Blanco during a 2009 live performance.
|Birth name||Rico Rene Granados Blanco|
|Also known as||Rico Blanco|
|Genres||Alternative rock, Pop rock, Progressive rock, Electronic rock, Synthpop, Tribal|
|Occupations||Singer, Songwriter, Producer, Arranger, Dancer, Actor, Host, Multi-instrumentalist|
|Instruments||Vocals, Guitar, Keyboard, Bass, Synthesizers, Drums, Percussions|
|Years active||1993–2007 (with Rivermaya)
2008–present (as a Solo artist)
|Labels||Warner Music Philippines|
Parokya Ni Edgar
Gibson SG Robot
CF Martin D28
Aside from his songwriter credits in his solo album and in Rivermaya, Blanco also arranged and wrote music for various side projects such as the United Nations MDG theme "Tayo Tayo Rin", The Philippine Department of Tourism theme "Biyahe Tayo" (both of which were performed by veteran Filipino musicians, such as Freddie Aguilar, The Apo Hiking Society, Lea Salonga, and Sharon Cuneta). He also co-wrote a theme song for the Southeast Asian Games, "Posible".
Rico Blanco is also a stage, film, and television actor. He starred in ABS-CBNs Imortal alongside John Loyd Cruz and Angel Locsin, and May Isang Pangarap alongside Carmina Villaroel and Vina Morales. He also starred alongside Noel Cabangon and Joey Ayala in the Music Museum and 1970s Bistro production of Jesus Christ Superstar and also starred alongside Epy Quizon and Christopher de Leon in the independent film Nasaan si Francis?. He also directed several music videos, won an award for his work as advertising musical arranger. Blanco also dabbles in painting and photography.
Among the albums Blanco produced are Slapshock's Project 11-41, Sugarfree's Sa Wakas, The Dawn's Salamat (Millennium edition single), Teeth's I Was a Teenage Tree and Rivermaya's Free album which won him a NU Rock award for Producer of the year. Blanco also used to host MYX Live. He also composed and arranged scores for many commercials & other various corporate functions around the Philippines.
In May 2007, Blanco announced his departure from Rivermaya. His last performance with Rivermaya was on May 4, 2007 at the Metro Bar (wherein two other high profile Filipino bands opened the show, Pupil and Sandwich; two spin-off bands of the legendary pop-rock group Eraserheads). It was coincidental that Rico’s first gig as singer for Rivermaya was also held at the Metro Bar (formerly known as "Kampo"). Furthermore, first ever Rivermaya gig (where Blanco was keyboardist) was in Las Piñas City in 1993 where the band was the opening act for Eraserheads.
In 2007, he launched a clothing line for a clothing brand in the Philippines, Human. He also spent his time with philanthropic work. In late 2007 he came out of retirement to sing for the Sumilao farmers who walked 1,700 km from Bukidnon to reach Department of Agrarian Reform in Metro Manila. Blanco also wrote and produced an electronic dance music song titled "Control" for the album of Nancy Castiglione.
On June 12, 2008 Warner Music Philippines, launched Rico Blanco's first single “Yugto” which marked his entry in the Filipino music industry as a solo artist. Critics and music fans immediately hail it as a "neo-epic". The song won a host of awards, among them 4 major Awit awards including Song of the Year. His first album titled "Your Universe" was released on August 8, 2008 (08/08/'08). The 10-track CD is a unique fusion of diverse sounds, among them the ethno-rock "Yugto", the heart-tugging title track "Your Universe", the rockabilly/punk feel of "Ayuz", the sweet, Pinoy-folk "Para Hindi Ka Mawala", and the sing-along anthem "Antukin". Also notable is his return to his roots as a keyboard player as evidenced by the infusion of synthesizer and electronic elements throughout the album. Incidentally, Warner Music Philippines are known for disbanding bands and turning their respective lead vocalists into solo artists.
Currently, Rico's live band is usually composed of Robert de la Cruz (of Queso and Skychurch) on drums and Ricci Gurango (formerly of Hungry Young Poets and Mojofly) on bass, while Rico plays guitars and keyboards. Many other session musicians join him on stage from time to time.
In November 2008, Blanco won the "Vocalist of the Year" award in the NU Rock Awards. In December 2008, he was heralded RX93.1 "OPM Solo Artist of the Year. He also opened for Myx Mo 2008 and performed "Yugto". Aside from his band, The Mandaluyong Children's Choir, Manila Symphony Orchestra, Kulintangan musicians (headed by Malou Matute), and various Percussionists (headed by Iggy de Dios), all performed with him. The opening set was touted to be the biggest in the event's history.
In February 2009, he won as "Best New Artist" in the MYX Music Awards 2009. Then, Blanco was picked by Unilever Philippines to re-write and sing a version of the regional campaign song of Close Up toothpaste, released a single entitled "Come Closer".
Rico sang together with Imago vocalist Aia de Leon, and Sandwich frontman Raimund Marasigan, on “Ako ang Simula”, the theme song for a campaign which calls on Filipinos, especially the youth, to actively participate in the 2010 elections.
When super typhoons ravaged the Philippines in September 2009, Rico responded quickly by writing and recording and releasing "Bangon", to raise awareness and ultimately, funds to help the victims of the typhoons. Rico gave away the song as a free download to give hope to the victims, salute the heroes and inspire people to continue helping. Blanco also said that he is waiving all royalties due to him for the mobile downloads of the song, which he will instead give to affected families.
In May 2010, Blanco was announced to be on the cast of ABS-CBN's newest supernatural-political thriller TV series Imortal which stars John Lloyd Cruz and Angel Locsin, Blanco also sang the song "Kahit Walang Sabihin" for the said TV series. This was followed by the launch of Rico Blanco's very own company, Balcony Entertainment, in cooperation with Warner Music Philippines.
The same year, Rico Blanco launched his first album "Your Universe" in other Asian countries such as Singapore and Hong Kong. The Asian release featured a new single "Neon Lights", the song quickly gained the number 1 spot in Hong Kong charts beating other artists such as Justin Bieber, Avril Lavigne, Wonder Girls and Mika.
In March 2011, Sesame Street Philippines went into partnership with Blanco to launch the new education campaign called Sesame Street "Kid Ako". The campaign will launch in schools which will use Sesame Street books and videos to help encourage learning among kids at an early age. Blanco is also set to make two songs for the campaign.
At a young age, Rico listened heavily to his uncle's records which included The Beatles, jazz and 1970s rock. He moved on to appreciate late 1970s to 1980s punk rock, post punk, synth pop and new wave artists (mostly from the U.K.) such as XTC, The Cure, The Smiths, U2, Echo & the Bunnymen, The Sex Pistols, The Clash, Depeche Mode, Kraftwerk, OMD, Tears for Fears, Ultravox, New Order, Madness, Terry Hall, Siouxsie & the Banshees, Midnight Oil (Aus), among others. He also listened to Filipino artists such as Deans December, Violent Playground, Identity Crisis, Urban Bandits, Joey Ayala, among others. The music he listened to while growing up is largely credited for his musical style.
Endorsements and business interests
A trendsetter, Rico Blanco and his wide influence has always made him one of the most sought after endorsers. He has already endorsed brands in telecom, fastfood, clothing, home entertainment, alcoholic beverages, and chocolates among many others.
Rico Blanco was also a partner in Capone's Makati, and is now also a partner in Alphonse Bistro/Vault in Pasig. He also currently serves as the company President of Time in Manila club in Makati Avenue.
In 2010, Rico established Loudbox, an audio production/post studio mainly catering to the Advertising industry. His business partners are Manuel Legarda of Wolfgang, Sach Castillo, Allan Feliciano and Edsel Tolentino.
Also on the same year, following his endorsement in Human clothing brand, Rico launched his own brand named Koboi, located at San Juan City, Metro Manila.
|2013||May Isang Pangarap||Joseph 'Otep' Santos||ABS-CBN|
|2006||Nasaan si Francis?||Sonny||Unico Entertainment, Crazy Angle Productions|
|2011||Segunda Mano||Owen||Star Cinema, Agosto Dos Pictures, MJM Productions|
Discography (as solo artist)
|2008||Your Universe||5x Platinum ||Warner Music Philippines|
|2008||Your Universe||Your Universe|
|2010||Bangon||Your Universe:Deluxe + Kahit Walang Sabihin (2-disc set)|
|2010||Neon Lights||Your Universe:Deluxe + Kahit Walang Sabihin (2-disc set)|
|2011||Kahit Walang Sabihin||Your Universe:Deluxe + Kahit Walang Sabihin (2-disc set)|
|2013||Lipat Bahay||Galactik Fiestamatik|
|Best Duo Artist||Won|
|Album of the Year ("Your Universe")||Won|
|NU Rock Awards||Song of the Year ("Antukin")||Won|
|RX93.1 FM||OPM Male Artist of the Year||Won|
|Awit Awards||Best Performance by a Male Recording Artist ("Yugto")||Won|
|Song of the Year ("Yugto")||Won|
|Best Musical Arrangement ("Yugto")||Won|
|Best Engineered Recording (Angee Rozul - "Yugto")||Won|
- Future of Rivermaya uncertain after Rico’s reported exit - INQUIRER.net, Philippine News for Filipinos
- Rockin’ Rico - INQUIRER.net
- Blanco's Official Facebook Artist Page