Canadian author and philosopher Matshona Dhliwayo said, “Beautiful souls are shaped by ugly experiences.”
In the case of singer, songwriter and entrepreneur Gari Escobar, he turned his early trials in life into his triumphs. He is an accomplished businessman and just recently, was awarded the 2020 Aliw Award Breakthrough Artist of the Year.
But success did not come fast nor easy. He admits to being bullied because he was very thin, with protruding ears and cooked teeth. He was called “Martian,” “bobo,” and “pangit.”
It was these heartaches, however, that served as his inspiration. His sad memories led him to write heartfelt compositions, such as his favorite single, “Tama Na.” In fact, he has written over 60 songs and collaborated with award-winning composer Vehnee Saturno for his 12-track album under Ivory Records.
“Marami nag di-discourage sa akin. Late na raw ako mag recording, pero sabi ko, kelan pa? Pag 70 na ako magsisisi na ako. Idol ko nga, si Michael Jackson was 54 years old pero na nagsasayaw pa. Marami pa akong gustong gawin. Gusto kong sumayaw habang kumanta, parang si Michael Jackson. Gusto ko gumawa mga songs na mga upbeat,” he said, “Kasi ang nangyari kasi sa akin, malungkutin kasi akong bata, lalo na pag may nambu-bully, nagsusulat ako. Until dumating ‘yung time na tinitingnan ko ‘yung mga sinulat ko, sabi ko, balang araw magiging mga kanta ito. Na inspire ako.”
Now, he describes himself as a “happy spirit” and plans to put a twist to his sad songs.
“Yung malulungkot ko pa nasulat, ang plano ko mga music, maging iba. May mga disco songs pag binasang mabuti, malulungkot ‘yung words. Para ‘yung mga makikinig, hindi naman iiyak nang iiyak.”
He also found a kinship with legendary performer Nora Aunor, who once also ruled both cinema with her screen presence and the airwaves with her magnificent voice. He found hope in how she would rise from being api. So apart from singing and songwriting, he also wants to go into filmmaking.
“This year, plano ko sa second album mag release ng kakaibang music. Magugulat mga tao, ay si Gari ba ‘yun? Nag enrol din ako kay Direk Brillante Mendoza kasi gusting gusto kong mag produce na ako rin magdirek. Nag enrol rin ako kay Cherie Gil at Jo Macasa. Pinag-aaralan ko rin ang style ng foreign directors para magdirek ako this year. Eto kasi pandemic, may tinuro sa mga Filipino ganto na ang panonood ng movie. Gaya ng Netflix, so kailangan lang ma-educate para maka adapt.
His wishlist includes working with actresses Bela Padilla, Rosanna Roces, and of course, his idol, Nora Aunor.
Along with his confidence as a performer and success as a distributor of 4Life products, he has found his niche and his mission. He has made it his advocacy to remind people that it is never too late to follow the desires of one’s hearts. He also wants to give hope to others by spreading words of encouragement and gratitude via his social media accounts.
“Napakagandang habit ang pinasasalamanatan natin ang Diyos everyday. At ang Diyos natutuwa rin,” he said.