- Miles Griffith
12. "Constant Change" (reprise)

Chan is the first Filipino to have been given a Diamond Record for his 1989 album "Constant Change."

His album "Christmas in Our Hearts" in 1990 reached triple Platinum status, making him the only Filipino to have the Double Diamond Record award.

Chan is currently planning to release a new album before the end of the year.