SIMPLY GRATEFUL was a concept that Mario created for a possible radio show a couple of years ago. He wasn't able to commit to the on-air gig. The show has a different name that he had also created and is currently hosted by a good old friend. But, all things work together and it became the title of his 2nd solo music project.
Two songs from this album contain originals that Mario penned for his late mother - Cecilia Ocampo Lajarca. The songs are "I'M LETTING YOU GO" and "MAMA." The former was more indirect but gives you that hint of Bruno Mars or a more rock ballad interpretation. The latter, was more of a pop/r & b feel. The lyrics of "Mama" painted the real-life trials his mother went through when he was just a yong boy. His mother died of pneumonia in 2011 while Mario was doing voluntary work and performing in a village in Mindanao, Philippines.soft
"YOU ARE" was written the night before he reported for a job interview. Back in 2002, Singapore's economic crisis was seen and felt everywhere. It's a simple affirmation of his faith. He got the job that same month.soft
"I WISH" was a collaboration with his College band mates who, surprisingly are all based also in Singapore. NEXTEP's keyboardist, Shel arranged it, Mike played the guitars, Noyti played the drums, & their new bassist Raffy played along in the studio. Grace & Edgar are the backing vocals. This track is a good farewell song.soft
"YOU'RE THE GREATEST GIFT" is one song where he found his eldest daughter listening to it on his iPod and caught her in tears while she was listening to it in her room. Back then, it was simply an acoustic demo. Abigail Tan lent her soulful voice on this song. In 2012, this song bagged the first prize award for "Celebrate Singapore" on Orchard road.soft
"DAKILANG KATAPATAN" (Arnel De Pano), "ULAN" (Andrei Dionisio), "DAKILA KA"(Boyet Navajas), "PANGINOONG HESUS"(Robert More), "SI HESUS ANG BAHALA" (Soc Villanueva) are pop-gospel songs that Mario loved singing whenever he gets the chance to perform at Christian events and concerts in the Philippines and in Singapore, most especially for the Filipino audience. His daughter, Hannah appears on "Panginoong Hesus." She doesn't speak Tagalog but sang Tagalog lines on that song that sounds really heartfelt.soft
"TAKE ME OUT OF THE DARK" penned by Gary Valenciano, is a to-go-to song when life and stress gets in to you. The powerful line "I don't wanna be there...I don't wanna be alone..take me out of the dark" is as real as it gets. While "ALL THAT I NEED" by Corrine May gives you that longing to embrace someone you've been missing for a very long time. The line "You're the air that helps me breathe..." makes you realise even more how precious relationships and connections are. Both songs appeared on his debut CD back in 2004 with a fresher mix for the latter track.soft
All in all, the album is an expression of thankfulness, being inspired, and living by grace. Mario believes that in life, we should be "SIMPLY GRATEFUL."
More about Mario:
Mario started recording, translating and writing songs professionally at the age of 15. He has composed songs for artists from Universal Records/PolyEast, Octo-EMI, Alpha, & STAR Records Philippines, as well as EQ Music Singapore. His voice was also heard on various music albums and projects under PAPURI! - Far East Broadcasting Company's music arm in the Philippines. Under its mentorship programme for young performers, he was given the chance to record on a couple of albums like PAPURI!12, PAPURII!14, PAPURI!15, PAMASKONG PAPURI!, & IKALIMANG SALMO. From there, Mario progressed to various live music platforms and genres. Back in 2004, Mario’s debut album was released and distributed in Singapore. It was a double-disc project that include both vocals and accompaniment tracks. The self-titled album was published on articles by Harper's Bazaar, Elle, Female, Zao Bao, Lime, The Straits Times, & The New Paper. In 2012, sis song entry for the "Celebrate Christmas in Singapore Songwriting Contest" titled "YOU'RE THE GREATEST GIFT" was proclaimed as the winning song for the event. He performed alongside Abigail Tan & Mike Fabie to thousands of people on Orchard road on Christmas day that same year.soft
Connect with Mario Lajarca Jr. Drop him a lovely note through his supermariolovesyou page on Soundcloud or at Linkedin for booking or music/creative collaborations or music performance invitations. He'll be "SIMPLY GRATEFUL."
Some of Mario's e-links:
Live version of "I'M LETTING YOU GO" featuring Joshie Woshie (Joshua Wong) on the cajon.
Live version of "I WISH" with Mike Fabie at the Singapore Arts Museum
Live performance at GCF of "SI HESUS ANG BAHALA"soft
Broadcast feature with Joey De Leon of Mel & Joey for GMA7 along with DJ Harry & DJ Neil
Live at Suntec City Convention Centre, Singapore
Live at Esplanade's outdoor stage with Bad For Boys
Live at Bartley CC, Singapore with Jerus Del Socorro
An interview with Audrey F at S.O.F.T. (old but gold
Live Benny Hester cover at Bartley CC, Singapore
Live at Esplanade's outdoor stage with Babes Conde, Tiny, Robert, Rey and the band
Taping for 700 Club Asia at Westwood Avenue, Singapore
"Great is Thy Faithfulness" featuring Babes Conde on keyboard.