Who Is Gerald Santos (aka Thuy In UK's "Miss Saigon")?
Success, according to Gerald Santos, requires three things: perseverance, constant drive for learning, and staying true to one's self.
Gerald is known in the Philippines as the "The Prince of Ballad." He started his singing career at seven years old. With his parents' full support, he joined and won in various amateur singing competitions, wherein he even had the chance to compete with Charice Pempengco (now known as Jake Zyrus).
Sharing his powerful yet soulful voice with a larger audience, he decided to join a singing competition on television and eventually became its youngest grand champion. This achievement jumpstarted his professional singing career with a five-year contract and a record deal with the TV network.
He debuted with a studio album called A Day on the Rainbow back in November 2006. Two years later, he released another album called Pinakahihintay; the repackaged version of which, released in 2010, even earned him the Male Pop Artist of the Year award from the 3rd PMPC Star Awards the following year. In 2012, his album, Gerald Santos The Prince of Ballad, won the Revival Album of the Year award from the 5th Star Awards for Music; he also received three other nominations from the same award-giving body in 2013, including Male Recording Artist of the Year, Male Concert Performer of the Year, and Male Pop Artist of the Year. In 2015, the Gerald Santos Kahit Anong Mangyari album was released, earning him a nomination at the 7th Star Awards for Music as Male Pop Artist of the Year. Now, he has signed up with Star Music Philippines, with his sixth studio album in the works.
Gerald also established a career in the theater scene, with stints like being the lead actor for “Sino Ka Ba, Jose Rizal?” where he also got nominated for Best Actor in the Aliw Awards, followed by a role in "San Pedro Calungsod The Musical."
As he strived to achieve a certain awakening in his career, another door opened for him when "Miss Saigon UK" held an audition in the Philippines last 2016. "Miss Saigon," a multi award-winning production of Cameron Mackintosh, tells the story of a tragic love that happened in the Vietnam War. The original cast of the first-ever production of "Miss Saigon" included our very own Lea Salonga as the lead actress named Kim.
The event was highly-publicized in the theater world, making it almost impossible to be a part of the renowned Broadway musical because of the intense competition within the auditions. “At first, I wasn't so familiar with 'Miss Saigon.' All I knew was that Miss Lea Salonga was Kim. Then my friends from the press, they kept telling me na kapag magkaroon ng 'Miss Saigon' auditions, mag-audition daw ako for Thuy kasi bagay sa'kin 'yung role,” he shares.
Though hesitant at first, Gerald eventually made up his mind and mustered the courage to audition for the part of Thuy. One of the main characters, Thuy is Kim's cousin, to whom she was betrothed at thirteen. The audition coincided then with his ongoing rehearsals and tours for the “San Pedro Calungsod The Musical," but he remained unfazed despite the pressure. “We were doing our songs for 'San Pedro Calungsod' while I was starting the songs for 'Miss Saigon.' So right after the shows in Davao and Bicol, diretso kami sa audition for 'Miss Saigon' in Makati.”
Being in the presence of great artists from different parts of the world was the highlight of the experience for him. He recalls, “Tandang-tanda ko nu'n, you only have 12 bars to sing. Sobrang dami ng nag-audition kaya talagang kailangan swift lang, and you have to prove yourself du'n sa 12 bars, which was like 45 seconds.” Fortunately, he was able to pass the three stages and moved on to the last audition, where he had to perform in front of the maestro and producer of the musical himself, Claude-Michel Schönberg.
Gerald tells Metro.Style, “Dumating 'yung araw na 'yun. Konti na lang kami, mga nasa 10-12 so, talagang salang-sala na. Nun'g pumasok na ako sa room, buong company na 'yung nandu'n. Tapos Sir Claude asked, ‘Are you ready?' So nag-start ako." He continued to share the details of that memorable moment when he nervously sang, sharing, “Pinahinto agad ako ni Sir Claude because I was a millisecond late. He told me, ‘You go to the pianist and read the note.’ I was floating at the time.”
After analyzing and reviewing the missed notes, he was asked again to sing the part. He shares, “Hindi ako aware sa paligid ko kasi sobra 'yung pressure, 'yung nerbyos. Tapos nu'ng naaral ko na, nagulat ako sa sinabi ni Sir Claude nu'ng tinanong na siya ng director na, ‘Are you good with him’? Sabi niya, ‘This guy is phenomenal.'"
Out of hundreds of people who auditioned for the role of Thuy, he was the one chosen for the "Miss Saigon UK" production. He was joined by other Filipino Artists such as Leo Tavarro Valdez as “The Engineer," Aicelle Santos as “Gigi," Joreen Bautista as the alternate “Kim," and a whole lot more Filipinos in the ensemble. His contract as Thuy lasted for two years, accumulating 553 performances all over Europe. The priceless joy of performing on center stage lives in Gerald’s heart as he returned back to the Philippines. As his eyes sparkle with gratitude for being a part of such an amazing cast and a distinguished musical, he shared to Metro.Style the best thing about his entire journey.
According to Gerald, more than the opportunity to perform in front of large crowds and travel around the world, what he's most thankful for is the chance of being a part of a family whose members he can truly consider as genuine friends. He shares, “There’s no amount of money that can pay for it. It’s priceless, lahat ng mga natutunan ko. I grew so much not just as a performer but as a person as well. Pinaka-memorable sa'kin 'yung mga bonding with the cast. Up until now, we’re still in contact, and the bloopers of course! Hindi ko makalilimutan.”
Now that he’s back in his hometown, he will be having a Homecoming Concert on May 4, 2019 at Solaire Resort & Casino, together with some of the "Miss Sagon" cast members Aicelle Santos, Joreen Bautista, Leo Tavarro Valdez, and former competitor in his earlier singing career, Jake Zyrus. In line with this big event is the release of his new single from Star Music titled “I Am Yours," composed by Kiko Salazar; it's now available on itunes and Spotify.
Tickets to his homecoming concert are available at Ticket World, contact 891-9999, or visit their website at ticketworld.com.ph.
Photos from @thegeraldsantos