Hale sums up 2009 and gears up for 2010

Sometime in April 2009, Champ Lui Pio and his band were already having a hell of a good time. Coming off a year in which Hale got a much-needed boost, thanks to the song Sandali Na Lang, the band chart-topped on that song again. ôSandali Na Lang equals Above Over and Beyond,ö says the idealistic frontman. ôWe didn't expect it to be a big hit that's why it took us a while to release another single but it was a sweeper. It was a spice single and it defined the third album. And we close the album right with Sandali Na Lang.ö Then in August, Hale has turned in another solid effort with its fourth studio album which have expanded their boundaries with the new CD Kundiman.

HaleÆs fourth studio album so far have had two hit singles from it, Bahay Kubo and Kalesa, which the former catapulted to No. 1 on the MYX charts for several weeks. Kundiman was specifically designed to reflect the soul of the album with images to connect with the Filipino culture. Other Tagalog titles included in the album are Aso't Pusa, Ulap, Magkaibang Mundo, Bulalakaw, Yakap and Harinawa.

The lead single Bahay Kubo, a track written by Champ himself, describes a context of being in a safe place with someone you love. "The song," says Champ, "definitely rocks! I love it. One of the songs that really gives me goosebumps. ItÆs probably my most played Hale song in my iPod. Personally, I'm attached to it.ö

The bandÆs second single Kalesa is now winning extensive airplays and is currently charting on most radio charts. ôThis is the perfect song to start our gig. We always play a fast song at any gig because it jump-starts the whole set. It gives us the adrenaline rush that we need to showcase the songs that we sing.ö

Hale has always done well on radio, TV, gigging, album sales and awards (the band is the recipient of MEG's Rock-ista of the Year), but just as impressive are their efforts to be more creative as musicians and letting themselves to be experimental. ThatÆs why Hale deserves the adoration of fans and the associated kudos. ôJust being able to survive one more year in the industry, being able to play again for another year, being able to share our music and being able to tour again, these are our greatest successes this year,ö Champ says.

For the bandÆs frontman, overall this has been a good year for him and his band. ôItÆs been a good year. WeÆre very thankful and weÆre very grateful to friends, bands, loved ones, to our label and to everyone for sticking with us and for always being there for us through the years. Hopefully, next year (2010) will bring more blessings and more success to the band.ö

He continues: ôThis year was about being able to cope with change. Because this year we had different transitions. We had a new drummer. We had a different approach in terms of management and it worked out pretty well. We realized weÆve gone another level. We feel our musicality has matured. WeÆre more confident on stage and weÆre more experimental with our musicality today. We're pretty confident that this album [Kundiman] is a good one. So we're just gonna sustain what we've started. WeÆre just gonna keep on innovating and keep on thinking of new ideas. Overall, we're very happy with how we are ending the year.ö

2010 will be yet another change for Hale. Champ reveals, ôChange is something constant so hopefully a good change. The record company [PolyEast-EMI] and the band, we're both on a mission to cope with change. They just went through a re-structuring and so are we. ItÆs more like a partnership. We wanna work harmoniously so we can both be effective in spreading the music, creating beautiful music, supporting and uplifting the standards of local music.ö

Talking about intentions they have for 2010, Champ says, ôJust to reach greater heights, move to the next level. Hopefully, we can get the music across outside the country and just reach a new market. We want to end the year in high spirits. We are very optimistic that next year will bring more successà will bring more good times for us and more power to the music scene.ö

And when it comes to making music ôall you can do,ö Champ says, ôis hope that people like and appreciate it.ö In both his personal and professional lives, Champ Lui Pio is a man whose fondest wishes have come true. ôPersonally, IÆm happy and satisfied. IÆve nothing else to prove (to other people) but to myself. I'm striving to be a better person everyday. Truly, thatÆs it.ö