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Nyoy Volante To Go On Full Diva Mode Again For His Role As Lola In "Kinky Boots"

 

Nyoy Volante entered the local music scene in 2000, offering the industry his distinct soothing voice and authentic musicality. He is one of the artists who smoothly combines ballad and acoustic genres in breathtaking performances.

Nyoy has been serving us with good music for almost two decades now, and yet he continues to offer something fresh and unexpected, proving that he is the type of artist who does not shy away from bold career moves and experimentation.

After releasing his self-titled debut album in 2000, he gained more mainstream attention with his hit single “You’re My You” in 2002. He also recorded heart-wrenching ballads for the pop musical group Nyoy Volante and Mannos' album the following year.

In 2006, Nyoy made his mark as a brilliant songwriter and composer with the hit song “Someday," sung by "Soul Siren" Nina. In 2008, he released his album Heartstrings, which showcased both original and cover tracks. In 2010, he released his album In You, which featured all-original tracks such as "In You," "Try," and "Tuloy Tuloy."

He easily captured the hearts of music lovers with his acoustic renditions of well-loved Filipino classics, like “Ipagpatawad Mo," “Bakit Ba Ganyan," “Tuloy Pa Rin," "Magkasuyo Buong Gabi (featuring Sabrina)," “Nandito Ako," “Sa Isip Ko," “Sana Dalawa Ang Puso Ko," "Bukas Na Lang Kita Mamahalin," “Basta’t Kasama Kita,” and “Kamakailan Lang” through his Tuloy Pa Rin album in 2012, when he was dubbed as the “King of Acoustic Pop."

 

 

 

Through ABS-CBN’s Sunday noontime musical variety show ASAP, Nyoy's fame continued to soar as he serenaded audience with fellow artists Jimmy Bondoc, Paolo Santos, and Nina via the segment “ASAP Sessionistas." 

Apart from being a singer, Nyoy is also a talented actor. He showed off his acting chops during his stage debut with theater group Atlantis Productions as Angel in a concert version of the musical “Rent." 

His versatility as an artist resulted to his well-received stint on the celebrity singing and impersonation competition Your Face Sounds Familiar in 2015, where he wowed audiences with his impersonations of Tina Turner, Katy Perry, Sylvia La Torre, and Whitney Houston. He placed second in the competition, next to Melai Cantiveros. That same year also marked his TV acting debut in the TV show Ningning on ABS-CBN.

The following year, Nyoy returned to the theater stage as Franki Valli in the staging of "Jersey Boys." Franki is known for his three-octave range and an iconic falsetto that became the signature sound of 1960s American doo-wop quartet The Four Seasons. He gained more popularity as one of the regular judges on ABS-CBN’s noontime show, It's Showtime

Last year, theater critics have easily become loyal fans of Nyoy because of his career-defining performance as the drag queen Lola in the successful Philippine staging of the Tony Award-winning musical “Kinky Boots" under Atlantis Productions. The musical enjoyed great reviews, so much so that it will have a rerun next month—and Nyoy will be seen wearing those fiery red boots again.    

In this exclusive interview with Metro.Style, Nyoy talks about playing the role of the drag queen Lola and working with wife Mikkie Bradshaw for the "Kinky Boots" rerun.

READ: Mikkie Bradshaw-Volante Joins Husband Nyoy In The Rerun Of The Award-Winning Musical "Kinky Boots"

 

 

 

Please briefly describe your role in "Kinky Boots."

The role is Lola or Simon. He is a drag queen. [The musical] tackles him, his backstory, and how it led him to be here. The message of the show is about what he wants. The show, in a nutshell, is telling you to be yourself. The message is to be yourself and do what makes you happy. In certain ways and parts of the show, that's the message. Of course, all of these are shown in a fabulous show—dancing and singing. 

Lola is a real alpha female, or alpha male, alpha person. He’s in charge of his life. He’s definitely a fabulous diva. Everyone loves him in the story. Even Charlie, he was afraid of him. And he eventually learn that "I can learn from this person, there are certain qualities to him that I should follow." He realizes he is someone he can depend on, like be his inspiration. I know people like that, whether they’re drag queens or not, they inspire you.

 

How did your prepare for this role?

I did a lot of research, definitely. I watched a lot of films, films about being a drag queen. I’ve talked to a lot of drag queens. I have lots of friends who are like that. Just so I can understand what’s it about, how to do it properly, and how not to do it properly, that’s the most important thing because we should be careful with this kind of role, and with everything. Like when you play a teacher, ah, this is what I'll do because this is how I know it. No, with this one, you have to know exactly what it is, what makes it right and what makes it real. 

 

What do you like best about your role?

It is fun, definitely! I love that it is a fun role. I've done a lot of roles, and it’s great, but this one, it's different. It's beyond the scale of 1-10 of how fun it is. It's not everyday that you get to wear drag. You can’t be a drag queen normally. I mean, if you’re really a drag queen, I mean, if you do that, that's okay, but for someone like me, it’s way different. I am very lucky to have been given this opportunity. I can just imagine when I’m 80, 90, or 100, I’m going to have that memory of me being a drag queen, and I really treasure it. It can only bring positivity—positive feeling, positive experiences. With that alone, it is enough reason for me to really treasure this.

 

What’s the most challenging part in doing your role?

I was very scared to do it wrong. Everyone has to understand, it is not just about me putting on a dress and putting on makeup, and acting like a drag queen. [You'd think] that’s it, it’s not! There are certain things that you have to be sensitive about, if it doesn't come naturally to you—if you’re not a real construction worker, if you’re not a real pilot, you don’t know the dynamics, you don’t know what it's about. I mean, you just know that if I’m a pilot, I’m flying a plane, and I sit at the pilot’s area and I do this and this. And it’s all you know about it, right? And if you’re doing a role about something like that, you can't just do what you think you know about it. You have to be sensitive enough to know the kind of struggles that they have, the kind of nuances, you need to know the terms, and know them by heart. Or even if you don’t know them, at least you need to understand them. It's like that with this one. It’s not just about putting on a dress and acting all drag queen-y. You need to know what’s it about. And the reason is you need to put heart in that performance. Thank God, it came to a point where I felt like people thought I was doing a good job. My fear of doing it wrong disappeared. Because I had actual drag queens and LGBT people telling me that, like, “Oh my god, yes thank you!” That was my greatest fear but it's also the greatest feeling.

 

How do you feel that it has a rerun this year?

Just like how it made me happy because I got to do it, now I’m extra happy that I get to do it again. And when I was doing it, I was on top of the world. Because everything was going right, people were loving it. Just like everything, it has to come to an end. It becomes a memory of actually being there. I get to say, “Once I did this, I was so happy then." So can you just imagine, just being able to get the experience, and acting it all over again, it’s good, it’s good.

 

 

Your wife, Mikkie Bradshaw, was tapped to play the role of the feisty factory worker Lauren. How was it working with your wife on this project?

I’m really happy. I always want to be with her. We always want to be together, so when you’re given a chance to do exactly that, it’s so nice. It takes off the pressure of not being together...at least, we're already together and we get to share the experience. To be honest, the theater or the show that you see, that’s great, that’s such a great experience for the actors and the people who watch it. But during the rehearsal process, for the actor, that’s where you relate, that’s where you get to discover things, and I get to share that with her. I won't just tell her the story, she’s there and she sees it. That’s so nice, for a husband, a boyfriend, and even a friend. For husband and wife, it’s nice that you share things that you treasure..


What pieces of advice did you give your wife on this musical?

We are not doing the same role, but we are always very critical of each other. There’s no problem between me and her just telling each other, "Maybe you should do this, this is my suggestion, you’re doing this right and this is why..." And you know, it’s been like that from the start. We have no problem with that, in fact, that’s how we improve. It’s been an advantage for us to have that second, third, or fourth eye. It’s good to have that.

 

Directed by Bobby Garcia, "Kinky Boots" will run from March 2 to 18 at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium of RCBC Plaza, Makati City. You may buy tickets via www.ticketworld.com.

 

Photographs by Chris Clemente