She means business
Interview by Pat Calica
It’s always inspiring to see artists who are passionate about what they do. Singer Morissette Amon—Mowie or Morie to her fans and close friends—is one of them. Beyond her talent, this 22-year-old demonstrates dedication to and love for her craft and a burning desire to learn more and become better.
During Speed‘s cover shoot, though playful and bubbly all throughout, Morissette was serious in giving her best in every pose and smile. She wasn’t shy to ask for guidance (“How should I pose? Okay ba ‘to?” she would ask) nor was she hesitant to try new things to make every photo notable. In between takes, this young siren would hum lovely tunes and belt out captivating songs—a mini concert for the team, an vocal exercise for her.
Whether it’s singing, doing photo shoots, and even during this interview, Morissette means business—giving everything her best shot to demonstrate her passion for the things she does.
This is Morissette’s first ever magazine cover and, during our interview, she happily shared that she enjoyed the photo shoot. “It’s the team,” she says. “I only mirror the vibe I get from the [people around me].” But we beg to differ. We say it’s also largely because of how enthusiastic and professional she was during the whole process. Much like how she puts in effort when doing her shows and concerts, Morissette also came prepared: she got as much sleep the night before and lessened her food intake so she would be in her best shape.
Have you always wanted to be a singer?
I’ve always wanted to be a singer ever since, and I’m just really happy na sobra akong sinuportahan ng family ko.
What influenced you to pursue your passion for singing?
I come from a very musically inclined family, so I’ve been exposed to different kinds of music. Even at a young age sobra ko nang nae-enjoy ang pagkanta. Actually, any form [of performance]—sayaw, playing instruments. I’ve always wanted to [become a singer] and mas lalo akong nai-inspire to keep going every time nanonood ako ng ibang artists. Nakikita ko na kaya nila and they’re doing what they really love to do, kaya ako gusto ko rin gawin ‘yun someday.
What’s your earliest memory of you singing?
My parents would tell me na kung paano nila na-discover na marunong akong kumanta. I was about two, meron kaming videoke machine sa bahay and one day they left me in that room with that machine. Umalis sila ng room tapos biglang may narinig na lang silang may kumakanta ng “You Are My Song.” Pagbalik nila ng room, ayan na ako—I just got the microphone and kunwari raw tinitingnan ko ‘yung lyrics. Ginagaya ko raw ‘yung parents ko. They said I sang the song in perfect tune daw.
Did you undergo any training?
I did but only for a while. My dad was my very first vocal coach. I’ve had a few sessions in professional schools, but it’s more on vocalization. When it comes to the more technical side, it was more of at home na with my dad. Ngayon din na I’m already in the industry tuloy pa rin po ‘yung training with my mentors naman.
How do you hone your skills?
Meron silang tinatawag na vocal rest—I do that sometimes but not to the extent na in a number of days hindi talaga magsasalita. Feeling ko, for my voice, kapag masyadong hindi nagagamit, natutulog siya. I feel like I have to start from scratch if I do need to use it again. I just try to talk in a moderate pace and just learn how to use my voice properly.
Who are your singing inspirations?
I would have to start with, of course, sila Ms. Regine Velasquez and ate Sarah Geronimo. I’ve always looked up to their singing style.
Internationally, I’ve always loved Beyonce. When I was younger, it was Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey. As I’ve grown and started to discover who I am as an artist, mas na-draw ako kay Ariana Grande and Nina. Ngayon, I try to explore ‘yung mga genres and not just stick to one. Nadi-discover ko ‘yung different parts of my voice.
If you didn’t get into singing, what could you be doing now?
If I wasn’t a singer now, I would probably still be studying. Kung professionaly naman, I’d probably still get into something that’s related to music. Or maybe a radio jock. I’ve always wanted to be a radio jock—something that still uses my voice ’cause I feel like ito talaga ‘yung binigay sa akin ni Lord.
On to the next
Our shoot day is a memorable one for Morissette. Exactly a year ago on that day, she held her first major solo concert in Araneta Coliseum. “It was a big dream come true,” she relates. It is her greatest career achievement so far, she says.
Why do you consider it your biggest achievement so far?
I think it’s a big milestone for me kasi solo na concert, naging sold out pa, and I got to show so much more of who I am as an artist na hindi ko laging nagagawa on a regular basis when I have shows. I guess for that concert specifically, it was a celebration of everything I’ve been through before. At that time, I was like about 7 or 8 years in the industry and I felt like every single obstacle that I went through for the past years in my career has made me into who I am right now as an artist. Sobra akong blessed and grateful dun sa tiwala ng mga producers sa akin for that concert. They trusted me to be able to bring joy to so many people in a very big venue.
Will you be doing another concert this year or the next?
Honestly, this year I’ve tried to chill muna. Gusto ko munang mag-grow pa as an artist. But hopefully by 2020—it will be my 10th year in the showbiz industry—kung matuloy ‘yung mga plano namin, we’ll be doing something big for my 10th anniversary.
What’s your most memorable song so far?
It would have to be my very first hit single, which is “Akin Ka Na Lang.” Although it’s been released four, five years ago, parang ngayon pa siya lalong nag-bloom. Hindi lang dito sa bansa natin pero pati ibang nationalities, na kahit hindi naman nila naiintindihan [‘yung song or lyrics] kinakanta pa rin nila. I think that for me is such an achievement and I share it of course with the songwriter, si Kiko Salazar.
What is your dream project–in singing or otherwise?
A dream project for me probably is to release songs na rinig sa buong mundo. Because I feel like na sobrang talented ng mga Pinoy and if given the chance na palarin ako na maituloy ‘yung international career, gusto kong iwagayway yung bandera ng Pilipinas and OPM.
What projects should we watch for from you?
Right now, hopefully we’ll be doing more original songs. Also, this year, we’ll focus on touring, so makakapunta sa iba’t ibang bansa, ma-meet ang mga kababayan, and do shows there. Hopefully, I can also prepare myself for the projects I have set for 2020 na parang huge 10th anniversary concert.
Thanks for the views
Morissette says a big portion of her success now she owes to social media. Thanks to technology, her performances are able to reach a wider audience, both here and abroad. When she was younger, her dad would upload videos on YouTube before so that their relatives abroad can watch her performances. Later on, these videos would reach more people outside of her family and friends. The rest, as they say, is history.
“[Technology] really helped me connect with more people and it has became a good platform para ma-share ko ‘yung talent ko,” says Morissette.
What gadgets do you use for work?
My phone—most importantly, on top of everything—and my laptop. Although hindi ko laging dala [‘yung laptop] pero when I’m working, I’m always on my laptop because I like taking down notes. I don’t want to forget anything, so when you see my desktop marami dung mga stick-ons for reminders.
We can definitely relate. What apps do you usually use on your phone?
Probably the social media ones. I’m more on Facebook and Instagram ngayon. Although I’m not really active, I just love to scroll and makita lang din kung anong ginagawa ng ibang tao kasi it also makes me happy. I also like opening Pinterest. I like getting pegs there and just seeing different kinds of ideas—clothes, quotes, verses, anything na nakikita ko dun nae-enjoy ko.
What do you usually post about?
I use [social media] more for memories. Gusto ko magpost para a year later maalala ko na nangyari pala ‘to and then when it comes back, “Ahh, it happened!” More than just leaving the pictures on my gallery, gusto ko siyang i-share din with other people.
How do you decide which gets posted or not?
I’m actually very OC especially with my posts. If it’s for work, pinopost ko. For personal, mga things that make me happy. There was one time I was bored and I was on voice rest. Nagpost ako ng photo ng Rubik’s Cube kasi I can solve that. At that moment I just wanted to share with people na this is one of the things I do when I’m not singing. Very random lang siya.
And random is good. It’s nice to break away from the usual once in a while. Anyway…How do you interact with your fans online?
There was a point before when I was still starting na I was super matiyaga on Twitter replying to every single one who messages me. Even ‘yung mga reaction videos na lumalabas before pinapanood ko ‘yun lahat. If they reached me through Instagram and Twitter, nagte-thank you ako.
Recently, I haven’t been able to do so. Mas bumabawi ako when I do have shows in public and nandun yung mga fans. I try to give them kahit mabilis na time na makipagkita sa kanila as a sign of thank you. Mahilig din akong mag-like ng comments para lang makita lang din nila na nakita ko ‘yung mga sinasabi nila.
How do you handle negative comments on social media?
Kapag nakakabasa ako ng mga negative comments, hindi ko na po binibigyan ng sobrang malaking pansin. Nabasa ko, okay move on, ayoko na. Lumalayo ako sa phone ko kasi even just a small negative comment or bashing, nakakasira ng araw. Ako na lang mag-a-adjust.
That’s a nice attitude. How do you relax when work is over?
Usually, ‘yung work namin is at night, so uwi na kaagad after. But when I’m not doing anything, it’s either I just stay home and literally do nothing or go out and just unwind. I see my friends and we don’t talk about work.
What’s on top of your 2019 bucket list?
To travel more this year. We have a lot lined up na shows sa ibang bansa. Hindi ko pa napuntahan ‘yung iba so very excited ako na ma-explore ko ‘yung mga lugar na ‘yun.
This story was originally published in Speed Magazine’s March 2019 issue.