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On Tina Turner, Hairspray, And Shoulder Pads: Gino Padilla Reminisces His Best 80s Memories

With the 80s making huge comebacks in music, fashion, and film these days, the OPM singer looks back at the decade that launched his career with fondness

There was a time when women's boxy, oversized blazers and men's tight-fitting jeans weren't reserved for the über fashionable but were everyday garb, when John Hughes was the king of teen pop culture, and when fun-spirited Coca-Cola commercials embodied some of the best of entertainment. And don't forget the music—synthesizers were everything. 

Without a doubt, the 80s were some of the most colorful, flavorful years in history and it's exactly this uniqueness that's made those who grew up and lived life in this time hang on tightly to their memories of the decade. 

OPM singer Gino Padilla could go on for hours about what made the 80s so special, but the tone in his voice suggests that it's impossible for him to pick just one or two tales from the time.

Instead, he smiles and simply says, "Man, it takes me back—makes me feel young again."


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Taking part in Metro Magazine's "Safe & Sound" series featuring OPM hitmakers, Gino backtracks all the way to 40 years ago when the industry was a different a place.

"I love the sound of the 80s. Most of these people are innovative... and up to now the soundtracks are included in today’s Hollywood films," he says (Stranger Things, anyone? Or what about the entirety of Oscar-winning Bohemian Rhapsody?). 

"They’re really pushing the envelope with that kind of sound," he adds, referring to the signature electronic sound we hear in original 80s and 80s-inspired bops today (think Somebody That I Used To Know, many of Daft Punk's most popular singles or pretty much anything Tame Impala releases). 

But even with the modernization of the sound and style that made him the star he is today, Gino points to a handful of 80s classics that he would never, ever stop listening to, no matter what (and for those who have never heard them, should listen to!). 


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Some of his favorites include: 

Freddie Mercury's "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" rendition 

Tears For Fear's "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" 

Go West's "Call Me"

And of course, he's also all over some of music's immortal names like Michael Jackson (for his legendary dancing), Elvis Presley (for the way he moves and that signature, irreverent style that made him the "King of Rock and Roll"), Lionel Richie (for his soulful balladeering), George Benton (for his jazziness), John Denver, and yes, even the great Barry Manilow whose songs Gino started singing when he was in 4th grade. 

His music choices say it all: the 80s was a hotbed for a wealth of genres and singers to spring forth, making it a great time for creatives like him to begin their career. 


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Speaking of his career, there have been many high points in his years in the industry, but in the 80s, there was one single, shining, crowning glory to that decade: "It was my icebreaker back in 1986. It was a soft drink commercial with famous rock 'n roll star, Miss Tina Turner," Gino says. 

"She is an incredible person. She’s been here in the Philippines and she said she wants to come back because she loves the people. They keep on smiling and they’re really hospitable," he adds. 

Overall, it's been such a thrill for him to see so many elements of that magical time make comebacks these days. 

From the fashion, ("Back in the day, you got the shoulder pads or what we call 'padding'—shoulder pads. And then of course you got the skinny jeans. They call it now skinny jeans but it was tight jeans or 'baston' before," he laughs), to beauty (oh the copious amounts of spray net!), to the mainstream media references and kids today generally embracing all things 80s culture. 


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Of course, Gino's eyes aren't only set on the past.

He looks to the future too, and in the time that's yet to come, he won't be singing alone anymore. He'll have his daughter, Bea, a budding singer, to keep him company by his side. And something tells us that for this dad, even Tina Turner couldn't top that.

"She loves to sing and she loves to write songs. She’s very talented and she is just a gem," he says. 

But a possible recorded duet with his daughter and more concerts and appearances will have to wait—for now, it's quarantine life for them, too, and like all Filipinos, they're doing what they can to stay positive. 

His faith has played a big role for him as he waits for the COVID-19 crisis to end and for the world to recover.

"I keep inspired by watching a lot of Jesus films and I watch a lot of Bible stories. You can watch animation at the same time, which is fun and light, not only for you but for your kids as well. I get inspired by opening up the Bible and reading the Word, watching all these inspirational videos that they have out there, especially CCF," Gino shares.

In the end, he believes hope will never be lost—and in this time, he wishes everyone nothing but love, peace, and health. 

Now, as we go on with the rest of quarantine, we know what to do next.

Bring out those cassette tapes, leotards and tube socks, metallic eyeshadow, and dance the days away with some good old Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Heart and more—the 80s never left, and they're here to stay!

Check out Gino Padilla's performance for Metro Safe & Sound: The Unplugged Music Video Series on May 1, 4PM on Metro Channel and Metro.Style's YouTube channel.

Photos from @geepadilla