A fan of YouTube covers? Chances are you’ve already come across Gigi De Lana, a rising online star known for her thumb-stopping pop covers. Her viral rendition of Roselle Nava’s “Bakit Nga Ba Mahal Kita” from the 90s easily makes a good throwback jam. With a YouTube channel at 506,000 subs and counting and some videos reaching up to almost 7 million views, Gigi — who leads her band GG Vibes — is also fast spreading her wings beyond the video-sharing platform.
Indeed, exciting things are happening for the singing contest regular turned online sensation — an album, a series, and a new title as PLDT Home ambassador to mark her as a bona fide influencer.
8List.PH got the chance to chat with Gigi at an intimate media event hosted by the brand. Here’s what we learned about local entertainment’s newest “it” girl!
She comes from humble beginnings
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Successful as she is now, Gigi didn’t have it easy as a child. She grew up in Olongapo, but had to move to Laguna with her mom following her parents’ split in her youth. It has always been Gigi and her mom since then – her mom working to make ends meet and Gigi joining contests with hopes to help in their finances. In their most hard-up times, they would make the best of toyo-seasoned rice for dinner, she also recalled.
It was only after joining It’s Showtime’s “Tawag ng Tanghalan” in 2016 when Gigi started seeing some light at the end of her family’s tunnel of financial woes. Though she didn’t win, she had earned enough to pay debts. Her mainstream stint later opened new doors to more TV opportunities such as being a semi-regular on Showtime and a regular on ASAP.
She used to sing at events… including funerals!
No wedding is complete without a live band serenading the occasion. Before GG Vibes, there was Serenata Strings — with Romeo Marquez on the drums, LA Arquero as lead guitarist, Jake Manalo as bassist, and Jon Cruz as keyboardist. The band used to play in various events, from weddings to funerals.
She is a proud ‘product’ of the pandemic
Performing at bigger events has always been in the pipeline pre-COVID-19, if you ask the band’s director, Mr. Tritone (Edwin Lacsa). But with the pandemic crippling majority of the entertainment industry, the GG Vibes just had to keep it intimate in the new normal. Hence, the birth of the band’s regular livestreams, most of which were so musically spectacular they’ve gone viral.
The GG Vibes streams live every Wednesday and Saturday on Facebook and YouTube from 9 PM to 12 midnight. As proven by the band’s ever-growing numbers, it makes the perfect watch party for a dinner date or just about any hangout sesh with loved ones with most of us confined at home.
As Gigi, with a laugh, recalled asking her livestream audiences in one Facebook Live session that was viewed by as many as 70,000, “Wala na ba kayong ibang mapanood?” Thanks to the lag-free streams by PLDT Home, the band noticed growth in their viewers.
“Before the pandemic, I really didn’t feel a strong connection with the audience compared to now with my uninterrupted Facebook or YouTube livestreams,” Gigi shared.
She almost gave up on her livestreams because of poor internet
PLDT Home’s strong internet connection eventually improved the band’s level of production, with Gigi and her crew drawing in more viewers while interacting with them seamlessly. “The Gigi family grew and grew! It grew so much that even my band members have their own fan groups!” the singer gushed.
It wasn’t always the case, though. When The GG Vibes first started streaming, Gigi recalled the band had struggled with poor internet connection — which proved to hinder their growth and success online. The band’s fans eventually shared the same frustration, with livestreams often cut off, given a restart, and so on. Viewers would then just choose to let go.
“Before kasi, pahirapan po kami sa internet. Wala pa po etong PLDT Home. May nag-sponsor sa’min para lang makabili kami ng WiFi,” Gigi recalled.
Switching to PLDT Home Fibr has since helped Gigi and her band keep livestreams crisp, smooth, and interactive. It was all thanks to PLDT Home’s reliably fast and stable internet.
“Sobrang laking ginhawa po sa livestreaming namin. Sobrang bilis ng internet namin! Yung mga fans, sobrang happy nila sa livestreaming. Ever since nag-PLDT Home po ako, hindi na siya patigil-tigil. Kinakaya niya yung resolution ng camera. I can finally say I have 1000 Mbps!” Gigi enthused.
She’ll be a leading lady in an international show soon
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Singing isn’t just Gigi’s forte. In case you missed it, Gigi will be Gerald Andersons’s leading lady in an international series, Hello, Heart, that will premiere on iQiyi. Though it’s her first leading role, this isn’t Gigi’s first time to show her acting skills. She actually appeared in the hit 2020 movie Four Sisters Before the Wedding as Love Mae Tete.
In a separate interview with ABS-CBN, Gigi shared her excitement over the leading role. “Excited ako at masaya ako dahil pangarap din siya ng nanay ko. Gusto niya akong mag-artista. Ako, singer talaga.”
She’s got exciting things cooking up
A good problem on the rise: Gigi and her band are now busier than ever. “Very happy kami ngayon ng banda. Tuloy-tuloy yung projects, ang dami naming ginagawa everyday. Siguro yung pahinga na lang namin is yung tulog na lang talaga. Pero sabi ng ka-banda ko, ito na yung peak, ito na yung matagal nating pinagtrabahuhan, yung passion natin na-re-recognize na ng maraming tao, we are inspiring many people. We are very happy,” the songstress shared.
Gigi also has an upcoming album carrying eight tracks. The Gigi Vibes’ debut single “Sakalam” just dropped last October 11 on ABS-CBN Star Music’s YouTube channel. A ballad written for those feeling a sense of mixed longing and angst toward a former lover, “Sakalam” now has close to 500,000 music video views as of writing.
As for the rest of the tracks, Gigi teased a mix of alternative, pop, and rock. Will fans get to hear traces of Avril Lavigne, Paramore, Whitney Houston, and Mariah Carey — some of Gigi’s musical influences — in the album? They will just have to wait and see.
She’s a huge dreamer
Still, Gigi remains a dreamer, looking forward to more opportunities like doing TV commercials and singing teleserye theme songs. She envisions sharing these achievements with her bandmates, her mom, and her fans, all of whom have always been there since the beginning.
To fellow dreamers, Gigi, who is about to spend her busiest and most #blessed Christmas in her career ever, has a beautiful piece of advice: “Kahit walang-wala ka, kahit wala kang gamit, you just have to pursue your dream. Kung anong meron ka, kung ano ‘yung nasa harap mo, just start with something. It will not work unless you decide to do something. You just have to start.”
She will headline a holiday concert this December!
Looking forward to spending the holidays with a bang like Gigi? Fun things await both the singer’s fans and PLDT Home subscribers in December as Gigi and The Gigi Vibes hold their first digital concert, to be produced by ABS-CBN Events.
Loyal PLDT Home subscribers like Gigi can also enjoy PLDT Home’s biggest promo yet: the PLDT Home Rewards Grand Giveaway! Subscribers can win as much as Php 5 million cash in the grand raffle! Hurry, promo ends December 8, 2021!
Aside from the cash prize, premium smart home must-haves are at stake — including a gaming suite featuring world-class gaming router ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000, a gaming mesh chair, a Samsung 17-inch TV, and a Sony PlayStation 5! There will also be monthly draws with exciting consolation prizes such as mobile phones, laptops, and e-vouchers from Shopee & GrabFood for a total of 35 winners per month. Ten (10) lucky PLDT Home subscribers will also get the chance to win P150K worth of SM Gift Certificates each from October to November.
How to join the PLDT Home Rewards Grand Giveaway
If you’re an existing PLDT Home customer, you are eligible to join the PLDT Home Rewards program. You can do this by visiting the MVP Rewards website here or downloading the MVP Rewards mobile app and clicking the SIGN-UP button. Fill out the online form, verify the details, and link your PLDT Home account. Just click on the PLDT Home Rewards logo and key in your PLDT Home account and landline numbers to link. You can enroll in up to five (5) PLDT accounts.
You can start earning crystals through PLDT transactions and be qualified to get raffle entries. Each member automatically gets one (1) Grand Giveaway raffle entry for every five (5) crystals they earn. Find more details here.
Are you a fan of Gigi? Tell us about it in the comments!