At 20, Janine Teñoso has already achieved so much in the music industry
She is presently dubbed the ‘OST [original sound track] Princess’ due to her beautiful renditions of “241” by Rivermaya for 100 Tula para kay Stella, “Don’t Know What To Do, Don’t Know What To Say” by Ric Segreto for the The Barker, “Di Na Muli” by Itchyworms for Sid & Aya, and again, Rivermaya’s “Ulan” for the movie of the same title.
She also recently shared the stage with veteran singers such as Jay Durias, Joey Generoso and the likes for the latest Viva Live concert, Playlist: The Best of OPM. And as the youngest in the ensemble, she did not disappoint.
But three years ago, Janine never expected all of these things to happen. She was just trying her best in developing her craft like any other aspiring artist would.
TAKING HER FIRST STEPS
Janine first tried her luck in the music scene when she was sixteen years old by joining TV5’s singing competition, Born to be a Star. Armed with undying faith in herself and a blazing dedication to chase her dreams, Janine made it to the finals. But she didn’t bag the title.
It was her first-ever heartbreak.
“S’yempre nag-expect ako na mananalo ako sa competition kasi I did my best,” admits Janine.
“I did everything. I gave up everything—even my dream school in college. But I didn’t win.”
Janine was supposed to go to De La Salle College of Saint Benilde to pursue a course in music. But she later on withdrew as it offered schedules which is a conflicted quest for a place in the music scene. Nevertheless, she went back to her former school Southville Foreign University, where, she is currently taking online studies as a scholar.
But despite her losing in the competition, she remained hopeful. “Pero tao ka lang masasaktan ka but at the end of the day you just accept it and you become more inspired na, ‘Ah, kaya natalo siguro ako kasi I have a greater purpose in life’.”
Janine didn’t win the contest, but she won enough hearts, including those belonging to the management of Viva Records and Viva Entertainment. “No’ng sinabi sa akin ng Viva na they are going to sign me up, do’n ko na-realize na this is the path that God is willing to take me in. So why not just go here?”
Under Viva’s wings, Janine was initially signed into being a member of what is now known as the Pinoy Pop Generation or PPop, a girl group of 45 members that enhanced their talent through workshops and trainings spearheaded by professionals in the industry.
We get a sense that she wasn’t completely happy there. After undergoing countless workshops for one whole year in acting, singing and dancing, she found herself almost completely burned out.
“Akala ko mag-i-stay na lang ako do’n forever,” she recalls. “After that year, no’ng time na medyo napapagod na ako, [sabi ko sa sarili ko], ‘Ano ba ’tong ginagawa ko? Like, paulit-ulit na lang ba?’”
And being away from home didn’t help. (They were required to stay in a dorm while training for the (PPop). The only thing that kept her going through those difficult times was the unending support she’s been receiving from her Mom and Ate Jensen Kyra, who, for her part, has also started pursuing her own music career by joining the GMA-7 reality singing search, Protégé: Battle of the Big Break.
But despite the struggles, Janine took advantage of all her trainings with a grateful heart. For that same heart tells her, she was in for something bigger. And indeed, bigger blessings suddenly began pouring down. “Parang nag-spark na lang bigla na binigyan ako ng project, pag nagtatanong ako kay Lord sinasagot niya agad.”
As her first project, Janine recorded and released her self-penned single “Fall” under Viva and followed by the movie theme songs.
Janine says she fell in love with music at a very young age.
Imagine a 5-year-old little girl, whose innocent eyes sparked with joy the moment she saw her elder sister singing her heart out. Janine’s sister Jensen, at that time, was already performing professionally for TV commercials and mall shows.
More inspired than envious, Janine told her mom she wanted to learn how to sing well, too. Her mom instantly enrolled her to voice classes.. “She was the one who influenced me talaga from the start,” Janine says about her Ate. Music bonded them while growing up.
She continued to hone her talent by involving herself in a worship ministry. “I joined the worship ministry in our church when I was eight,” recalls Janine. “Do’n ko narealize na may talent ako for songwriting.” Hert first written piece is called, “God Gave Us Glory,” which she even sang for us during our interview.
Here’s the full lyrics of the song: “God gave us glory, God forgive us, God is there for us and God will take us the right way. God will save me in my world You’re there and my I’m thanking you for everything cause you bless me and bless me always, you make the world happy again cause you are my Father.”
Janine goes on: “Do’n din na-develop ’yong passion ko for music which led me to join school competitions and even more voice lessons.”
Janine’s love for music wasn’t just a phase. In high school, she went on to venture into other areas of music.
“I used to be part of an ensemble,” she narrates. “Hindi kami kumakanta do’n, we just play guitar with everyone. Doon din nag-increase ’yong love ko for guitar.” She also formed her own band, Wonderband, which was comprised of five talented girls who share an unfeigned passion for music. Aside from being the guitarist and the back-up singer, she discovered she also enjoyed directing the band —from musical arrangement down to the technicalities.
In fact, her first single “Fall”, which she released through Viva Records, was a song she wrote back in high school. “The story behind my song “Fall” is actually the love story of my friend during high school,” Janine goes down memory lane. “Love guru ako no’ng high school. Nilalapitan ako when it comes to love [advise]. Sabi ko, ‘Ang ganda naman ng lovelife n’y, p’wede ko ba isulat? No’[ng sinulat ko na I just mixed it with the bad experiences I had at that time. Ayon, nabuo ’yong ‘Fall’ na song.”
From being the girl who lost in a competition to being labeled as the generation’s ‘OST Princess’, Janine is now doing projects left and right. Her schedule, she says, is crazy. But she’s not complaining.
“Nakakatuwa and very blessed ako na nakapag-sign ako sa Viva and nakilala ko si Boss Vic [del Rosario], because I don’t think na I’d get to where I am without this management.”
But as much as she’s honored being called the ‘OST Princess’, Janine doesn’t want to be boxed in with the title. She has other dreams and one of those is to become a multi-faceted artist like her idols Sarah Geronimo and Lady Gaga, who both started off as singers before migrating to acting.
“’Yon talaga ’yong focus ko, maging multi-talented artist,” explains Janine. “But then since singing nga ’yong nauna na path for me, do’n muna ako nag-focus and then go with the flow na ’yong iba.”
But she’s on her way now to fulfilling that dream.
Back in 2018, Janine was given her first crack at acting via the Viva TV mini-series, One Song, where she played the role of Abby, an independent wanna-be singer, who fell for a guy who’s also an aspiring musician.
And just last April 6, her second acting stint, was released and still available now through Viva TV’s YouTube Channel.
In the Youtube series, called Bitinflix: Tadhana Sucks, she plays an elusive school girl who captured the heart of handsome Jesse (played by Gab Lagman), after they accidentally bumped into each other at the school ground. In the three-minute per episode steaming series, Gab pursues her relentlessly afterwards but somehow always fails to get that second meeting with her.
Janine is visibly excited by this new project “Siguro makikita nila ’yong another side of me,” says Janine referring to her growing fanbase. “That I’m not sticking to music but also in the acting world. Sana lumevel up. Kung lumelevel up 'yong pagkanta ko, 'yong music career ko, sana lumevel up din 'yong acting career ko.”
MUSIC AS HER CRAFT
Although she’s also into acting now, Janine says music remains as her first love. She, at present, is also trying to be a better songwriter.
That’s why she says that you will most probably find her locked in her room relentlessly trying to write songs, waiting for that spark and ‘hallelujah’ moment. But she admits that this particular music realm is not always gratifying.
“I just stay at home in my room, pick up my guitar and meron nang melodies na dumadating,” describes Janine. “Sometimes naman, I try to force it, wala naman nangyayari. So, hinihintay ko lang siya. The more spontaneous the better, the better the words are, the better the melodies.”
Experiencing creative block is not something foreign for Janine. However, she manages to make breakthroughs whenever she reads books, travels, and talks to a lot of people.
She recalls, “Siguro nabigay ko masyado, may mga times kasi na gano’n na sobrang nabigay mo lahat, nawalan ka ng puso.”
However, her fans have something big to look forward too. Janine will soon be releasing her very first album, and most tracks are her own compositions. Unknown to many, she’s been working on it for quite a bit and it’s something really special. For one, Janine’s soulful voice will now give life to her own creations.
With her first music album on its way, Janine is ecstatic to finally share and introduce herself “without boundaries”. “Kasi nakikita nila nire-release ko more on covers. Makikita nila sa album na gagawin ko is more on originals, more of my ideas, makikita nila si Janine without boundaries. More of me, my real side.”
Looking back, we can say that Janine’s three years-worth of hard work have finally paid off. But in her heart, she remains the little girl with a genuine love to discover herself and above all to make her mom and Ate proud.
And to little girls out there dreaming dreams like Janine’s, she has these to say: “Ang dami kong gustong sabihin. I guess don’t give up on your craft, when people tell you what to do, stick to your own individuality and don’t let what other people say pull you down. You have to stick to your own sense; ‘Kaya ko to so gagawin ko.’ Put your music out there regardless of what other people say. Just don’t give a crap.”
And with that, be warned, this girl may look fragile, but she’s not. There’s a tough lady there who fought her way to where she is now and she’s not stopping. She’s only just begun.
TEXT & INTERVIEW: Jewelle Pacia
PHOTOGRAPHER: Melo Balingit
SHOOT PRODUCER: Irene Mislang & Anna Pingol
ART DIRECTOR: Stephen Jan Cruz
MAKEUP: Jake Galvez
HAIR: Brix Batalla
STYLIST: Patty Yap