The AGT Champions Grand Finals is airing on Monday, February 10 at 7 pm CST. One singer, with his videos going viral, people can’t stop talking about him – it’s Marcelito Pomoy at America’s Got Talent.
A unique way of singing – he’s able to sing both a male tenor voice and a female soprano voice. With this ability, switching from low to high registers back and forth with ease. Some of his famous cover song renditions include The Prayer, Beauty and the Beast, Power of Love, Never Enough, Endless Love among others.
As of this writing, he is one of 10 finalists at America’s Got Talent which airs next on Monday, February 3 at 8/7c on NBC.
Let’s take a peek at the life of this singing sensation.
Early Life – Growing up
He was born on September 22, 1984, in a town called Imus, Cavite in the Philippines. Abandoned by his mother when he was 6 months old with his 3 other siblings when his father was incarcerated.
Basically, abandoned and nowhere to go, they lived with his father in jail feeding on foods shared with them by other prisoners for two years until he became sick. Because his father couldn’t take care of them any longer, he was forced later to have them adopted by a local police officer.
Since he was at a very young age, he really didn’t know who his father really was, he left the home of the officer when he found out that he wasn’t his biological father. Someone brought him back to his father which at that time already had a new family of his own when he was sixteen years old
He stayed with him briefly and eventually left again for not getting along with his stepmother. In a subsequent turn of events, he found ways to survive. He found himself selling balut (fertilized duck egg), ice cream, worked as a pin boy in a bowling alley averaging equivalent to $1 for a whole day’s work.
He also worked on a poultry farm. It was during this time that he started singing using his female voice. “I sang to make me happy.” His first audience were chickens. While spraying and cleaning the poultry house he would be singing and mimicking well-known local singers.
People would be telling him how good he was, but he wasn’t believing any of them. Unaware that there was something special about him, he said: “we’re all capable of singing”.
What Brought Him to Stardom
He joined several amateur singing competitions and one of them is the celebrated “Talentadong Pinoy” but didn’t make the cut.
With his persevering and fighting spirit, he signed up for the local “Got Talent” franchise where he became the overall grand champion in 2011. The people fell in love with his voice, but his main intention was to find his family back together by seeing them on show.
Before the Grand Finals, there was a nationwide search for Marcelito’s family. He was in a big surprise when his mother and his other 3 siblings were at the final event after being separated from them at a very young age.
By then, he was already 24 years old and angry that his mother left them. There was resentment, but at the end forgiveness prevailed
His life changed overnight, from living in the streets to become a famous personality. The whole country was talking about him. He became a monster hit on Youtube, garnered millions of views.
After Winning the Country’s Local Version of “Got Talent”
After winning, he was not only rewarded financially but also with opportunities he’s never dreamed possible, doing concerts, not only locally but in different parts of the world.
Marcelito released two albums, “Duet Yourself”, in 2011. Then in 2013, the second album called “Split” was released, which featured several songs in Filipino. He now sings alongside big names in the music industry in the Philippines
His life took a better turn when on Sept 21, 2014, he married Joan Paraiso. She translates for him, helping him, supporting him, became his manager. They have a daughter, Marcella Janiah.
Other Things You Might Want to Know About Marcelito
- He didn’t have any formal voice training. Sheer determination and love for singing made it possible for him
- On Sept 23, 2013, a fire burned down his house, one day after his birthday. He lost everything.
- With his financial reward in singing, he was able to put up Pomoy’s Commercial Hardware store in 2012, then opened the second one in 2018.
- He said when rumors about him being gay. “I am not offended by such talk because I am male through and through.” In fact, he had a crush on a local celebrity.
- His music came to a plateau when his contract with ABS-CBN wasn’t going anywhere. He didn’t drink, only rarely, just to forget his problems.
- He was invited to the Ellen DeGeneres Show. He said it was an opportunity he’s been waiting for, given how big of a name Ellen is, the American audience was finally introduced to this extraordinary talent.
At the show, he shared his dream of meeting Celine Dion, and you know, what he was flown to meet Celine Dion at one of her shows.
- He initially rejected joining America’s Got Talent saying, “I’m a champion in the Philippines. If I lose in a somewhat ordinary way, it is like my winning is gone.”
They eventually invited him again to join the competition with all other champions from other Got Talent franchise. He obliged.
He Wants to Show He is a Winner at AGT
Here is what the judges say after he sang “Conte Partiro” at the last airing of America’s Got Talent.
Howie Mandel: “You have the best chance of winning this whole thing”.
Alesha Dixon: “I can’t deal with Howie. Absolutely brilliant song choice. It really enabled you to shine. I just love everything about you, Marcelito, so good luck for tonight. It was a fabulous performance. Well done.”
Heidi Klum: “Marcelito, I’ve been waiting all day for you to come onto the stage. For me, you are my favorite. I mean, it just blows my mind.”
Simon Cowell: “..I do believe that with a gift like you’ve got, you’ve got a massive career in front of you, I really, really do.”
In one of his interviews, he said he’s very nervous, jokingly said, he’s going to the hospital if he wins this whole thing. Kidding aside, he said he will celebrate with the children in the same hardships he had in his past, no family to be with, living on the streets since 7yrs of age.
The AGT competition might have already been over as of this writing, but to me, he is, indeed, already a winner regardless of the outcome.
The Question of How He Does it
Many people on youtube ask the famous, “How?” How does this guy do it? At least about more than 50% of reactors on youtube ask this question verbally.
Just like in other areas, if you don’t have the means, work doubly hard for it in other ways and you’ll achieve your dreams. The fact that he didn’t have any formal voice training tells us it’s possible with meager means to succeed in your endeavor.
With persistence and consistency over a long period of time, you can be “the next Marcelito Pomoy”. Sorry, ladies, this is only for the “male” category. Ok, hang tight, I concede, it can be the other way around, folks.
Finding the female voice requires a good ear, listening to yourself on a recording while mimicking other singers, cuddling the head voice and placing it in an area of the vocal cavities with a lot of trial and error and experimentation. Certainly, this requires many years of serious immersion in your craft.
Evidently, there is a lot more to learn like phrasing, breath support, pronunciation, etc. It would take years to master all these things. On the other hand, instead of plowing through them, they become obstacles to success.
Over many years, confidence in his skill is apparent when you watch him sing. It feels like he’s just talking, making it effortless, but in reality, many years of work put into it.
I’m writing this article on a website to help other singers, mostly budding ones. We say things like, “I don’t have time”, or “It’s too expensive to hire a voice teacher” and so on.
While it could be true that time is not on your side anymore, would you agree with me that you can achieve a certain level of success parallel to the effort you put into it?
I have mentioned in one of my articles on this site that a local teacher is preferable if you can find one you can work with, but time and financial resources can be a dissipated excuse. How about voice lessons in the comfort of your own home. Take a look at these two online singing lessons: 30 Day Singer and Singorama 2.0. The problem of time and money would then not be an issue.
If you implement even just half of what you learn and rid away half of it, I think you still at the winning edge.
What’s In It For Us?
Wow! What an inspiration to all of us. Even if he doesn’t go all the way to winning it all, that’s it for me. This man has gone far beyond expectation, knowing where he came from. He’s been through some heartaches, but he’s attained much more than most of us that have everything to succeed could ever be imagined.
This is another true to life story of longing and love for his family he never knew, in the end, forgiveness prevailed. His story is not only of hope to those who are hurting but also of renewed strength after sufferings had gone by, liberated from their woes.
Despite having a life full of agony, Marcelito was however blessed with one thing that helped him achieve his dreams – A rare talent.