It’s inevitable perhaps that Diego Gutierrez follows in the footsteps of his elders. He is, after all, from the Gutierrez clan that includes beauty queen-actress Ruffa, versatile actor Richard and screen icon Eddie Gutierrez, his grandfather. His grandmothers are music legend Pilita Corrales, mother of his father, Ramon Christopher and superstar Nora Aunor, mother of his Mama Lotlot de Leon, who is a winner of local and international acting awards. Much-awarded actor Boyet de Leon is also his lolo.
And the latest to enter the scene before him, his Ate Janine, has best actress awards to her name. The talent in the family is staggering, yet Diego does not let it faze him.
“I wouldn’t call it pressure,” he said, when asked at a Zoom press con last Thursday.
“Parang sobrang negative. Ang ginagawa ko lang, I use it as motivation. I want kung ano ang naabot ng family ko – si Ate Janine, si Mama, si Papa, si Uncle Richard, super decorated actors and actresses. I want to make sure na in my field, lalo la po akong na mo motivate, na i-inspire na galingan pa lalo ang ginagawa ko.”
Diego is forging a path in the music biz. He is writing and singing his own music.
“When I signed with Tito Leo Dominguez, kasabay din when I signed with my Uncle Mark Feist’s record label in the States. A few months before that, nag post lang ako ng stories sa Instagram na nag-gigitara, kumakanta, tapos nakita lang ng uncle ko na, uy ang galing mo palang kumanta,” he recalled shyly. “He told me, ‘You sing well para. You should come here in the US and we should record some music. Maybe we should think of a record label deal.”
The pandemic threw a monkey wrench on everyone’s plan. In Diego’s case, however, it became a time for creativity. He and his best friend, Wilde Quimpson, with guitarist Erick Walls, who has worked with the likes of Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson and Feist, came up with his breezy, acoustic-driven first single, “On a Dream,” to be released on February 5.
“Everyone in this world was affected by the pandemic. I’m just thinking everything happens for a reason,” he intoned, “Siguro kung hindi nag lockdown, hindi nabuo ang first single ko.
So I just believe that everything happens for a reason and in God’s perfect timing.”
Produced and arranged by Feist under Hitmakers Entertainment, “On a Dream” is a Taglish number inspired by Quimpson’s feelings for his significant other – while on lockdown. (“I’ve been on a dream, I’ve been on a dream. Pag gising sa umaga, Ikaw ang hinahanap ko yeah, No matter what time you call me, Imma be there when you’re lonely, Imma be there baby you know me”). The companion music video is also available to view on YouTube and is directed by Melvin Dave. The video gives a glimpse into Diego’s mind and his tender dreams of his ultimate dream girl, while serenading the viewer with his vocals.
“’Yung ibang nakasalang na kanta, gusto namin English and Tagalog, but eventually gusto namin to really push for the international stage, so we have to put out mostly English songs,” said Diego. “While we’re building my fanbase here, maglalabas muna kami ng mga taglish songs
The plan after February 5, said Diego, is for new music to drop after every six weeks. Some of the songs have been recorded, while others are still being prepared. It will be consistent, steady work. And Diego, inspired by his idol, Kobe Bryant, is ready to do the work and give his best.
“Sa lahat ng bagay na ginagawa ko, lagi nasa isip si Kobe Bryant kasi sa kanya ko nakuha ang mentality na gusto ko mag work hard. ‘Yung tinatawag niyang ‘mamba mentality.’ It’s not just sa basketball, it’s a way of life. Whatever you do, give your best, work hard and work smart. That’s what I’m doing now and hopefully maipasa ko sa mga tao.”
At 24-years-old, he knows what he wants – foremost of which is to inspire other young people to reach for their dreams.
“I just want to be able to inspire people like me. Dating nangangarap lang ako na gumawa ng kanta, ngayon andito na tayo, makakapag release na ng kanta. I just want to leave an impact when I get older to the younger generation na kaya nilang gawin ang gusto nila basta pagtrabahuhan, basta just always work hard for what they want to do, what they want to be. And eventually they’ll reach it.”