Author Topic: "Edgy-pop" music of Guji Lorenzana  (Read 974 times)

Offline KarinA

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"Edgy-pop" music of Guji Lorenzana
« on: December 20, 2006, 02:02:00 PM »
December 16, 2006

courtesy of Manila Bulletin

Does Guji Lorenzana have the makings of a superstar?

by edwin p. sallan

WHAT does an "X-Factor" mean anyway? In entertainment circles, it is
normally synonymous to star quality but, then again, whoís to say who
has it or not?

Two of the three popular judges of American Idol told a then San
Francisco-based hopeful that he doesnít have that "X-Factor." But the
one judge whose opinion usually counts the most said he actually likes
his voice. Thatís enough for Gregory "Guji" Lorenzana, Jr. to believe
that he can actually have a career in music.

"Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul said I needed to command attention when
Iím inside a room," Guji recalls. "But Simon Cowell said he really
liked my voice. So even though I didnít make it as one of the
finalists, the fact that I made it all the way to the seven audition
stages made me think that I can probably do this."

Yes, seven auditions. Not too many people know about this but thatís how
much it takes to even land a spot in the Final 12 for American Idol.
Given the sheer number of people auditioning for the reality-based
singing contest every season, itís already quite an achievement if an
aspirant even makes it that far.

Simon Cowell wasnít the only one who liked Gujiís pipes. After releasing
a CD single called "Five Days More" for an independent label, Guji and
his band, Sunday Groove, were booked to open for US shows featuring
established local artists including Zsa Zsa Padilla and Kuh Ledesma.
Kuh, who also once managed Grace Nono, has a keen eye for talent and
was particularly impressed with the former altar boy.

So when Guji decided to pack his bags and take his act here, it was Kuh
who helped him further develop his gifts with voice-coaching lessons
and the like. Of course, it didnít hurt that Guji also has a familiar
musical pedigree. His aunt happens to be singer Joan Lorenzana, who
scored the huge pop hit, "Iíll Never Let You Go," and was once a Pepsi
Next Generation talent along with Raymund Lauchengco, Timmy Cruz and
the late Paula Luz.

"I saw Aunt Joan when I was four years old when she performed at the
Sharon Cuneta Show," he fondly remembers. "At that time, I was doing
impressions of Michael Jackson during family gatherings so even then I
was already performing in one way or another."

It was no surprise then that Guji decided to major in Communication and
Theater Arts at the University of California. After graduation, he
moved to New York and honed his theater skills with a year-long tour of
performance duty doing Broadway musicals. During that time, he also
wrote songs and developed his own sound that he defines as "edgy pop"

"While singing ballads is not at all difficult for me, I prefer to have
a more edgy rock sound with elements of R & B and soul," he declares as
he cites the likes of Maroon 5, Oasis, Hoobastank and Incubus as among
his influences.

Gujiís "edgy pop" is a sound that befits his grungy "AmBoy" appearance.
Heís not trying to be a Marc Abaya, to whom he bears a striking
resemblance, but heís also far from being a Christian Bautista, to whom
he is anything but a deadringer for. Letís just say that he is the
antithesis of the clean cut, boy-next-door image that most of these
solo pop stars continue to cultivate.

His recently-released self-titled EP for Ivory Records features a cover
of "Iíll Be Yours Forever," an obscure Ogie Alcasid ballad and was
produced and arranged by former True Faith guitarist Ferdie Marquez.
Gujiís manager, Karin Araneta, who also manages Mojofly, says Gujiís
version does not sound anything like Ogieís original, a track from the
latterís A Better Man album.

"Iíll Be Yours Forever" has an engaging quality that stuck in my
consciousness long after I last played it. Itís edgy pop, all right,
easily comparable to the likes of James Bluntís "Youíre Beautiful" and
Daniel Powterís "Bad Day" in terms of vibe. The song that it most
reminds me is Edwin McCainís equally heartwarming "I Could Not Ask For
More," a ditty that certainly wonít be out of place in Gujiís live
repertoire which already includes covers of hits by his aforementioned

While I havenít heard the rest of what Guji has to offer since a
full-length album is still in the works, "Iíll Be Yours Forever" sounds
promising enough to merit Guji some serious attention.

As for that "X-Factor" that those American Idol judges are saying he
doesnít have? Well, that theory is about to be put to its first big
test when Guji will be introduced in The Big Big Show, a concert at the
Music Museum that also features Mojofly and True Faith.

The show wonít necessarily be a make or break thing for the
up-and-coming singer. But it should be a glimpse as well as a gauge of
things to come for one of this yearís most intriguing talents.

"I want to offer something different," he says. "I donít want to be in
showbiz per se, I want to make music. And I really feel like I can
really make it. I feel like I can be a superstar."