Maria Laroco, a 17-year old Filipina, has been recently making names at the music competition show X Factor UK after wowing all four judges with her performance of Prince's "Purple Rain". She then received 4 yeses, and a standing ovation from judges Simon Cowell, Louis Tomlinson, Ayda Field, Robbie Williams, and the audience.
Watch her performance here:
We had a chance to have a quick interview with the X Factor UK contestant where we talked about her audition experience, her favorite songs, and her dream collaborations. Check out the interview here:
Why did you decide to fly all the way to the UK to audition for the X Factor UK? Is there a specific reason why you chose X Factor of all the competitions out there?
Maria: X Factor UK has made artists big, like One Direction, Louisa Johnson, and my idol Sam Bailey. X Factor UK has made a lot of artists big not only in the UK but in the whole world. Not in just the UK industry but to Hollywood and to different countries around the world. I chose X Factor UK dahil umaasa ako, I’m hoping na someday I can get big like them too.
Was there someone who influenced you in trying out, in auditioning?
Maria: Fourth Impact, mga friends ko din sila, kasi with them, nasabi ko sa sarili ko that, one day I’m gonna be up there singing my heart out, that’s what I told sa VR ko during the audition. I’ve always wanted to do X Factor.
What was it like performing on the X Factor stage? How different was it from your experience when you joined The Voice Philippines?
Maria: My experience during the audition of the X Factor was overwhelming. I found it quite surreal because I was just dreaming of that moment and finally I was there, singing in front of all the people. All the British people. And of course, in front of Simon Cowell. It was so unbelievable for me because I’ve always wanted to be here. I’ve always wanted to stand in front of them and perform. I couldn’t actually place the words for it because I’m just so happy to be given that chance to perform.
How did it feel to receive a standing ovation from the four judges?
Maria: I was actually in disbelief, kasi I couldn’t still believe until now that I got four yeses and a standing ovation from the audience and the judges. I’m so happy talaga, beyond happy because I was given this chance to perform in front of all these big people.
How did your experience in The Voice Philippines help you in preparing for the bigger stage of the X Factor?
Maria: The Voice Kids taught me to always do my best. Because the last time...siguro ‘yun din ‘yung mistake ko, but I actually did my very best still sa competition na iyon, but it taught me not to give up on my dreams and to always do my best. Like it’s my last performance ever.
Why did you choose to perform Prince’s “Purple Rain” as your audition song?
Maria: May secret po tayo diyan (laughs). Prince’s “Purple Rain” was not actually my first song choice, it was actually “Domino” by Jessie J. But then before I performed someone approached me—I was on stage—and told me to sing “Purple Rain” instead. But that song was the version of Jessie J. And I’ve always looked up to her. She’s my idol. That song really means a lot to me now.
What are you listening to right now? What are some of your favorite songs?
Maria: I always listen to Ariana Grande, Dua Lipa, Jessie J, and Beyonce. My favorite song from Jessie J is “Who You Are” because it means a lot to me, you should always be who you are and not anybody else, just who you are. Kay Ariana Grande naman, marami po (laughs).
If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be and why? It can be both local and international.
Maria: I’ve always wanted to collaborate with Jessie J and Ariana Grande. I’m a big fan, super big fan. Gustong-gusto ko talaga na maka-collaborate ko sila sa isang single. Sa local naman, I like KZ Tandingan. I just love her personality and her voice is unique. I always watch her sa X Factor Philippines and Singer 2018. And I also do rap, not so much, but I can do both. Medyo lang.
What do you think sets you apart from other contestants in the UK right now?
Maria: Maliban sa foreigner ako, maybe... kasi lahat po talaga sila they’re all so talented, actually marami akong competition sa X Factor. What makes me...okay, isipin ko po (laughs). Siguro ‘yung paninindigan ko sa sarili ko, and ‘yung faith ko kay God na hinding-hindi nawawala, and that I believe in myself and what I can do, and I always perform and sing it’s the last performance of my life, ever.
Finally, what is your ultimate dream song to perform and why?
Maria: (sings) I believe I can fly, I believe I can touch the sky. Sarah G na version. I’ve always believed that I can do it, and I’ve always believed in myself. Kahit maraming nagsasabi na hindi ko kaya, na maraming nagda-down sa akin na hindi naman ako magaling. I’ve always believed in myself. Hindi ako sumuko sa mga dreams ko. And I’ve always believed that I can fly, and I will fly.
The X Factor UK airs the same as its UK broadcast on Blue Ant Entertainment every Sunday and Monday, 7:55PM. Blue Ant Entertainment is available on SKYcable channels 53(SD) and 196(HD), SKYdirect channel 35, Destiny Cable channel 53, and Cablelink channels 37(SD) and 313(HD).