by Bro. Anthony Capirayan, SSP
Sound and Style
Did Coach Bamboo teach you those?” I ask her in fun after she has soulfully crooned Judy Garland’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” embellished with kulot (riffs and runs). The vibration of her warm voice inside the conference room of PolyEast Records is still pulsating. I have goose bumps all over me, and I do not want them to go away.
“Siya lang gumagawa-gawa niyan,” her father Gilbert says proudly. Her mother Leah smiles in agreement. The young songbird has indeed been carving out a distinctive sound and style that make her stand out among the pool of singers.
Sassa Dagdag, now fourteen, was born to a family of artists. Her father was a band member, and her mother was a choreographer. She was barely seven when she discovered her own vocal chops. Teaming up with her brother Bryant, they made covers and uploaded them on YouTube. Their videos have been racking up views and accolades even up to now. But it was during the second season of The Voice Kids that her life took a different turn. The three coaches—Lea Salonga, Sarah Geronimo, and Bamboo—were floored by her own rendition of Sia’s “Chandelier.” Their hearts melted even more when she lullabied them with Edith Piaf’s “La Vie En Rose.” From then on, Sassa has taken her dream to a “higher octave.”
“A lot [of things] have changed since I joined The Voice. Yong dating pangarap ko na kumanta sa stage nagagawa ko na po,” she says. She considers Beyonce, Morisette Amon, and Jessica Sanchez as her musical inspirations.
“Sa style ng pagkanta naman po sobrang laki ng improvement. Yong mga placements ko po natatama ko na most of them compared before kasi uncontrollable siya. Pero dahil sa The Voice at dito din sa PolyEast nahasa po ako,” she adds.
With her unique singing voice and sweet charm, she scores a lot of shows all over the country and a couple of product endorsements. Despite her busy schedule, the Grade 9 schoolgirl manages to keep up with her studies at COGIC Montessori School in Angeles, Pampanga.
Family Is Love
But Sassa acknowledges that she would not have gone this far without her family. Their untiring support, cheerful encouragement, and constant guidance have led her to the limelight.
“Bago ako mag-perform nandiyan po sila sa gilid. Tinuturuan po nila ako. I’m very blessed to have them as my family.” She then flashes a thankful smile at her parents who are sitting at the end of the table.
Her parents have instilled in her to value even the smallest things for not everyone gets to have them. They also inspire her to see things in a positive light and to enjoy what she really loves to do. And so whenever naysayers throw negative comments on her or her performance, she simply shrugs her shoulders and holds her head up high. “Hindi ko na lang po pinapansin kasi alam ko naman po na hindi totoo,” she reasons. Rather than dwelling on the not-so-good remarks, she focuses her energies on making people happy in all her shows.
When not holding a mic to serenade her audience, Sassa picks up her paintbrush or calligraphy pen to feed her creative soul. Family weekend for her means jamming or watching movies with her family, and yes, with pizza to dig into.
Sassa has just released her debut album “Sassy Sassa.” The five-track album, which includes her first single “Kumakaba,” exhibits her versatility as an artist; it consists of catchy melodies in different genres—pop, R&B, jazz, and ballad. The whole compilation gives off the kilig (romantic thrill) vibe of teenage love. Does that mean the pop-soul princess has someone special in her heart?
“Bawal pa po,” she immediately responds. “Kailangan niya munang tapusin pag-aaral niya,” her mother adds.
Yes, there’s no rush for this girl. Meanwhile, she just wants to embrace the “rainbow,” that is, the joy she has found in singing and the moments she spends with her family.
For her fellow youngsters, Sassa has this piece of advice: “Kapag nangarap kayo, huwag kayo bastang mangarap. Gumawa kayo ng paraan para matupad niyo yon.” Indeed, the song she has just sung beautifully renders the same sentiment: “Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue / And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.”