Reuben Laurente pays tribute to his former group The CompanY in digital album

Reuben Laurente. Handout

MANILA — Singer Reuben Laurente has released his first digital album, “Milestone,” his sixth solo outing that he hopes will inspire and uplift the spirits of those who will listen amid this pandemic.

Although he has been away from the local entertainment scene for more than a decade because of his work in international cruise ships, Laurente found a perfect time to record an 11-track album when the ocean liners went on lockdown.

“I strongly believe that through this album, I can inspire, encourage and touch people in however unimaginable or unfathomable way it can also touch them. After all, music is the universal language of the soul,” he said.

“Milestone” leads with the re-imagined track, “Someone To Watch Over Me,” given an a cappella arrangement by Andre Castillo, Laurente’s former colleague in The CompanY. With this song, the two paid tribute to their erstwhile vocal group. The promotional video of the song was directed by the tandem Mikko Angeles and Patrick Nobleza.

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Laurente also recorded a duet, “Us Together,” with soul diva Jaya. The song is penned by Jonathan Manalo and arranged by Paulo Zarate.

There are two OPM revivals in “Milestone.” With Tricia Amper-Jimenez, Laurente recorded Gines Tan’s “Di Na Muling Mag-iisa,” originally sung by Basil Valdes and Pat Castillo. The song was arranged by the father and son team of Henry and Rush Garcia. “Sandaling Pinakahihintay” is a popular inspirational piece by Prof. Augusto “Agot” Espino and arranged by Naldy Rodriguez.

The original selections in “Milestone” are “Simula ng Umpisa” by Babsie Molina and Edith Gallardo, arranged by Niño Regalado; “Through It All” by Architect Markel Luna, arranged by Eboy Refuerzo; “Never Felt This Way Before” composed by Nathanael Arnel De Pano; and “Unexplainable” by Jungee Marcelo and arranged by Gino Cruz.

There are also “Panalo,” a song by Soc Villanueva arranged by Kahlil Refuerzo with Orly De la Cruz as co-arranger; an inspirational cut, “Stronger Together As One,” composed by Jasmine Aquino and arranged by Erle “Eboy” Refuerzo; and a Christmas OPM, “Pasko Na,” written and arranged by Arnel De Pano.

Aside from Laurente doing back-up vocals to his songs, other back-up vocals were arranged and recorded by Zebedee Zuñiga, Eboy Refuerzo, Luis Cortez, and Krina Cayabyab.

Laurente recorded “Milestone” at Ryan Sarmiento’s (of 6CycleMind) BackDoor Studio, The Purple Room and Paulo Zarate’s Studio Z. The album is produced by Arnold Santiago for GRMilestone Records.

“I’m not saying that after 34 years, ‘I’m still here,’” Laurente mused. “Most may not even know me and this is not inverted humility. Whether or not they felt my presence in the music industry, I believe my purpose is still to make good music and share it with the world. So, let me say, after 34 years, ‘I’m just here.’”

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