Blanco during a live performance.
|Birth name||Rico Rene Granados Blanco|
|Also known as||"The (Music) Genius" |
"The Brains of Rivermaya"
|Born||March 17, 1973|
Ermita, Manila, Philippines
|Origin||Metro Manila, Philippines|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, keyboards, bass guitar, drums, synthesizers, percussions|
|Years active||1993–2017; 2019–present|
Rico Rene Granados Blanco (born March 17, 1973) is a Filipino singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, actor, endorser and entrepreneur. He began his career as one of the founding members, and served as the chief songwriter, vocalist, guitarist, and keyboardist of the Filipino rock band Rivermaya from 1994 until 2007, and has been a solo artist since 2008.
Blanco's songs and performances gained success and critical acclaim, earning himself a reputation of being one of the well received local music icons in the Philippines. He is widely considered by many music critics as one of the greatest songwriters in the country.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Early career
- 3 Solo artist
- 4 Charity and Social Activism
- 5 Musical influences
- 6 Endorsements and business interests
- 7 Filmography
- 8 Discography (as solo artist)
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Rico Blanco was born at Manila Doctors Hospital in Ermita, Manila on March 17, 1973 to Rene Aldeguer Blanco of Iloilo City and Purita Crisostomo Granados of Leyte, Leyte. Blanco grew up in San Pedro, Laguna.
Rico was one of the founding members of the Filipino rock band Rivermaya, in varying roles as vocalist, keyboardist, guitarist, and main songwriter from 1994 to 2007.
Rico Blanco is also a stage, film, and television actor. He starred in ABS-CBN's Imortal alongside John Lloyd 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 an 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. 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. 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.
Rico's live band was 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".
In May 2010, Blanco was announced to be on the cast of ABS-CBN's 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.
On November 27, 2015, Blanco released his 3rd full-length album Dating Gawi.
On January 9, 2016, he re-united with his former Rivermaya co-members, Perf de Castro, Nathan Azarcon and Mark Escueta for a "secret mini semi-reunion", following de Castro's gig at 19 East, Taguig City.
His single "Wag Mong Aminin" was the number 1 song for 2016 in Magic 89.9's OPM chart.
Charity and Social Activism
Blanco was a founding Sangguniang Kabataan chairman in his hometown of San Pedro, Laguna long before he started his music career.
Aside from his songwriter credits in his solo album and in Rivermaya, Blanco also arranged and wrote music for various cause oriented projects such as the United Nations Millennium Development Goals 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 "Posible", which has been used as a theme song for the 2005 Southeast Asian Games.
During his hiatus from music in 2007, Blanco 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.
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 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.
When typhoon Haiyan devastated his mother's home province, Blanco decided to spend the New Year holidays in a still-reeling and electricity-less Leyte and perform in as many evacuation centers as possible to comfort the survivors and help educate them about the importance of hygiene in preventing the spread of post-calamity diseases. A few weeks prior, just after the typhoon struck, Blanco nearly cancelled his appearance at the Sundown Music Festival in Singapore, but decided to forge on and dedicated his performance and talent fees to the people of Leyte.
He currently serves as the president of the Filipino Society of Composers Authors and Publishers (FILSCAP). A non profit, non-government, collective management organization that champions intellectual property rights.
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
Throughout his career, Rico Blanco has partnered with some of the biggest brands in the Philippines for their advertising campaigns.
Blanco was a partner in Capone's Makati, and Alphonse Bistro/Vault in Pasig. He is currently a partner in Time in Manila in Makati and The Brewery At The Palace in Taguig.
In 2010, Rico Blanco 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|
|2016||Born To Be A Star||Host/Judge||TV5|
|2016||ASAP||Himself / Performer||ABS-CBN|
|1994||Pare Ko: The Movie||Himself/Rivermaya||Star Cinema Productions|
|2006||Nasaan si Francis?||Sonny||Unico Entertainment, Crazy Angle Productions|
|2011||Segunda Mano||Owen||Star Cinema, Agosto Dos Pictures, MJM Productions|
|2015||Liwanag sa Dilim||APT Entertainment|
|2016||Camp Sawi||Aaron||Viva Films Productions|
Music Video Director
|2004||Liwanag Sa Dilim||Rivermaya|
|2013||Lipat Bahay||Rico Blanco|
|2015||Sabay||Never the Strangers|
Discography (as solo artist)
|2008||Your Universe||5x Platinum||Warner Music Philippines|
|2015||Dating Gawi||–||Universal Records|
|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) / Your Universe Southeast Asian Version|
|2011||Kahit Walang Sabihin||Your Universe:Deluxe + Kahit Walang Sabihin (2-disc set)|
|2013||Lipat Bahay||Galactik Fiestamatik|
|2013||Ang Tangi Kong Pangarap||Single|
|2014||Panahon Na Naman Ng Harana||Single|
|2014||Ito Ang Ating Sandali||Single|
|2014||World Without Strangers||Single|
|2014||Time For You||Single|
|2015||All The Seconds In Our Hours||Single|
|2015||Videoke Queen||Dating Gawi|
|2016||Wag Mong Aminin||Dating Gawi|
|2016||Sorry Naman||Dating Gawi|
Awards (as individual / solo artist)
|Best Duo Artist||Won|
|Album of the Year ("Your Universe")||Won|
|NU Rock Awards||Producer of the Year ("Free-Rivermaya" "I Was A Teenage Tree-Teeth")||Won|
|Vocalist of the Year 2008||Won|
|Song of the Year ("Antukin")||Won|
|RX93.1 FM||OPM Solo Artist of the Year 2008||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|
|Philippine Radio Music Awards||Album of the Year 2009 "Your Universe"||Won|
|Best Solo Artist 2009||Won|
|Best New Artist 2009||Won|
|Myx Music Awards||Favorite New Artist 2009||Won|
|Favorite Myx Live Performance 2010||Won|
|Favorite Collaboration 2014 "Magda" with Gloc 9||Won|
|Favorite Rock Video 2017 "Videoke Queen"||Won|
- Rico Blanco's Birth Certificate
- "ricoblanco.com.ph". ricoblanco.com.ph. Retrieved 2014-06-29.
- Jocelyn Jimenez. "Solenn Heussaff collaborates with Rico Blanco for her original composition; will have a duet with brother Erwan for her concert | PEP.ph: The Number One Site for Philippine Showbiz". PEP.ph. Retrieved 2014-06-29.
- "Lunop sa downtown | Banat Opinyon, Banat Sections, Banat". philstar.com. 2012-07-08. Retrieved 2014-06-29.
- "Expensive culverts misused as fence? | Freeman Opinion, The Freeman Sections, The Freeman". philstar.com. 2011-03-10. Retrieved 2014-06-29.
- "ricoblanco | Listen and Stream Free Music, Albums, New Releases, Photos, Videos". Myspace.com. Retrieved 2014-06-29.
- "Rico Blanco leads gathering of bands at World Without Strangers Music Festival". Philippine Entertainment Portal. 7 July 2014. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
- Blanco's Official Facebook Artist Page