MANILA, Philippines – There was a time when Duncan Ramos seriously thought of quitting music. This was after he left as vocalist of South Border, when the band was then touring and pursuing a career in the US.
At that time, the group was making Los Angeles its base, after an American agent discovered them and got them bookings at mainstream clubs, including Johnny Depp’s The Viper Room.
Duncan, who entered showbiz as a featured kiddie artist in Gary Valenciano’s concerts, sang for South Border for five years beginning 2002 right after college. He said he decided to leave the group because it came to a point that he didn’t just want to do it anymore, compounded by the adjustments, individually and as a group, which they had to make while in living and working in the US. “Nag-iba yung mga bagay, kasi nag-a-adjust ka. Di ganun kadali,” he said of his US experience.
South Border left the country when it was winning award after award, and scoring hit after hit such as Rainbow (which became the most downloaded ringtone ever) and Ikaw Nga, but Duncan said there are no regrets, adding that the decision to go to the US was a natural progression for any band who simply wants to level up its experiences.
Some of its members have reportedly remained and sought permanent residency in the US, while the rest of the band, which originated in Davao, is back including band leader Jay Durias.
While the separation caused some strain in his relationship with fellow band members, Duncan said everything is okay now, particularly with Jay. “It’s impossible not to be okay with Jay Durias, mahal na mahal ko yun because he’s my mentor. (I look up to him because) he’s really a good musician.”
After leaving South Border, Duncan who has a Business Management degree from San Beda College, came home with the intention of staying briefly, as a job with a restaurant in Hawaii was already waiting for him.
“After ng pag-alis ko ng South Border, I wanted a different career. I didn’t want to sing. I was about to work as a crew in a restaurant in Hawaii. Gusto ko lang talaga maiba. But when I came back, nag-guest ako sa Boy and Kris (talk show of Boy Abunda and Kris Aquino),” he said.
That guesting led to one thing and another. He has become part of ASAP Sessionistas and joined Backroom, Inc., the management company founded by Abunda.
Duncan, who recently won the 2011 Urban Music Awards Best Male RB Pop Artist of the Year award, wants to actively push the genre in the country, even setting up his own label to do that. He also released the all-original album Fly With Me last year. “Gusto ko talaga original RB compositions,” he said.
Meanwhile, Duncan will hold his show Unleashing the Knight tonight at 9 at the Metrobar, West Ave. in Quezon City. It’s a repeat because the first concert that was held last June at Zirkoh in Tomas Morato proved successful, with the place seeing its biggest audience turnout yet. Special guests are Soul Siren Nina, Prima Diva Billy, General Benjie Bellarmino Jr. and fellow ex-South Border vocalist Luke Mejares.
He said, “It will be a great night of fun and music. I’m blessed to be given this chance to perform onstage and entertain people.”
For details, call Backroom at 435-1108 and 435-1120 or e-mail at email@example.com.