A star is born: A young man’s journey to stardom

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Hannah A. Papasin
Writer. Critic. Professor. She started writing since primary school and now has two published textbooks on communication. A film buff, she's a Communication, Media Literacy and Journalism Professor of the University of St. La Salle-Bacolod, and has a Master's Degree in English.

Remember that time in children’s parties when you, as a kid, would grab the adult’s microphone and sing a lusty version of whatever is the “it” song of the moment?

Gerhard as Freddie Mercury

Or how you unleashed your inner Regine Velasquez in a badly-mangled version of Narito Ako?

Some of us have, at one point in our lives, dreamt of a live audience, singing to an adoring crowd, clutching a bouquet of flowers the size of Antarctica handed by a random faceless fan, shining, shimmering under the lights of our own making.

There are those of us where THAT remains a fantasy, with our singing engagements limited to the four corners of the shower with soap bars and shampoo bottles sole witnesses of our stellar performances.

And then here is Gerhard Krysstopher Pagunsan, or simply known in the biz as Gerhard.

Gerhard as prince

He is extremely good-looking, exceptionally talented, and extra-ready to conquer the world of kinky boots, of little mermaids, of unpaid rent, and that guy named Hamilton.

STARTING YOUNG

“I have been singing for as long as I can remember,” Gerhard tells DNX.

Unlike the Von Trapps though, the Pagunsans were not a musical family.

But, like most typical Pinoys, they are at least music lovers, prone to singing karaoke during gatherings.

Gerhard Krysstopher Pagunsan
Gerhard Krysstopher Pagunsan

Gerhard was “that kid who would be asked to grab a microphone and attempt to sing a requested song from the elders”.

It started innocuously enough, as Gerhard remembers how at the tender age of five, his Grandpa Henry would bring him to do intermission numbers for the senior citizen association meetings every Sunday in Moises Padilla.

He started singing properly during his school years, and while serving as choir member at church.

Gerhard as one of the con actors

He also recalls participating in various events of the NOPSSCEA Literary Musical competition every year since the 5th grade but it was Freshman year in high school when he joined his first amateur, inter-parish vocal solo competition.

It was then but natural when he found himself singing professionally as session vocalist for some local bands and groups in 2008. By the time 2016 rolled along, he had his first musical theater casting.

THE ROAD TO SUCCESS

Gerhard’s foray into the entertainment world is not one borne by chance.

It might also seem like a series of fortunate events, of lucky coincidences.

But really, Gerhard’s road to stardom is paved with anything but.

Gerhard suited as mario

Instead, he carved his name slowly but surely by clinching one recognition after another, starting with the Golden Voice 2008 competition in the University of St. La Salle where he spent his college years as an AB Communication student.

Talent manager Gerry Grey took notice of Gerhard’s exceptional vocal pipes, landing the prodigy with singing gigs, eventually opening doors to hosting stints.

He also made his mark in television competitions like Pilipinas Got Talent, X-Factor Philippines and Talentadong Pinoy, and just recently Tawag ng Tanghalan. He had also tried his hand at national singing championships, such as National Championships of [email protected] 4: The Search for the Next Ultimate Performer, where he finished third in the final contest.

One of the highlights of his career of course was landing a hosting stint in the Filipino franchise of Hi-5. Though his stint in the show was short-lived, it did help him ease into the entertainment world in Manila, as landed commercial and modelling gigs, as well as roles in musicals.

Gerhard the singer

“The projects came almost naturally for me,” he shares. He credits his training in theater and events in Bacolod to thank for his breaks, having sat on the feet of masters like Rene Hinojales, Rene Hofileña, the late director Peque Gallaga, Tanya Lopez, Jade Snow Dionzon, as well as performing material from brilliant minds like Fundador Tipon, Easter Doza, Sonny Cabahug and Lovelle Bellocillo.

Among these projects are his two-and-a-half year streak in musicals, under various companies like Blackbox Productions (Mula sa Buwan), Atlantis Theatrical Entertainment Guild (Kinky Boots, Matilda, and Waitress), Philippine Educational Theater Association (Tagu-Taguan Nasaan ang Buwan?) and Resorts World Manila’s Performing Arts Arm (Ang Huling El Bimbo).

Gerhard as crew

With the theatrical and entertainment world at his fingertips, Gerhard continues to explore new horizons.

With so much to do, and his star slowly but surely rising, Gerhard says there is still a lot that he wants to do.

His dream roles? Villains.

“I would definitely love to do my take on any iconic musical villains! The list includes Scar from The Lion King, Ms. Trunchbull from Matilda and since these are progressive times, I think I’ll throw in my dream to play Ursula of the The Little Mermaid one day,” he shares, adding, “The character is based on a real life drag queen [Divine], so nothing’s impossible!.”

Indeed, when the world is yours to grasp, nothing is.

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