The road to fame and fortune has become shorter.
Darren Espanto, in a short span of time, has managed to gain a sizable following already in Toronto from the time he won a singing contest in the Philippines.
Darren Lyndon Gonzales Espanto (born May 24, 2001) is a Filipino-Canadian singer. Born in Calgary, Canada to Filipino parents, at ten years old, he won the Masters Finals of Pinoy Singing Sensation in Edmonton. He made his first television appearance at the age of ten when he joined YTV's reality television The Next Star in 2012, he became the youngest finalist in the history of the show to be included in the Top 6.
Espanto rose to prominence after joining the first season of the The Voice Kids Philippines, the youngest artist who staged a major solo concert at the age of 13. the youngest artist who had 5 single records at the age of 12, and the youngest artist to have an all original solo album. The youngest artist in the world whose two songs placed number 1 and 2 in the iTunes Chart Single category less than 10 hours after it has been uploaded. Most of Espanto's shows and concerts are always sold out. In August 2014, Espanto became part of ABS-CBN's Star Magic.
Espanto released his first full-length self-titled studio album, Darren, in December 2014. It debuted number 1 on Philippine charts of Apple's iTunes store and Astro Chart, and is now a certified Gold
At the age of 10 Espanto won during the Masters Finals of Pinoy Singing Sensation on November 19, 2011, singing Alone by Celine Dion.
2012–2013: The Next Star
In 2012, ten-year-old Espanto auditioned for YTV's reality television The Next Star Season 5, singing Bruno Mars' "Grenade". One of the judges, Keshia Chanté, got emotional and told him that his voice was 'unbelievable' and 'controlled'. Judge Mark Spicoluk, on the other hand, stated that he 'lacked stage presence'. Nevertheless, after Chante asked him if he was ready, she and Tara Oram said yes, earning him the 'golden ticket'.
He continued to be selected onto its Top 6, singing pop songs such as Rihanna's "Only Girl (in the World)" and Maroon 5's "Payphone" among others. He also had his own single and music video entitled "Gotta Give A Little Extra", as well as two other singles, "Now" and "Oh Oh Santa" with the other five finalists. Ultimately, he lost to the 14-year-old Brooklyn Roebuck, after singing his own single during the finals. He was the youngest finalist in the history of the show to be included in the Top 6.
2014: The Voice Kids
During ABS-CBN's The Voice Kids Season 1 auditions aired on June 1, 2014, Espanto performed Jessie J's "Domino", which he formerly sang during The Next Star at age 11. Coaches Sarah Geronimo and Bamboo Mañalac both pressed their buttons for him, vocalizing that he 'can be groomed to be a recording artist, a total package'. Although Espanto revealed that he was Manalac's front act during one of his concerts in Canada, he still picked Geronimo stating that she could help him a lot in the music industry.
Espanto eventually advanced to the finals after singing Whitney Houston's "One Moment in Time" during the live semi-finals held at the Newport Performing Arts Theater in Resorts World Manila. He was the second one to receive the highest votes, after Lyca Gairanod. Salonga, one of the coaches commented that Espanto is a phenomenal while his mentor Geronimo stated that he was 'a winner and a complete package'.
In the finale during the first round which was a power ballad theme, Espanto performed Basil Valdez's song "Ngayon" which received a standing ovation including the three coaches. Salonga left a warning to older performers; "To every person Darren idolized, this is a warning to all of you: this kid will outshine you someday".[Note 3] Once again, Geronimo praised him and said that despite his talent, Espanto never showed superiority and instead, listened to his coach. On the final round of the competition, Espanto accompanied himself with a piano during his performance of "You Are My Song" while having a duet with the original singer Martin Nievera, which received a standing ovation. At the end of the competition, he once again came in second after Lyca Gairanod.
Fast forward to June 2015 and the Queen Elizabeth Theatre was pocked 75% of capacity to watch this fast-rising star perform and entertain the shrieking fans.
Congratulations to producer Belinda Reyes and his staff for a great show.
|Belinda Reyes with Darren Espanto and JayR.|
|Darren Espanto with Britney Waito.|
|Darren Espanto, Candace David, and Jay-R.|
|Darren Espanto with Candy Crush.|
|JayR with Britney Waito|
|Darren Espanto with Katherine Reyes.|