Couple of outtake shots of singer-songwriter Martina San Diego from her debut album cover shoot. I didn’t include these photos in the final lineup that I presented to the record label because, as you can see, they didn’t exactly fit the agreed upon theme of “girl going on a rural road trip to retrace her roots.” This whole thing was something that we squeezed into the agenda at literally the very last minute. For so long I’d been wanting to do a shoot that involved fire eaters, and thankfully Martina was down for it. (Her producer Cattski Espina was baffled, though: “Seriously, what is it with you and fire?” she asked jokingly, referencing another album cover shoot that I’d done for the trip-hop collective Womb back in September of last year, in which I’d asked to photograph the band members standing against a fiercely burning flame.)
Never thought I’d let these photos see the light of day, but then I was looking at them this morning, and it got me to thinking that, hey, didn’t these pictures make perfect sense now? Weren’t they like a sign of the times of sorts? Wasn’t Martina like a hot commodity now—hopping from one live show to another, getting some serious airplay on local radio (i.e., her interpretation of the Kyle Wong-penned Cebuano-language ballad “Balay ni Mayang” that placed third in the recently concluded VISPOP: The Visayan Pop Songwriting Competition)? Wasn’t she becoming the focus of a substantial cult following? Wasn’t she being stopped on the streets by complete strangers who tell her, “You’re awesome!” I mean, think about it for a second: don’t all those add up to “This Girl is on Fire” written all over her?
Massive thanks, by the way, to Martina’s cousin Andre for agreeing to be part of these pictures and for lending us his amazing fire eating skills. Gotta give mad props to that boy: he had the patience of a saint (he had to endure multiple takes, but never once complained) yet he could eat fire like a…I should not finish that statement, but you get my drift. It’s incredible how showmanship runs in that family like water in a river—it’s, like, to them, putting on a good show is the most satisfying job in the world.
Speaking of putting on a good show, trust Martina to do just that when she releases her debut album Blank Walls tonight. Yes, it’s finally here—and her Cebuano fans will finally have a taste of all that she’s worked hard for these past few months! Today is her last day in the Philippines, too—she’s leaving back for the States tomorrow to prepare for college in the fall—but that’s alright, because she’s not leaving without a bang!
If you guys are in town, and you want to show Martina some love, it’s at Harold’s Hotel down Gorordo and Rosal, and the show starts at 830PM. Oh, and with special guest performances by the Wonggoys, Undercover Grasshoppers, Ella Melendez, and Mary Anchit. I’ll see guys there! It’s going to be epic!
Martina San Diego | Photographed and styled by Angelo Kangleon in Lapu-Lapu City on February 3, 2013 | Hair and makeup by Justine Gloria | Sittings assistant: April Ordesta | Special thanks to Cattski Espina, Andre San Diego, and Marla Baguio