Wanted: An heir to the 'Queen of Bossa Nova'

Sitti just got engaged to triathlete Joey Ramirez(NPPA Images)

The Queen of Bossa Nova title has been with her for years, but Sitti doesn’t mind a little competiton. In fact, she looks forward to sharing her talent  with a younger bossa artist – a  princess, perhaps.

“Ok lang  kung may younger bossa artist,” she says at the presscon for her Valentine concert at Bellevue Hotel, Alabang on Thursday, Feb. 14 (she guests in Erik Santos’ show in Gen. Trias, Cavite on Feb. 11).

“Mas  lalawawak ang appreciation sa bossa. Magkakaroon  pa ito ng  different flavors,” she adds.

Problem is,  Sitti can’t find an heir apparent at this point. So she has to carry on her bossa advocacy by her lonesome – for now.

Sitti just  signed up with recording outfit  MCA Music Inc., where she plans to return to her bossa roots after releasing  a pop album for another company.

The results of her experiment  told Sitti bossa is the only way to go for her.

Audience resistance

“Nanibago ang audience,” she recalls. “There was resistance.  Hindi nila ako ma-associate with that kind of sound.”

That kind of sound,  of course, is  pop.

Besides, six years as a bossa artist and still counting proves Sitti can very well carry the bossa torch alone.

“Bossa will never die. There will always be someone who will appreciate and look forward to it,” she says.

These people are the ones who flocked to her show at the Resorts World, watched her perform at Sergio Mendes’ show at the Araneta Center last year and  went to her other  gigs.

Her goal is not just to draw in the crowd, but to “matter to someone else’s life.”

Nothing pleases Sitti  more than to hear a mother say, “My three-year-old daughter  can’t fall asleep without hearing your song.”

Knowing that  a troubled soul turned to her music to overcome a rough patch in his life is also music to Sitti’s ears.

They make Sitti stay in a genre people tell her is on the way out in this age of YouTube and instant music stardom.

No, not even YouTube can deal a death blow to bossa.   Sitti knows it and she’s oh-so-grateful.

YouTube sensations

But she has no axe to grind against YouTube sensations, particularly Charice Pempengco.

“Eqivalent ang maraming taong ginugol ko sa pagkanta sa hotel sa tagal ng pag-practise ng isang YouTube artist,” she explains.

Sitti thinks it doesn’t matter if an artist is a product of YouTube or not.  Talent is more important.

“Bali-baligtarin mo man ang mundo, talent pa rin ang dahilan kung bakit ka mapapansin. Yon ang nakita ni Ellen (Degeneres) kay Charice.”

Still,  Sitti can’t help but note a few changes in today’s live music scene, where bars are more conscious about cost-cutting.

“Sa bar gigs, mas angat kung ang kumakanta ay  marunong mag gitara,” she observes.  “Dati, usong-uso ang showband kahit saan ka pumunta.  Ngayon, paliitan na ng number of  performers.  Kaya kung mag-isa ka, ok lang. Marami namang gadgets ngayon.”

The internet has also changed the landscape for performers like Sitti, who knows Twitter and Instagram are vital in updating people about her latest goings-on.

“Dati, ayaw kong ma-picturan ang outfit ko.  Ngayon, kailangan na kasi grabe ang competition sa Instagram. Dapat makipagsabayan ka.”

Going with the flow doesn’t mean Sitti will blindly obey everything it offers.

Bashers who hurt her by hitting the quality of her voice are forever blocked from her account.

“You learn to live with it,” she sighs.

Sitti knows some rules still apply, but new ones must be made.

That’s why she’s still in the radar, doomsday sayers of bossa be damned.

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