Who would have thought that a schoolmate of mine made it internationally. Mark Anthony Atienza, a proud Marian, Metakid and Lasallian, is now a big inspiration to millions. The pride of Mindoro and of the Philippines, Mark Anthony Atienza, brought home three gold, a silver, two bronze and two plaques during the 17th World Championships of Performing Arts or, also known as, WCOPA in Los Angeles, California last July 12 – 21, 2013.
Let’s get to know him better with this Q & A.
1. When and how did you discover your talent?
As of what I could remember, my mom and dad used to have a karaoke machine before where we sing when it is family time. The first song I ever sang was “Achey Breaky Heart” by Billy Ray Cyrus, which I believe was the first time I ever sang. I was like four since then. I then started playing the piano when I was seven, guitar when I was 12 and drums when I was 13. I then started trying other instruments like the beatbox, violin, harmonica, saxophone, bass guitar and now I’m going to learn a new one which is the ukulele. I really don’t know how I really discovered my talents. All I know is that music has always been a part of me since I was still in my mother’s womb and I will continue to develop and enhance what God had given me.
2. Who was your greatest influence or inspiration for getting into music?
When I was A kid, the singer that I’ve always listened to was Martin Nievera. I remember rocking along with one of his songs “On the Right Track” as I dance to it. I also sang “You Are My Song” when I was still in kindergarten. It then became my favorite song and Martin as my favorite artist.
3. From the different songs you’ve sang, which do you think is the hardest song and why?
For me, “Go the Distance” and “You Are My Song” are the hardest songs I sang. It’s the most difficult, not just because of its high pitch, but also the way the song should be sang. In these two songs, everything is all about control – breath control, voice control. These songs also need power and lot’s of emotions. So with all of these things going around it, It’s really hard to do all things at the same time.
4. How about your most favorite song?
My most favorite song, as I said before was “You Are My Song” by Martin Nievera. It was the first song I ever performed live with an audience when I was still in kindergarten. It became my favorite because of its melody and message.
5. Did it ever crossed your mind that you’ll make it big internationally?
Honestly, no. Well, these days, I’ve been watching different musicians worldwide on Youtube. I watch their performances, works and achievement. After watching those, I became inspired and I said to myself that one day I will also be there at the top. It was just a dream that I once knew.
6. What made you join WCOPA?
I have a friend named Rhap Salazar, who is a very great singer and performer and most of all, he is one of my great friends. We used to play Starwars before when he we were still little. When he joined “Little Big Star”, I lend him some of my clothes and shoes. Then I was so happy when I heard that he joined WCOPA and became the Champion in WCOPA. So, it became an inspiration for me and that’s where it started.
7. How was the experience joining WCOPA?
It was a great great great experience – an experience that I never experienced before! It was so fun. I got the chance to meet other talents from other countries. I also got the chance to eat good food. Going to Hollywood street was fun where I took pictures with stars on the floor with the different names of Hollywood stars. And of course, I got the chance to compete with other people from the whole world and won medals and plaques. It’s an experience I will never forget.
8. What do you think is the best thing about singing onstage?
For me, the best thing about singing onstage is that, you communicate to your audience. You give and send them a message on what you’re saying. It’s like story telling but in a melodic way. It is also a way to express yourself. When you’re happy, you sing a happy song. When you’re sad, you sing a sad song. When you’re angry, rock and roll come the way. For me it’s so nice to express your feelings in a different way.
9. Aside from singing, what are your other hobbies?
I have this little love for sports. I play golf, baseball, basketball, table tennis, badminton, a little bit of soccer, volleyball, lawn tennis and chess. I also did Taekwondo once when I was a still little. I also write songs. I play almost nine musical instruments. I dance some time. I also like downloading movies from the internet. These are just some of my “other” hobbies.
10. You said, you also write songs. When and for whom did you composed your first composition?
My first original composition was called “On My Mind.” It’s about loving someone no matter what happens as long as that person is in your mind, you’re gonna love that person. I wrote this song last 2012 in the USA. It’s for a friend of mine, who was in the Philippines at that moment. I really miss her so much. Actually, she’s my cousin, now.
11. Where do you get the inspiration to write songs?
All of my original compositions is based upon real feelings and real event that is happening in my life. And most of my original songs is about love. I have this line which I don’t know if I originally made or what. It’s “Every special moment needs a special song to describe it.” And with the 16 songs that I’ve already composed, it became like a diary where all things that happen to my love life is written there.
12. Who would you like to thank?
First of all, I would like to thank my parents. They have been so supportive since then. In every performance that I have, they are always there to support me. I also like to thank my family, cousins and relatives for the love and care. I also want to thank Madam Frayre’s Nursery and Kindergarten School, Metamorphosis CDCC and Immaculate Heart of Mary Academy for molding me to become a good person and for giving me the chance to enhance and develop my talent. I also want to thank all the voice teachers who’ve taught me when I joined the WCOPA. And I also want to thank our Lord God for giving me this great great gift. I will take care of this gift, share it to others and use it for the good. THANK YOU!
13. What advice can you give to people who look up to you and want to follow in your footsteps?
To all the people out there, here is what i can say. When you’re already up there, always stay humble. Don’t change! Always thank God for the gift He’s giving you. Practice everyday. Do Everything you do with all your heart and soul. Inspire others and JUST DO IT!
Mark Anthony Atienza is my schoolmate from grade school in Metamorphosis CDCC until high school in Immaculate Heart of Mary Academy. We also share almost the same University. In school, his performances were the highlights of most celebrations. He is a member of a play production, Teatro Maria, where I am also a member. With this, I have seen him grow from a dreamer to a star. Having him as a friend makes me proud. Keep it up Mark!