MACAU - Former American Idol runner-up Jessica Sanchez revealed that singing the Philippine national anthem is something new to her.
The 18-year-old Fil-American singer will do a rare double on Sunday as she is tasked to perform both the Lupang Hinirang and the American national anthem, Star-Spangled Banner, before Manny Pacquiao's fight against Brandon Rios.
“It’s hard. The words are kinda different. The only Filipino song I have ever learned is ‘Ikaw’ and I would sing that at my concert in the Philippines,” she said laughing.
“The (Philippine) national anthem words are so difficult to say … the whole accent and everything,” Sanchez said while revealing that her Filipina grandmother helped her with the words and pronunciation.
But the international R&B singer said she plans to deliver the anthem in the most straightforward manner, aware that previous singers handed the job had failed the scrutiny from tradionalists.
“Yes I am very aware of it (scrutiny). A lot of Filipinos already tweeted me to give me advice on how to sing it as soon as they learned that I am singing it,” she told Spin.ph.
“They said, ‘Try to sing it as traditional as possible’. So I’ve been looking at different versions of it. And try to sing it like very straightforward the way everyone said,” Sanchez added.
For decades now, the National Historical Institute (NHI) has been very strictly monitoring the proper way of singing the anthem, particularly in high profile events like Pacquiao’s fights.
The Lupang Hinirang was originally arranged in a marching tone as it was composed by Julian Felipe (music) and Jose Palma (words) during the Philippine Revolution in the late 1800s.
Past singers in Pacquiao fights have come under criticism from the NHI for the liberties they took in their versions of the anthem, among them Martin Nievera (Pacquiao-Hatton), Sarah Geronimo (Pacquiao-Morales III), Zyrene Parsad (Pacquiao-Margarito) and Jennifer Bautista (Pacquiao-Morales II).
Asked if she is under pressure knowing her rendition of the national anthem will come under scrutiny, the former American Idol first runner-up broke into a laugh.
“No, no, no. I’ve been really, really practicing really, really hard. So hopefully everybody loves it. It’s traditional like they want it,” she added.