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 Freestyle brings in new sound

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kenjch
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Registration date : 2008-11-03

PostSubject: Freestyle brings in new sound   Tue Nov 04, 2008 8:57 pm



More than a decade after it soared with such first hits as Before I Let You Go and So Slow, erstwhile Davao-based band Freestyle remains one of the first-rate groups at the forefront of live performances and recording. For a group whose only wish was to be able to perform before an audience, Freestyle has indeed come a long way.

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Since the band stormed the local music scene in 1996, there's no turning back for Freestyle, formed by Tat Suzara and Jinky Vidal. Tracing its humble beginnings at the Apo View Hotel in Davao, where it had its first gigs, Freestyle dauntlessly invaded the cut-throat music scene in Manila and made its own name in the local entertainment circuit.

"After 11 years, we are really very fortunate and blessed to still be around," asserts vocalist and lead guitarist Tat. "When we recorded our first album in Davao, we didn't even have plans of releasing it. But things paved the way for us to get to Manila, record an album, make hit songs and do concerts."

Tat formed Freestyle in 1996 with fellow ex-First Circle members Jinky and Gerard Banzon. In 1997, Tat's cousin, Top Suzara, joined Freestyle and became the band's frontliner with Jinky, the lone female member.

The group's version of Ogie Alcasid's single, Bakit Ngayon Ka Lang, stands as its biggest commercial hit to date, with the album reaching the quintuple platinum mark, registering sales of nearly a hundred thousand copies.

Aside from scoring big in recording, Freestyle also got the chance to perform alongside its music idols (Gary Valenciano, Martin Nievera, Pops Fernandez, Zsa Zsa Padilla, Lani Misalucha, Ogie), conquer big concert venues like the Big Dome and tour key cities around the globe for concerts.

In April 2005, vocalist Top left Freestyle unceremoniously. He was subsequently replaced by Mike Luis and Joshua Desiderio. Fortunately, Top's exit didn't greatly affect the group. Since the new members came in, the newcomers have blended well with the old-timers.

Last year, Freestyle came out with its latest album, Back at the Yard, its 10th release and fifth studio album of original songs. Produced at the backyard studio of drummer Gerard, hence the title, the album contains 16 tracks, with 13 original tunes written by Mike Luis, Rommel de la Cruz, Joshua and Jinky.

"Of course, it took time for us to adjust but it wasn't a major effort," Gerard shares. "Artistically, we work well together now. When it comes to music, we really help out each other. The new members brought in different influences that's why I can say our music has changed. Technically, the sound has also improved."

Freestyle will display that same sound when the group takes center stage with two other top OPM bands - Side A and M.Y.M.P. - in a major concert, Back To Back To Back: All Hits Live, Dec. 1, 8 p.m. at the Araneta Coliseum.

For the first time, audiences will witness one spectacular event as three of the hottest OPM acts come together in one major concert. All the bands will perform their greatest hits in one unforgettable night. The show is produced by Viva Concerts and Events.

Freestyle will do what they do best - endear themselves anew to the Filipino audience by singing the soundtrack of our lives in one eventful night
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