How music helped save electro-pop artist Red Tan

Leah C. Salterio

Posted at Oct 12 2019 07:15 AM

Red Tan. Handout

MANILA -- Music does not only often serve as a means of entertainment, at times, it is also a therapy for others.

To singer-songwriter Red Tan, music is her “salvation.” She had to go through life’s battles and music was what uplifted her in those trying times.

“I would like music to be a salvation to my fans and supporters, as well,” Tan said. “Especially to those who are ignored, misjudged and rejected, to those suffering from mental health issues and to those who are fighting their own battles.”

After the passing of her husband two years ago, Tan started stringing words and melodies together. “I started to put into writing all my sentiments and that helped me shut down the world and focus on what’s right ahead. Writing, singing and listening to music are great ways to strengthen my coping skills.”

It was not surprising that Tan, a young single mom and widow, turned to music for her emotional healing. Her parents are both musically inclined. Her dad was a member of a national choir and her mom is a piano virtuoso.

“I learned to sing first before I learned to speak,” Tan bragged. “At three years old, I was able to sing ‘The Greatest Love of All’ by Whitney Houston. My dad taught me that even before I learned the alphabet song. At nine, my parents enrolled me to a voice session with Ryan Cayabyab. I started singing professionally in hotel lounges when I was 16.”

Red Tan. Handout

A graduate of Bachelor of Arts Major in Communication Arts from University of Santo Tomas (UST), Tan was admirably juggling time between her studies and performing in hotel lounges. She joined “Star in a Million Season 2” and “Philippine Idol.” After graduation, she started traveling to different countries to sing.

“I came back to Philippines, had a business, became a wife and a mom, quit singing and focused on the business,” she said.

Admittedly, music helped Tan battle anxiety and depression. “Challenges, rejection, criticism and mental health set backs” became her inspiration when she was writing the inspirational anthem of her life, "Don't You Dare!" The empowering song became her debut single.

“The song is composed of all my sentiments in the past couple years put together to create a very honest track,” Tan explained. “I was alone in a place very unfamiliar to me when I wrote and recorded that song. It made me realize I need to be stronger for my son and it helped me.”

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With “Don’t You Dare,” Tan wants to inspire all single moms out there, to whom she dedicates her debut single.

“I want to send a message across and remind them how beautiful, worthy and important they are,” she said. “As cliche as it may sound, I dream that my music would lessen suicidal incidents and help a lot of people as much as it has helped me in my healing process and in gaining back my strength, confidence and wisdom.”

After winning medals from the World Championships of Performing Arts (WCOPA) in California in 2018, Tan thought about auditioning in Broadway musicals in New York. However, an opportunity to study musical theater in London's West End came, so that was where her international music career started.

In the UK, Tan was under the tutelage of such acclaimed celebrity coaches as Tim English, resident director of “Aladdin,” “The Lion King” and other West End musicals, as well as master vocal trainers Chris Johnson, Jamie Read and Leon Haynes.

With music influences such as Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Natalie Cole, Beyonce, Spice Girls, Lady Gaga and Dua Lipa, Tan dauntlessly pursued the challenge of being an independent artist away from home. “It gives me the freedom to fly back to Manila every couple months to spend time with my son,” she said.

Red Tan. Handout

Tan recently released her second single, “Don't Let Go” on Spotify and other digital streaming platforms. The music video will premiere on October 13, on the second death anniversary of her husband.

The electro-pop artist is excited about the release of her album next year. It will contain her first two singles – “Don’t You Dare!” and “Don’t Let Go” – plus many other tracks, including “Toxic,” “Bomb, Be There for You,” “Never Be the Same” and “Rise Up,” that will certainly inspire music fans.

“I will go on tour to promote my album and sing in music festivals and concerts in the UK and the US. I'm going to work hard, knock down any barriers, to pursue my passion and push myself forward.”