Friday, March 21, 2008

American Idol Alum JASMINE TRIAS has the Philippines in Her Back Pocket

From Grammys and gold records to college and day jobs, life after American Idol is a mix of the ordinary and the entertaining. When Jasmine Trias landed, only Mount Pinatubo could have rocked the Philippines harder.

By one account, it was complete mayhem. By her account, complete mayhem is actually pretty accurate. "I was nervous and scared," Trias recalls. "All the media was on me."

It was 2004, the year of Jasmania in the Philippines.

Though the singer from Hawaii didn't win the third season of Idol, she got the ultimate consolation prize: her very own adoring archipelago in Southeast Asia. "I had no idea I was such a big deal there," Trias, 21, says.

As Trias scurried up the Idol ranks (she finished third), she had no clue that people in the Philippines, her parents' homeland, were pulling for her. (The show airs there, but on a delay.) When she arrived in person, "it was hard for me to take it all in."

There was a lot to digest, including endorsement deals with Hapee toothpaste and McDonald's.

Four years ago, you could've walked into any McDonald's in the Philippines and ordered the Jasmine Trio, a Happy Meal of sorts: a strawberry float, large fries and a CD of her singing a ditty called Love Ko 'To (translation: "I'm lovin' it").
Trias, whose debut album went platinum in the Philippines, is gearing up to tour there this spring.

She's also set to play the love interest in Maverick and Ariel's Ultimate Adventure: Hollywood or Bust, a Filipino movie starring the comedy duo Ariel and Maverick. The only downside? The script is in Tagalog. She isn't fluent.
As Trias prepares to record separate albums for the USA and the Philippines, she's perfectly cool with being bigger there than here.

After all, for American music projects, she's on an indie label. In Southeast Asia, where she once played to 10,000 people in Singapore, she's a major player: She's on Universal Records.

"For me to have that recognition at any time in my life is an honor and a privilege."

Sourse: Andrew McGinn, Special for USA TODAY

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