He has performed with songwriting powerhouse David Foster and earned comparisons to Michael Jackson. City News gets up close and personal with singing prodigy Miguel Antonio.
While most of his peers are fretting over the upcoming Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE), 12-year-old Miguel Antonio has an extra ball to juggle—that of managing his blossoming singing career.
Performing for the second time to the City Harvest congregation at Singapore Expo last weekend, it’s obvious the boy’s got talent. Accompanied by CHC’s Millennial Choir and Orchestra, he sang a moving cover of Josh Groban’s ‘You Raise Me Up’ as a Father’s Day tribute.
Antonio has performed at many events and charity shows, including the Singapore Pools Charity fundraiser “Fashion With A Heart”, Hope Foundation 2011 and Chingay 2011.
He has also performed before former Singapore president S R Nathan as well as the Philippines ambassador to Singapore. On stage during the 2011 “David Foster and Friends Concert,” he was accompanied by the legendary Foster himself on the piano.
During a backstage interview with City News, Antonio, who has always loved singing, shared that his vocal talents was discovered when he joined a school competition in 2010 at age 9.
“I sang ‘I Dreamed A Dream’ and I was able to reach the highest note. My parents were very shocked. I guess it all started from there,” he says with just a hint of bashfulness.
Asked if he gets stage fright before singing, the eldest son of four children born to a Singaporean father and a Filipino mother shook his head and added, “I just let go and I sing and I feel like I’m almost in another world.”
Needless to say, behind the ballads that Antonio so effortlessly croons is hard work and much effort. He makes it a point to vocalize for at least half an hour every day.
“I started training in early 2012. The hard part when I was starting out was actually looking for a good vocal teacher. It took us a long time to find Amanda Colliver, who also trains Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman.”
Outside of singing, the gifted singer is no different from any 12-year-old boy. The Qi Fa Primary School student plays basketball during his free time, attends weekly mathematics tuition and is working hard to get into the secondary school of his choice.
The City Harvest Church member shares, “I feel very privileged to be able to use my gift to bless others. God has given me this ability so that I can reach out to others through my songs.”
Michael Jackson is the biggest inspiration for young Antonio, who has singled out “Man in the Mirror” as his favorite song. It is also from the late King of Pop that Antonio gets his inspiration for the songs that he has been composing. In fact, Antonio will be writing his own songs for his debut pop album, set for release next year.
With parents who ensure that he and his three younger sisters are brought up on Christian values, Antonio says, “God has blessed me so much. I’ve got the opportunity to meet so many different people, including Jackie Jackson (Michael Jackson’s brother) who heard me sing and told me, ‘You sound just like my brother’. That meant so much to me.”
Calm and relaxed throughout the interview, the aspiring singer shared, “I may be tired sometimes but after I sing, I feel so active and alive. It’s such a great experience to be able to sing to an audience and watch people’s reactions.”
For now, he is concentrating on his PSLE which takes place in three months. “I am praying for my exams, and I know God will lead me.”