by Imelda James | Fil-Am American Idol finalist Jessica Sanchez was in the country recently to perform several shows and work on her Filipino citizenship, as she revealed in an exclusive interview at Winford Manila Resort & Casino where she was billeted for one week.
When the then teen phenom made it to the final round of American Idol seven years ago, musically-gifted Filipinos around the world beamed with pride—but were not surprised. A talent for singing is an almost universally innate trait among Pinoys, and Sanchez is certainly no exception.
Born in California, Jessica Sanchez was only two years old when her parents noticed her talent. By the time she was 10, Sanchez was performing in various shows, which culminated with her career-igniting moment on 2012’s season 11 of American Idol.
Since then, Sanchez has released one album and three EPs, and has collaborated with Grammy-award winning artist Ne-Yo. Their single, “Tonight”, currently has over 18 million views on YouTube. In 2016, Sanchez returned to the American Idol stage, not as a contestant, but to perform her now famous rendition of Celine Dion’s “The Prayer”, which many netizens called a “show-stealer”.
That same year, celebrated Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli handpicked Sanchez to join him as a guest performer on two of his shows during his World Tour, an honor that she considers to be among the top highlights of her career.
Since late 2018, Sanchez has been in Manila performing shows while working on her Filipino citizenship and taking some time out from her hectic schedule to indulge in some R&R.
“I travel worldwide to work with many different artists and musicians while building myself as a brand,” shared Sanchez shortly before jetting back to the U.S. “I ended up getting sick from all the traveling so I spent the first week of the New Year ordering lots of room service, shopping at the mall across the road, and enjoying the live music by the roof deck pool at Winford.”
With 2 million followers on Facebook, Sanchez has a huge following for somebody who was an introvert as a student. “I was bullied in school to a certain extent,” said Sanchez. “I was a very quiet and shy person and for that reason I was made fun of.”
Rather than succumb to the usual taunts of teenage bullies, Sanchez channeled her creative juices to making music, inspired by one of the greatest voices of the 20th century.
“If I had the chance to meet any famous person, it would have been Whitney Houston. The one question I would ask her is, “how did you maintain your voice?”