Sherwin Itac (left) and Gigliola Jamora Yulo are ``Soaring Nurses`` in Expat Duets.
PHOTO BY JONATHAN YBERA/EXPAT MEDIA
DUBAI – The next time you see Sherwin Itac wear a wig on stage, don’t be surprised.
“The most memorable thing that happened to me when I joined Expat Duets is the wig thing. For the first time I got to wear a wig in a duet competition. But mind you, we always end up in the top 3 whenever I wear a wig!” the Abu Dhabi-based Itac told Expatmedia.net.
The limelight is back on Itac and Gigliola Jamora Yulo, Abu Dhabi-based nurses who are more popularly known in the local music community as prolific singing champions.
The two power vocalists have paired up for Expat Duets, putting them through six weekly singing showdowns culminating in grand finals on March 10, 7 p.m. at Vegas Dubai. The “soaring nurses”—a name they have coined for themselves in Expat Duets—are competing with five other duets for the championship.
Could the spotlight shine brighter on them this time? They are keeping their fingers crossed and are hoping for the best, Itac said.
Yulo said she relishes the opportunity. “In the UAE, I worked as a nurse but I still wish to have the limelight again,” she told Expatmedia.net.
Yulo, 45, toured Asia to join compete as a singer, becoming the grand champion in one competition in Korea in 2008. It was perhaps an easy feat since she grew up around music. Her aunt was the vocal coach of renowned Philippine singer Kuh Ledesma.
Itac, 41, won his first singing championship since he was 14 and has been raking in awards ever since.
How do they switch from nursing to performing?
“It’s a bit of a struggle,” Yulo said, “I am a performer by heart so shifting my profession to nursing was not easy. When I graduated from college, I didn’t practice my nursing profession right away. I travelled to Asian countries as a vocalist.”
But it’s a symbiotic relationship, Itac told Expatmedia.net. “Because of my profession, I have been able to work here in the UAE and help my family… especially my sisters whom I assisted to work abroad,” he said.
Let’s get to know them better with their Q&A:
Describe yourself when you’re not performing or holding a microphone.
Yulo: When I’m not performing, I spend my day organizing my home. I’m a very simple, down-to-earth person. I hate fake people.
Itac: I often juggle my time with work and other activities that interest me, like joining groups and meeting up with friends. Most of my friends think I’m funny, but I’m really a spiritually intense person with the ability to sting or charm.
What’s your life like in the UAE?
Yulo: Life in the UAE is a bit of a struggle of me at the moment. I am a performer by heart so shifting my profession to nursing was not easy. When I graduated from college, I didn’t practice my nursing profession right away. I travelled to Asian countries as a vocalist. In the UAE, I worked as a nurse but I still wish to have the limelight again.
Itac: It’s better than in my own home country because I have been able to achieve some of my goals here. That’s why I consider this country my home away from home.
Can you tell us more about your job and what you do?
Yulo: I am currently exploring job options but I’m not giving up.
Itac: I am a nurse working in a special surgical unit and I take care of various patients who need surgical intervention and individuals in need of close monitoring such as those coming from the operating room or intensive care areas.
Have you always loved music? Tell us about the first time you performed in public.
Yulo: Music is my passion. My first exposure was during high school when I joined the singing contest and I won, so I represented the school in a bigger singing contest.
Itac: I grew up surrounded by music. All members of our family became choir members at one point in their lives. I remember singing on stage for the first time. I sang our provincial hymn, Awit sa Bohol when suddenly I forgot the second line and I had to ask my grandmother—over the microphone—what the next line was. It was a bit embarrassing but I carried on singing, with the encouragement of my granny.
Who is your musical inspiration and why?
Yulo: My aunt who was a jazz singer and the vocal coach of Kuh Ledesma.
Itac: There is no one in this world who inspires me more than my grandmother when it comes to music. She is not only my first music teacher who taught me proper techniques in singing but is also a very strong critic of my performances, even until now.
If you could describe your current life in a song, what would that song be?
Yulo: “Try it on My Own” by Whitney Houston.
Itac: I think the song that describes my current life is “I Believe I Can Fly” because my life now is full of hurdles, but I believe that with God’s grace, I can fly above these hurdles.
What achievements in your life are you particularly proud of?
Yulo: Travelling to some countries and meeting wonderful people are the achievements I will treasure forever.
Itac: Being the eldest and having been born in a poor family, I could say that graduating as a nurse and working as one is one feat that I could be proud of. Because of my profession, I was able to work here in the UAE and help my family, especially my sisters whom I assisted to work abroad as well. Another achievement is that I was able to travel to different countries while working here. Lastly, I was able to hone my singing talent by joining several singing contests here in the UAE like the Expat Duets.
What is your motto in life?
Yulo: Live life to the fullest. Believe that everything is possible.
Itac: Follow what is right and you could never go wrong!
Best lesson you’ve learned in life.
Yulo: Never start with negative thoughts.
Itac: Trust no one but God.
Your message to other expats in the UAE.
Yulo: Live, laugh and enjoy life and never regret anything.
Itac: Life is not always a bed of roses without its thorns. Be ready to get hurt if you want to appreciate the real beauty of living life as an expat.
What: Expat Duets (Grand Finals)
When: March 10, 7 p.m.
Where: Vegas Dubai, Holiday Inn Bur Dubai
Tickets: Entrance is free
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