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RENALDO Lapuz




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INQUIRER EXCLUSIVE
Renaldo Lapuz revisited

By Bayani San Diego Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 20:46:00 12/08/2010

Filed Under: Entertainment (general), Music, Television, Celebrities

NOT ALL ?American Idol? graduates clinch fame and fortune. Some winners, in fact, have had to struggle to be heard in the crowded, recession-stricken music charts.

Prospects are even dimmer for novelty wannabes like Fil-Am Renaldo Lapuz.

Renaldo was the caped and feathered ?Idol? reject, who managed to charm host Ryan Seacrest and judges Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell, when he auditioned two years ago with his own composition, ?We?re Brothers Forever.?

Although his audition video has scored over 68.2 million views on YouTube (subsequent videos posted 59,570,998 hits since 2008), Renaldo, according to new manager Jared Marshall, is back to square one?living in a small rented room and working the night shift at a Wal-Mart outlet in Reno, Nevada.

Still, in spite of the slings and arrows of misfortune, Renaldo remains optimistic.

New song

Renaldo, who will turn 48 on December 18, recently composed and recorded a holiday carol entitled ?Christmas Chocolatte.?

?It?s pronounced tsokolate, like in Tagalog,? Renaldo explained in an exclusive e-mail interview with Inquirer Entertainment.

He recalled the inspiration behind his new song: ?When I was a little boy, my late sister Fe Lapuz-Velasco gave me a toy, a plastic kid on a horse. It was my first Christmas gift and I remember drinking hot and sweet tsokolate and eating ?tasty? bread with no filling, for Noche Buena.?

This year, he will spend Christmas like any other holiday since migrating to the United States in 2004: ?If I don?t have any invitation, I?d spend it working overnight as janitor. No concrete plans yet. But I hope to have mall shows to promote my songs.?

He said he has enough material for an album; he has recorded some of them in a studio owned by friends Michael, Raffy and Francis del Rosario, the Keyringz rappers.

He recounted that he had to delay his homecoming to Manila: ?Two years ago, I wasn?t a US citizen yet. But now I?m free to go on tour.?

All he needs to do now is to dust off the unique ?Skyline Pigeon?-inspired costumes in his closet. (He makes his own outfits.)

Wal-Mart shoppers often recognize him at work, he noted with pride.

?A Filipino fan wrote on his Facebook account that I work in Wal-Mart,? Renaldo said. ?Although I?m just a janitor, fans hug me and take my pictures. My photo hangs on the wall of the manager?s office, as if I?m a VIP.?

The Renaldo fan page on Facebook has attracted 4,473 followers so far.

That some televiewers have not forgotten him give Renaldo a much-needed boost. ?I hold on to their kind words. They keep me strong,? he said.



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