Dingdong feels ‘very proud’ of what daughter Jayda is trying to accomplish

Jerry Donato - The Philippine Star
Dingdong feels �very proud� of what daughter Jayda is trying to accomplish
Dingdong Avanzado has established himself as an Original Pilipino Music (OPM) singer-songwriter. Beyond this music man persona, he is a family man, specifically a loving husband to singer Jessa Zaragoza and a doting, nurturing father to singer-songwriter Jayda. As a dad, Dingdong is pleased with what his daughter has accomplished thus far. ‘I’m praying and hoping for the best for her, but of course, I will always check on her and give her advice if needed.’

MANILA, Philippines — When talks lead to and touch on Original Pilipino Music (OPM) and the genre Pinoy Pop, the name Dingdong Avanzado will come up and surface. He has made a name for himself as a singer of hits, original compositions and covers, as well as a songwriter.

It’s not surprising that Dingdong has been given the moniker “The Original Prince of Pinoy Pop.”

His passion for music and performing will be showcased in the concert, with the title, as you’ve guessed it right, “The Original Prince of Pinoy Pop,” on July 19 at The Theatre at Solaire.

His wife, singer Jessa Zaragoza (also known as Phenomenal Diva and Jukebox Queen of the ‘90s), and their daughter, singer-songwriter Jayda Avanzado, will join Pablo of SB19, another OPM artist Randy Santiago, singing competition winners JM dela Cerna, Khimo and Marielle Montellano, and singer-actor LA Santos as guests.

Beyond the music man persona, Dingdong is a family man, specifically a loving husband to Jessa and a doting, nurturing father to Jayda.

“I was a present father for the most part. Paniwala ko yan na kailangan kumpleto yung pagpapalaki sa bata, na present ang both parents, ‘di ba? As much as possible (that’s my belief that both parents should be present when it comes to raising a child),” said Dingdong in a virtual one-on-one with The STAR, where he was also joined by his unica hija Jayda.

“Of course, mas maganda na buo kayo, but there are times (when a parent can’t be because of reasons such as work). So, that was my belief, that’s why I made every effort that I would be there in the significant moments of my child. That’s why I have lots of good memories and recollections from the time she was born until today,” added he.

“(I’m) very proud of what she’s accomplished and what she’s trying to accomplish. Of course, malayo pa, she’s just starting with her life, with her career.”

The 21-year-old Jayda appreciates all that, seeing the value of having “a strong father in your life and a male presence in that sense.”

“He’s really my playmate growing up,” said she, giving one a sneak peek of her fondest childhood memories with Dad Dingdong.

“Bilang unica hija (being an only child), people always asked, like, ‘Did you ever feel lonely ‘coz you didn’t have a sibling?’ But for me, I felt very complete. I had a very active imagination as a kid, I think that really helped me flourish as a creative later on in life. I think that was like the building blocks of my creativity, and my foundation even as an artist.”

There was one time when Dingdong surprised Jayda by helping her arrange the latter’s Barbie dolls in a particular way.

“That’s how he and I used to play. We would do very specific (things) like details of my Barbie dolls… and with (them) having certain roles and characters and things like that. I think he really encouraged me to have such an active imagination and to dream big as early as that age,” said she.

So, the father and daughter even then had “a very healthy relationship,” as Dingdong put it. “Because Jayda and I converse a lot,” shared he, who bonds with her over music and food.

“Whatever he’d probably like, like 98 percent of the time, that’s the kind of food that I like. So, that’s usually our bonding activity, like trying new food together or just having a good conversation over dinner, or lunch or meal,” said Jayda.

Aside from that, Dingdong and his daughter have shared an interest in and affection for animals.

“We both love dogs and animals,” said he. “If you would ask her what she wanted to be at that time, when she wasn’t in showbiz, her answer was to become a veterinarian.”

“I’ve always loved animals, and you definitely encouraged that with me,” his daughter chimed in.

Dingdong remembered bringing a four-to-five-year-old Jayda to a pet store when their family was living in the US and Jessa had a show. After weighing in on the pros and cons of owning this and that animal, they finally got a goldfish, which was easy to manage.

At 10, however, Jayda expressed her interest in music by asking Dingdong, “How do you write a song, dad?”

“I was surprised why she asked me and (thinking) where she was coming from,” said he, who also saw her talent for writing stories because she’s fond of reading.

“I told her, ‘You know it will just come to you,’ and she said, ‘I don’t think I’ll ever write a song.’ ‘No, don’t say that.’ Then I asked her, ‘How old are you now?’ You’re only 10.’ I wrote my first song when I was like 18 years old. So, I told her, ‘You know it will just come to you’ kasi gusto niya si Taylor Swift. How old was Taylor Swift when she wrote her first song? She was 12 and you’re only 10, Jayda. For all you know, you have two more years.”

When she reached the age of 12, Jayda was able to write her first song. Dingdong described it as “something remarkable” and was at first curious about the theme — love — that the tune would explore. At that time, he was serving as vice governor in Siquijor and received a call from his wife Jessa telling him about their daughter’s composition. The excited dad gave the song, with guitar as the main accompaniment, a listen at home.

“Sabi ko, ‘Ikaw talaga gumawa nito… kasi yung lyrics, saan ka naghugot ng ganyan?’ (I asked if she really composed it and where did she get the idea for the song’s lyrics) and of course, you’re still young, but it was like ang ganda nang pagkakasulat (it was well-written) for a 12-year-old and wow, this girl has talent,” shared the veteran artist, who also witnessed the potential of Jayda to write more songs and become prolific.

“That’s when we knew that her career would be in music,” said Dingdong. “She has empathy and passion, so it’s a big (and important) trait for a songwriter to have, kaya yung mga kanta niya madamdamin talaga (that’s why her songs are really full of emotions).”

Jayda’s being musically inclined is in her genes, having both parents as recording and performing artists. She has inherited good qualities from them. From Dingdong, Jayda has traits such as being determined and passionate.

“When I have an idea or a concept or something that I really stand by, pinapanindigan ko talaga yung idea na yun,” said she. “I’ve obviously learned from him to consider other people’s ideas and of course, be collaborative when it comes to music and my career… we’re both very particular, we pay attention to detail when it comes to our craft.

“I’ve been told like, with the way that I can be really talkative, definitely yung pagiging madaldal ko, hindi ko nakuha kay Mommy yun. Definitely nakuha ko yun (from him).

“I’ve said this before. I feel like he and I love very similarly. I’m very expressive and affectionate even towards my friends like that sort of thing and I think that something that, I mean, even Mom has told me that she’s learned from you (Dingdong).”

From there, Jayda has also learned that her love language is through words of affirmation.

She said, “I feel like that’s my strength with words and articulating my thoughts and whatever I’m feeling and it also even comes down to when I communicate my feelings and speak to people and explain what I want.”

All this was music to Dingdong’s ears, hearing those words from his daughter Jayda.

“Perhaps, her mom and I make a good combination… I think it’s just a good balance because I also see traits that she got from her mom,” said he.

Since Father’s Day is this Sunday, how do they celebrate it?

“Sometimes, they either have a gift for me or we eat out or order, we’re very simple people,” answered Dingdong.

“We don’t have anything grand or fabulous, basta together masaya kami. I appreciate that they make Father’s Day my day. They go out of their way to make me feel special, kung ano yung gusto ko, yun ang gagawin nila o i-pre-prepare nila (whatever I like, they find time to prepare it).”

As a father of a talented young artist, Dingdong feels proud of what Jayda has accomplished thus far.

“I’m hoping and praying for the best for her. But of course, lagi ko siyang hindi nakakalimutan na kamustahin at bigyan ng advice ‘pag kailangan (I always check on her and give her advice if needed).”

(Watch Dingdong in the showcase, “The Original Prince of Pinoy Pop,” on July 19, 8 p.m. at The Theatre at Solaire. Tickets can be purchased online at the Ticketworld website.)

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