The original version of this article contained multiple errors and has been changed. See the bottom of the article for additional information.
From Kerckhoff Coffee House to Royce Hall, Philip Haro has performed almost everywhere on campus. But this Friday he will be performing on Pauley Pavilion’s much bigger stage as a Spring Sing soloist.
Haro, a fourth-year philosophy student and a newcomer to the Spring Sing stage, will perform as a solo vocal-and-guitar act. His YouTube channel, containing covers of popular genre hits, has gained a loyal following, with his cover of “Yeah 3x” by Chris Brown accumulating more than 21,000 views.
A singer-songwriter, Haro will perform an original composition at Spring Sing titled “Matter of Time,” one of the few songs Haro said he fully completed and is excited to perform for the audience.
“I haven’t really shown (my music) to anybody. … I have this book that I write songs in and a lot of them never come out the way I want them to,” Haro said. “(‘Matter of Time’) is one of the very few songs that I feel is good enough to call a song or to show to somebody else.”In elementary school, Haro found an interest in singing through his involvement in school talent shows. Realizing his potential as a performer, Haro joined choirs and a cappella groups in high school and won awards for his singing. He continued looking for performance opportunities in college, where he is now a member of Tinig Choral and Samahang Pilipino, a Filipino culture and awareness group.
Haro’s first exposure to performing in front of a large crowd came at the 35th Annual Samahang Pilipino Cultural Night in 2012, where he sang a piece with Justin De La Fuente titled “Give Me a Chance,” written by two members of the group.
Ethel Navales, a UCLA alumnus and one of Haro’s mentors for SPCN, said Haro’s inexperience in dealing with large crowds was overcome by his love of singing and motivation to succeed.
“I was practicing with him the whole year (for the event), and when he sang, you could see the passion and how he poured his heart out into the song,” Navales said. “His stage presence was very alluring.”
Influenced by R&B artists such as Frank Ocean and Trey Songz, Haro also posts covers on his YouTube channel, where he collaborates with friends and sings covers of songs such as “When I Was Your Man” by Bruno Mars and “Thinking About You” by Frank Ocean.
“Bruno Mars just has a really strong voice. … He’s just talented all around and is relevant no matter what song of his you listen to,” Haro said. “Frank Ocean’s writing style is really creative. … I feel like when I listen to him, I can just imagine everything he’s saying in my head.” A self-proclaimed newcomer to songwriting, Haro began composing and setting his pieces to guitar music in his senior year of high school. Although his lyrics aren’t based off personal experiences, Haro writes for his audience and incorporates life lessons into his lyrics.
“I try to go off real-life experiences that my friends can relate to or situations that other people have been in,” Haro said. “There has to be that personal sense of emotion that you’re putting into a song that comes from real life.”
Jerwyn Tiu, a fourth-year nursing student and one of Haro’s close friends and singing partners, said Haro’s singing ability comes from a natural, raw talent that’s more expressive than simply pitch perfect.
Tiu said Haro’s way of dealing with nervousness on stage came from a shared experience from singing in high school.
“We used to serenade our girlfriends back in high school,” Tiu said. “Now, I just tell him, ‘Whenever you get nervous, just find a pretty girl in the audience and pretend you’re singing just for her, you know, just as a trick.’ It usually works pretty well.”
Although Haro said he finds it difficult to balance songwriting and singing with a busy academic and work schedule, his passion for singing has helped him grow as an artist and performer.
“I never thought I would be in Spring Sing because it’s such a huge event,” Haro said. “But I took a chance, didn’t hold back and did what makes me happy and comfortable, and here I am now.”
Correction: The names of Ethel Navales and Justin De La Fuente were misspelled.