Chanelle Guerzo

Next in line

Article from the Sun daily by Mark Mathen Victor (posted on 30 June 2020)

HAILING from the legendary Soliano family, Chanelle Guerzo is part of a new generation of musical artistes within the family.

Though not professionally trained to sing, she picked up the craft when she followed her parents, multi-instrumentalist Daniel Soliano Guerzo and singer Michelle Nunis, to gigs, where she learned by observing.

Classically trained in the piano and guitar, what first inspired Guerzo to sing and play the piano was when she first listened to Alicia Keys’ If I Ain’t Got You at the age of 12.

Not wanting to be just a classical pianist, the drive to constantly experiment, improve and evolve her sound led her to the keytar, before she then began performing with the band Muzza and the Razzle Dazzle.

Guerzo spoke further with theSun about her life and future plans.

What is the history behind your musically-inclined family?

“Where do I even begin? Well, let’s just say that I didn’t really know I was from a musical family ‘dynasty’ until I was actually old enough to realise that almost everyone in my family played music. I thought that every family was like mine, you know? I grew up thinking it was normal.

“Until other people started bringing up things like the legacy, and I even felt some sort of pressure while growing up in a well-known musical family.

“I do know that my great-grandfather Alfonso Soliano was the leader of Radio Malaya Orchestra and also conductor at RTM Orchestra. My late grandfather, Salvador Guerzo was a saxophonist, composer, arranger and conductor for the Petronas Orchestra.

“I’m honestly very proud to come from a family of musicians, from my great-grandfather to my grandfather, my grandmother Francisca Soliano, grand uncles and aunts (too many to name) and then on to my father Daniel, my mother Michelle, uncles and aunts and so on. And of course the next generation to carry on the legacy is me.

“I really hope that I’ve made my family proud thus far. Music is in me and I shall try my best to upkeep the family name.”

Was your path as a singer and musician a natural thing, or was it influenced by your family?

“I feel like it was a very natural thing for me to get into music. My parents would tell me how I used to play the piano when I was three years old.

“I started learning from a very young age, and the learning just never stopped. Even to this day when I teach my students, I learn something new. Because of the many musicians in my family, of course everyone has different opinions about everything.

“People would expect me to play jazz because of the family, but somehow I’m more inclined to pop, pop rock and metal music. Shocking, I know. But, of course, we all support each other, regardless of what genre we play and listen to.

“We don’t bring each other down. We were all taught to stay humble. There is always someone better than you. There is always room for improvement. And also I’ll quote my late grandmother, Francisca Soliano, by saying: “Do all things with love”.

What are your current/future projects?

“I’m working on my first solo single, Stay, which will be released by the end of the year. It is a single prior to my first solo album which I initially targeted to release this year, but unfortunately due to the global pandemic, it has been delayed so I’ve decided to release my album next year and I get to work on it more!”

Have your projects been affected by what’s going on inside and outside the country?

“This pandemic has slightly disrupted my momentum. I did have production plans, launch plans and everything, but the situation is such, and maybe it’s a sign to just keep writing and composing. I take it as a blessing in disguise. The pandemic hasn’t been all bad for me, to be honest.

“I always try to see the positive side of things. It was difficult in the beginning because I was a music teacher two years ago, but then I decided to take a break and become a full-time musician. Since the pandemic I’ve decided to explore my other interests such as cooking, doing art, practicing calligraphy, and of course now there is time to work on personal growth and self love as well.

“But of course times like these made me realise that you must always have a back up plan. Fortunately, with my teaching and performing experience I’ve started online classes by teaching piano and vocals during the pandemic and it has been going great so far.”

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