There is a reason why Darren Espanto is often hailed as 'The Total Performer' - not just by his bevy of fans, but by the media as well. The 15-year old is a top-notch pop singer, a pianist, drummer, and saxophonist. A musical journey that began at talent shows has taken him to the peak of the teen pop music world. Today, Darren Espanto is one of the most sought-after and bankable teen pop stars around, and his fan base is not limited to his homeland Philippines or his adopted motherland Canada. In the United States and across the world, Darren has a devoted fan following - loyal legions of 'Darrenatics' - who make sure that every concert of their favourite star is packed and every album a chartbuster. So, what's the allure of this youngster who has captivated the world in the course of his artistic journey? Let's try to demystify the phenomenon that Darren Espanto is!
The Meteoric Rise to Stardom
The world first caught a glimpse of Darren as a 10-year old virtuoso who won the 2011 Pinoy Singing Sensation competition in Canada. That was just anindication of greater things to come. In 2012, he contested in the hit Canadian reality television show, 'The Next Star', where he rubbed shoulders with some of the best in the showbiz. Darren went on to create history as the youngest finalist in the history of the show to be included in the Top 6. In the course of his stint in the show, he also performed an original single titled 'Gotta Give A Little Extra', which was well-received.
In 2014, Darren returned to his home turf to contest in the inaugural season of the Philippine reality television show, 'The Voice Kids'. He proved his potential as the ultimate show-stopper at the competition that at one point, the famous Philippine singer Lea Salonga went on record to express her admiration for him in these words, "To every person Darren idolized, this is a warning to all of you: this kid will outshine you someday."
Though he lost to LycaGairanod in the final round, Darren managed to repeat what he did in Canada through 'The Next Star' - establish himself as a shining star in the firmament of teen pop music in both these countries.
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What Makes Darren So Special
Darren's USP is his versatility. He is not just a gifted singer but also a musician who can play the piano, saxophone and even the drums. In other words, he has mastered rhythm and beat in a way that many of his peers couldn't even dream of. It is this all-round artistry that sets him apart from the rest and earns him the nickname, 'The Total Performer.'
To his fans across the east and the west, he is a rare combination of a talent that is both exotic and home-grown at once. He can switch effortlessly between genres, may it be Western Pop or Easter OPM. And this is precisely the reason for his popularity and marketability in both Asia and North America.
Post 'The Voice Kids', Darren decided to move to Philippines in a bid to further his OPM and acting career. Under the able guidance of his coach and mentor, Sarah Geronimo, his career has flourished in the last couple of years. In late 2014, he released his debut studio album, 'Darren', under MCA Music Inc. label. The album, which debuted at No.1 on the Apple iTunes store, was the most expensive studio album by a Filipino artist and has since been certified Platinum. It also pavedthe way for Darren Espantobecoming the youngest artist in Philippines to top the charts. His second album, 'Be withMe', was released amidst much fanfare in 2016.
Behind the Curtains
As Darren continues his journey topping charts, performing before packed crowds around the world and mesmerising one and all, due credit has to be given to his parents, who were instrumental in shaping their son's career. By the time he was two, the boy was singing classic Disney songs from films like 'The Lion King' and 'Sleeping Beauty' with such conviction that the Espantos realised that their son was special. Music runs in the Filipino blood, and Lyndon and MarinelEspanto spent a considerable amount of time and energy honing the skills of little Darren. This has made him what he is today - a brilliant singer who is a perfect fusion of the two worlds. In Darren Espanto, we have an artist who bridges the gap between the east and the west with his singular gift. He is the perfect example of the notion that music is a universal language, and we are sure that he will continue to entertain us in the years to come.
Darren's cover version of Sia's 'Chandelier' received universal acclaim, with celebrities like Nicki Minaj, Jessie J and Ashton Kutcher praising his performance.