Focus on the Philippines: Is Filipino singer John Borja the new Stone Temple Pilots vocalist?

John Borja, a 27-year-old singer from Manila, is reportedly the top candidate to be the new frontman of the American rock band. Plus: acoustic duo MYMP are coming to Dubai.
Filipino singer John Borja could be the next member of the Stone Temple Pilots. Courtesy John Borja
Filipino singer John Borja could be the next member of the Stone Temple Pilots. Courtesy John Borja

Filipino singer John Borja may just become the new vocalist of the legendary American rock band Stone Temple Pilots. According to reports on multiple music industry websites, Borja, 27, is the top candidate for the frontman job, which was vacated when Scott Weiland died of a drug overdose last December at the age of 48.

In February, the remaining members of Stone Temple Pilots — guitarist Dean DeLeo, bassist Robert DeLeo and drummer Eric Kretz — announced they were looking for a new vocalist and were opening auditions to global contenders. “If you think you have what it takes to front this band, record with this band and tour with this band, we would dig hearing from you,” the band said.

In March, merely a month after the search began, Borja posted a series of audition videos on YouTube, including one that featured his performance of a medley of 12 Stone Temple Pilots songs.

Last week, Borja posted images on his Facebook page from a trip to Los Angeles, California, where he met the band’s bassist Robert DeLeo and Def Leppard’s guitarist Phil Collen, both of whom play together in the blues band Delta Deep.

“Robert and Phil thank you so much!!!” Borja posted. Toryn Green, the former vocalist of the hard rock band Fuel, commented on Borja’s photos: “Ready to tear up the planet? Round 3 … Coming up!”

On social media, fans are speculating that Borja was flown to the United States for the last phase of his auditions with the band.

Earlier this week, Borja told Radio Republic: “As of now I can’t give the full details yet, but there are clues or hints that seem to be favourable to me. I respect the guys’ decision, whatever it is. It would be my honour to play music with them.”

Borja said that replacing Weiland will be a challenging task for the chosen vocalist. “He is irreplaceable. No doubt about it. But I think I can carry his legacy through my personality, despite being Filipino.”

Borja added that if he is chosen to be the frontman of Stone Temple Pilots, the band’s sound will become “more melodic and powerful”.

“That’s the kind of voice I can provide to STP,” he said.

Prior to recording his audition videos, Borja said that he watched the band’s past concerts and performances, taking note of Weiland’s singing and performance style: “I was inspired by the intensity of his attitude. While we were recording, it came to a point when I thought I was him — weird, but that was my state of mind during that time.”

Influenced by the music of the Bee Gees, Bon Jovi and Neil Young, Borja has been performing in venues across Manila since 2005. “I sing six days a week, every single day, 30 songs a night,” said Borja, who is married and has a child.

He told Pinoytuner: “Should this opportunity be given to me, I think that aside from my personal gain, it’d be the perfect way to showcase the talent of the Filipino musician.”

If Borja secures the gig, he will follow in the footsteps of Arnel Pineda, who became the lead singer of the American rock band Journey in 2007 after lead guitarist Neal Schon saw Pineda’s cover performances of Journey’s songs on YouTube.

Formed in 1989, the Stone Temple Pilots are best known for their hit tracks Interstate Love Song, Creep and Wicked Garden. They have released seven albums, including their latest, High Rise, in 2013.

During their announcement for their hunt for a new vocalist back in February, the band said: “No one will ever ‘replace’ Scott — that was never the intent. The intent is for Stone Temple Pilots to continue on, to evolve and to do what we do: make music.”

Acoustic duo MYMP coming to Dubai

The platinum-selling Filipino acoustic act MYMP are performing in Dubai on October 14 in a concert titled Strictly Acoustic. The show will be held in Club of Asia at Wafi Mall.

Comprised of vocalist Jana Lazara and guitarist Chin Alcantara, MYMP catapulted into fame in 2003 with their hit track A Little Bit, followed by 2005’s Get Me. They have released nine albums, including their 10th anniversary record, Electrified, in 2014.

MYMP stands for Make Your Momma Proud, a tribute to Alcantara’s departed mother. The duo previously performed in Dubai back in March of 2014.

Tickets for the show are priced Dh100 (standing) and Dh150 (seated). Doors open at 9pm, with MYMP expected to take the stage at 10pm. For more information, call 050 833 0644.

artslife@thenational.ae

Published: September 22, 2016 04:00 AM

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