US shows feature Filipino YouTube star

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Filipino-Canadian YouTube sensation Mikey Bustos’ latest video, Avicii’s “Wake Me Up,” was featured over the weekend in top-rating TV shows in the United States.


Bustos, who is currently based in Manila and under contract with GMA 7, told the Inquirer that he “screamed for a good 10 minutes” when he received an e-mail inquiry from producers of the “Today” show, aired on NBC.

Bustos’ a cappella rendition of Aloe Blacc’s song was shown twice, on Friday and Saturday (March 21 and 22), in the “Today” segment dubbed “Webstatic,” which spotlights videos that are trending in the Net.

Bustos’ video was shown as well in the rival show, “Good Morning America” on ABC, on Saturday. The US news website The Huffington Post found the video “mind-blowing [since] all sounds were produced exclusively by [his] mouth or voice.”

Bustos played 14 characters and laid 36 vocal tracks for the video, including guitar and drum sounds. “Some sounds are doubled, or combine one or more sounds,” Bustos explained. “To achieve the same effect, you’ll need a choir of 36 people.”

It took seven and a half hours to record the song, another day to shoot and edit the video - all in all, three days “from start to finish, from planning to editing.”

Blacc, the original singer and cowriter of the song, shared the video on his fan page, Bustos related. “He said the video was great and made him smile.”

Bustos, who first broke into the scene as a finalist on “Canadian Idol” in 2003, is no stranger to cyberfame. His YouTube channel has become very popular largely due to his comedic “Filipino tutorial” series, which went viral in 2011.

Being featured in “Today” and “Good Morning America,” however, is particularly significant for Bustos, “because it showed once again that Filipinos live and breathe music and art.”


Pinoy details

Bustos, who grew up in Canada, made sure to insert proudly Pinoy details in the video, which has scored 234,285 hits since going online on March 15. In it, he wears a salakot and brandishes a walis tambo and walis tingting. He said he wanted to remind Filipinos “that we are world players, recognized [around] the globe as talented entertainers. The world embraces us and our skills. They don’t see us as a race … they just hear good music.”

The video is likewise meaningful on a personal level, he noted, because it showcases his vocal ability. “Music is my No. 1 passion, even before comedy. I’m obsessed with music and singing.”

He described the exposure on mainstream US television as “wonderful.”


It’s just starting to sink in, he said, “[but] now that I have an even bigger audience, I am thinking of new ideas.” Inquirer.net

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