Marlon Littaua: Breaking local singing traditions at 50

He started singing rather late at 19, unlike his siblings who began joining local amateur singing competitions in high school.

But for Marlon Littaua, one of the most enduring balladeers of Tuguegarao City, singing will always be a lifetime passion, equally embraced by her wife Beverly (nee Velasco), a banker.

At 50, the husky voice nurtured by hundreds of gigs, covers and front acts coupled by an artist’s discipline, is miraculously intact there’s no way to bid it goodbye for now. In fact, it was the same suave voice which edged more than a hundred singers here and abroad for a crack at a two-minute fame in last year’s “Stars on 45” singing competition on national television.

Over a cup of instant coffee, Marlon readily accepted the invitation of the Philippine Information Agency in Tuguegarao for this interview.

“To pass the first audition of a prestigious competition would have been enough for me, “he said.

His passport to the semi-finals has been Stevie Wonder’s “All Is Fair In Love,” his personal choice during auditions at ABS-CBN one afternoon in September last year.

He impressed management after a less-than two minutes performance. The rest? They went home after two lines, for good. Unknowingly, he was about to enter a process inside a presumed snake’s pit where minutest mistakes could be a venom to end all ambitions.

From the 200 who pass the first test, only 20 made it on the third level of auditions. After that, a voice coaching sessions was held where he was forced to muster an unfamiliar Chris Brown’s “Forever” for three days.

“Interesting but those sessions taught me how to walk, stand and move my body while performing,” Littaua said.

The last three remaining auditions were hell to the qualifiers despite the presence of voice coaches and mentors. Expectedly, he gave a convincing cover of Jeffrey Osborne’s “On the Wings of Love” and with the other final 13, underwent two more auditions with the networks’ executives and finally, met the people who are likewise behind “Showtime”.

By mid- September, the cameras for national television started rolling for the daily competition which he handily tied with a soul singer. By this time, the local boy started to gain encouragement from netizens. Why, Marlon was on a breakthrough show for those 45 years old and above singers, a first in Philippine television.

“I have conditioned myself to lose during the semi-finals. I’ll always treasure the experience as it gave me priceless tips to hone me further as a performer,” Marlon added.

For all his worth, the guy who, works at the Philippine Postal Corporation in Tuguegarao, was pitted against professional singers here and abroad, with handlers (managers) to boot and were already recording artists in their own right.

Admittedly, Littaua was the only contestant without a handler.

As a performing artist, he feels his likes are not supported by the local governments and that art in this part of the world is never compensated.

Despite the meager talent fees of artists, Marlon said he keeps on exercising his vocal chords simply because he enjoys what he is doing.

“I can’t think of other passion except to sing and perform,” the father of three and a grandfather of one, said.

As to the strunggling young artists in the city, he has this to say: “continue practice and never be contented with what you. The biggest rule is to keep your feet firmly planted on the ground”.

As a show of force during the Pav-vurulun ‘Afi’ Festival, Marlon and his fellow “Stars” alumni performed in a benefit concert Sunday this week for the Federation of Senior Citizens of the city.

Earlier, Seasons 1 and 2 graduates of the show formed themselves in January this year to provide assistance to senior citizens through concerts in the country.

Who says singing is not forever? Tuguegarao’s Marco Sison knows better.

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