Richard Poon: On His New Album And Other Things Kilig

This chinito singer is quite hard to ignore—especially when he talks about love, relationships, and make-out music.

When you listen to Richard Poon’s music, you wouldn’t think he’s a big talker. His songs—popular tunes given a bouncy big band shake—paint the picture of a reserved, old-fashion, and suave man who is terse with words. Boy, were we surprised to find that this guy is a chatterbox. The guy can talk a mile a minute, but with his clear, candid views on the intricacies of romance, we delightedly hung on every word.

What makes your latest album, For You, different from your previous album?
I think it’s a thicker sound. [Since] the first album is my first solo album, although I made good arrangements, I didn’t use live violin quartet. But [for] this album, MCA Music gave me a good budget to get a cellist because the first album turned platinum. Like the first album siya—standards with a modern twist—pero [now] with an orchestra feel, meron siyang live violins. And I really believe sa standards, having an orchestra, or violins, or cello, it takes the music higher. If you listen to Josh Groban, Andrea Boccelli, Buble, Sinatra and all, ‘pag may orchestra, iba e. It heightens the climax of the song.

Are there any originals?
I wrote one. It’s called “Kahit ‘Di Mo Napapansin.” In the first album, I had two—one Tagalog, one English.

Your singing career must take a toll on your personal life. But how do you balance them?
Ngayon kasi I’m single. It’s quite hard, I’m searching. But ‘yung free time ko maliit. I’ve had relationships before and I think—I don’t know much, but I know this—women demand quality time. So if I don’t give it, they tend to fight [with] me a lot! And I’m quite a fighter myself so…just kidding! We get into fights. I’m searching, but the time available to me now is not enough for me para maibigay sa girl ‘yung dine-deserve niya. So if I had a girlfriend now, she’d probably kick my butt—yeah, kick my butt, and complain—with good reason!

Would you rather date someone from showbiz or a non-showbiz girl?
It doesn’t really matter. I think showbiz people—I mean, I’m a newbie, less than two years pa lang ako [in showbiz]—but getting to know them, they’re very plain. Parang plain Jane lang sila when you really get to know them. They’re just like you and me, nalagay lang sa gano’ng estado. They have the same fears, insecurities. Sa akin nagma-matter ‘yung internal nung girl. What’s onstage may not really be the same woman off-stage.

Photo by Nicky Mendoza

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Would you consider yourself that way, too?
Oh, yeah. I believe that who I am on stage [is] the debonair. When you get to know me off-stage, you see another personality come out. Not that I’m not real. I’m very, very real, honest. But there are parts of me that people don’t see—even ‘yung mga friends ko sa ASAP. Kaya it doesn’t really matter kung showbiz ka or hindi. ‘Cause when I get to know you for who you are, I have no complaints about you being artista or what, kasi at the end of the day you’re just a normal person.

Describe your ideal date?
I like it quiet. Maybe in Tagaytay, maybe overlooking the lake, candlelit dinner, tahimik lang, soft music, good food, then malamig. Enjoy a cup of coffee or dinner. Or I’ll cook for her, because I can cook, too.

Do you go for conservative girls or outgoing girls?
I like both in a girl. I like conservative in terms of values. I like a girl that still has that Maria Clara thing. But I also like driven women. I like women who go for their goals [and] not just sit around waiting for Prince Charming. I like women who don’t wait; they’re busy. “I gotta do this for my family. I gotta accomplish this.” And it’s like, “If you like me, Richard, then come along.” Rather than “Let’s go to the party and meet some boys.” So I like both conservative and driven.

What confuses you most about women?
When they become very, very feisty and emotional—they’re shifting from one emotion to the other…AND—they can’t explain it! They say “Richard, you don’t have to understand, just love us even when we’re unlovable.” And I’m like, “THAT’S HARD!!!”

Besides love, what’s the most important thing in a relationship?
Friendship. Kaya I’m not really into dating. I mean, I’ve had my share of relationships, dating, and all. When you’re younger, you’re like, “Oh, it’s cool, it’s exciting, kilig.” But when you go through heartaches, you realize you really didn’t get to know each other because both of you were too kilig showing each other your good sides. So I like natural friendships because I get to see people, I get to see the girl and she gets to see me for who [I am].

Also, the ability to compromise. I know some friends na babae—they’re bull strong who do not want to compromise. That’s hard, because I believe that a relationship brings together two people with such strong habits built in a span of like 20 years and when you want certain things to go this way and she wants it that way, you’re gonna fight [if neither would like to compromise]. If both people compromise all the time, your fights become less. You’ll love each in spite of the many disagreements and differences.

Photo courtesy of MCA Music

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Do you consider yourself the marrying type?
Yeah. I’m at an age where I don’t wanna play around. I don’t wanna tell a girl, “Hey let’s take it where it goes and if it doesn’t work out, let’s drop each other.” I’ve done that before and I’m not happy or proud of myself. I have a sister and I always tell her, “I love you and it may be hard nowadays but go for a man that can commit to you even at the darkest times of your life.”

What would you consider the best make-out music?
Can I not answer that?

You know, like John Legend? Or your music!
My music? No, my music is not make-out music! I don’t know, maybe something jazzy with saxophone.

Can you name any artist?
I like Kenny G but Kenny G is not sexy. He plays pop songs. But I hear sometimes sa mga movies ‘pag may romantic scenes, there’s a sexy saxophone player—jazzy, slow.

If you were to serenade a girl, what would you sing?
“I’ll Take Care of You” or “The Last Time.” They’re both wedding songs so I’ll probably sing those. I think women are naturally taking care of so many people, they’re secretly so tired. So those girls are probably looking for love—looking for somebody to take care of them. So I’ll probably sing “I’ll Take Care of You.”

Photo courtesy of MCA Music

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