Carren's Pitch

Life by Design

12/17/2001

Lourd de Veyra: On Being Almost Famous

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

“I’M A BUM.” These are the words that Lourd de Veyra has in store for the inquisitive soul who asks what he does for a living. In truth, he is anything but that. Born on February 11, 1975, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, he is already straddling four different worlds. He is the lead singer of the jazz band, “Radioactive Sago Project”, who gave us the song “Gusto ko ng Baboy”. He hosts the show “Halo-Halo” on MYX. He writes for Today Magazine. Finally, just to temper his choice of eclectic jobs, he is also the Junior Associate at the UST Center for Creative Writing.

At the moment, he is the tightrope walker who endeavors to keep his balance between anonymity and fame. As the front man for “Radioactive Sago Project”, he cannot help but be faced with a public that already has expectations of his music and of him. There is always the pressure of giving in and the danger of finally selling out and, God forbid, playing music from “Earth, Wind, and Fire”.

It is difficult to realize that anonymity in the world is a priceless commodity. This lets the bearer of which gain access to freedom – the freedom of expression. There is no such thing as public opinion or massive rallies against your actions. Your only gauge is yourself.

So, what is a sell out? It is “somebody who does something against what he or she believes in just to fit in the mold”. Looking at Lourd, it seems impossible that this would happen. His long locks, dark-rimmed glasses, and worn sneakers all fairly scream that he is a man who doesn’t mind that he’s a little bit different – an attitude that isn’t limited to his fashion sense.

Perhaps his childhood helped mold him. “I lived in a house where we had hippies downstairs” and “funny smells would be coming out of the room every night.” In 2nd year high school, this professed geek was already in a band with other istambay’s around his home in Project 2. It was far from the stereotypical childhood of games and nap times. This world always struggles for conformity. Being different is asking for ridicule at the least. Yet, Lourd continues to maintain his sense of self. It is not everyday we actually hear someone use the terms Jungian synchronicity or über geek. Nor would they even notice that there is a difference between what people want and what people need. His words reveal a sophisticated mind that understands human nature.

Do not be misled; he is not an alien super brain. Just like everyone else, he watches TV, surfs the net, and needs that cup of coffee in the morning. He gets nervous performing in front of crowds and goes looking for that blast of alcohol or jigger of rum to calm him. He has also had his share of embarrassing moments.

Nevertheless, he constantly struggles against being stuck into an easily definable role in society. He does not sit well with the neatly packaged title of musician or poet. “I really get icky when I’m called both e.” He’d rather be seen as “somebody who writes poetry or somebody who writes music.” It comes with a little more syllables maybe but also a little less of an intimidating impact.

Lourd may be one of those insightful few who understands the price of fame. What most people dream of and crave, he puts aside. Tellingly, he describes the day he was recognized on the streets as a low point. It was the “start of something terrible. People recognize you. You have to be careful about what you do.”

True enough, fame is not everything. Lourd is merely happy doing what he wants to do. He has candidly admitted that music is the worst job to have. How’s the money? “Ha! Pathetic!” is his reply. It is really something he does out of love. For him, jazz echoes the intensity of the spirit – something everyone needs to be reminded of.

So, in the music scene, where singing Eric Gadd’s “Do You Believe in Me” will surely get your audience’s approval, Lourd continues to experiment. There will always be an audience who would not know what to make of his music and will clap only to make it stop, but that doesn’t bother him. “I would look up to all the guys who still don’t give a shit at whatever you say.”

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