Singer Kenneth Laurente, dubbed as L.A. Master Balladeer by the Filipino-American community, has already released five singles, all with English lyrics. That’s not his intention, but may have to do with the natural flow of things in the city where the Hollywood Walk of Fame is.
The California-based talent, who has performed with the likes of Nonoy Zuniga, Lani Misalucha, and Jed Madela, is now, as part of his noble plan, releasing a Tagalog piece for his latest single. His goal is “to focus on representing the Filipino culture in Los Angeles.”
Laurente’s new digital single is called “Sayo Na,” which he recorded with rising act Klarrence in equal billing. The song, penned by Ryan Radaza and produced by Rasec Marc, is the theme song for “Tahanan” which was awarded the grand prize at Culver City Film Festival last year.
“’Sayo Na’ is the foundation of the relationship of the main characters in the movie, which led to it being a conversation between two singers,” Laurente said. “I’ve been a fan of Klarrence since her debut single so when I met her in the recording studio to record this song, I was so enthusiastic about it.”
“Sayo Na” is blessed with an embracing tune anchored on empowering Filipino lyrics. It captures the longing for something or someone, and conveys a sense of uncertainty and wonder common for someone in a new environment still finding a spot.
Kenneth added, “It also emphasizes the fight for love, whatever the obstacles that may arise, and serves as an emotional anchor for the film, providing the audience with a deeper understanding of the main character’s emotions.”
The song was written specifically for the film by writer-director Nicholas Barber and director of photography-producer Nichole Ruiz. It is a movie about a Filipino forced to immigrate to the United States with his family due to financial struggles. It’s a relatable tale for many Filipinos in foreign lands and gripping with human drama.
Laurente’s own story is not an easy walk to the stage. His career in L.A only began in 2019, or after getting out of the US military. Good thing he’s been singing all his life, having been a member of the choir, most notably in the Saint John Bosco Chorale of SJB Parish in Makati City. This membership led to a tour of Canada and Singapore in 2008 and 2012, respectively.
Laurente is also a member of Fil-Trio, a Fil-Am classical-crossover group, with Cristiani Rebada and Lyndon Apostol. They will perform at the concert of Jose Mari Chan and The Company, entitled Love In Other Words, set on February 25.
Asked to name some of his key influences, Laurente named Martin Nievera, Josh Groban, and Andrea Bocelli. He is set to perform with “Fil-Am Prince of Pop” Garth Garcia on January 27 in Los Angeles, and February 4 in Modesto, California.
“Being a performer here in Los Angeles is difficult,” Laurente pointed out, “It is necessary to have a stable job and income to finance your passion. I have my own home music studio where instruments and gears are very expensive. I have a 9 to 5 job while I’m perfecting my craft. On weekdays I have about two hours to work in my music studio or perform on weekends. It takes time, but the results are definitely worth it.”
Laurente’s new single “Sayo Na” is proof of such a priceless gem.