Erik Santos wants to be Martin Nievera. Or Gary V. Or, yes, Zsa Zsa or Regine.
Not content being merely the local Prince of Pop following his rise to stardom when he won the ABS-CBN singing competition Star in a Million in 2004, Santos wants to be an icon.
Icon, says the Oxford dictionary, is a person or thing regarded as a representative symbol or as worthy of veneration.
It isn't easy, he admits.
Especially when the music industry is growing by leaps and bounds and it's hard enough keeping up with trends and new singers and maintaining one's popularity, he says.
And then there are contemporaries of equal caliber panting after the same untouchable spot: Christian Bautista, Sarah Geronimo and Rachel Ann Go.
Times have changed
"We're happy because all of us are able to maintain what we have kung ano man ang nasa career namin," he tells Yahoo! OMG Philippines at his press conference last week for his PowER IKons concert. "Pero ngayon, hindi ka dapat mangampante kasi ang bilis ng pagpalit, lalo na sa music."
Then, he says, "Maglabas ka ng isang single, isa, dalawang taon ang airplay. Halimbawang 20 years ka na sa industry, yung kinanta mo mare-recognize pa rin kahit after many years."
Now, "ang bilis ng change sa music," he laments. "Kami, masaya na kami ng dalawang or tatlong buwan na airplay sa radio, kase napapalitan kaagad."
Tribute to icons
This is why PowER IKons, his upcoming concert on August 13 and 18 at the Music Museum pays tribute to the singers he looks up to and who have become icons by their sheer staying power and songs that have become classics.
Erik, who turns 29 in October, admits growing up listening to the music of Martin Nievera, Basil Valdez, Zsa Zsa Padilla, Gary Valenciano and Regine Velasquez. "Yung sa previous concert ko, powerful ang songs. This time, powerful din, pero more of tribute yung mga kanta. Lahat ng mga sikat na kanta ng mga music icons," Erik explains. That includes superstar Nora Aunor.
"Bilang isang singer, gusto ko rin pong maging isang icon," Santos confesses. And, he adds, he has been in the industry long enough to create his own signature sound.
As competition is tight in the music industry, Erik keeps up with the times by, in his words, reinventing himself. "Like with my new album, I have a new composition there. And most of my songs are original," he says.
Called Awit Para Sa 'yo, the album is his contribution to the OPM cause because it bucks the trend of covers and remakes. Plus, the original songs are "from great composers like Ryan Cayabyab, Soc Villanueva, Ogie Alcasid," he says. "Yung mga ganoong composers, na pag narinig mo yung mga kanta nila, wow, impressive!"
Erik also tells Yahoo! OMG Philippines that Rachel Ann Go and Mark Bautista remain his good friends even if they have transferred to GMA Network. He is appearing with Rachelle Ann Go in the musical Little Mermaid, due to open in November.
Erik's PowER IKons concert, directed by GP Sampedro with the musical direction of Homer Flores, will be held on August 13 and 18 at the Music Museum.