January 26, 2022
Jerome Jonathan Deligero – Musician
With Expo 2020 in full swing, Dubai’s growing music scene has been given an opportunity to shine on the world stage. Among them is Jerome Deligero, a Filipino Third Culture Kid who will be opening up for World Famous musician Jacob Collier this coming January 29th. Learn about his backstory, inspiration, and artistic journey on another edition of Illustrado Artist Spotlight.
Tell us about yourself. What kind of art do you make? Feel free to include your personal story.
I’m a Filipino Guitarist, Singer and Songwriter born, raised, and based in Dubai. I grew up regularly going to church, and eventually started playing when I was 13. I loved it so much, and it led me to pursue music as a professional career.
How did you become passionate about art? What inspires you? What is the philosophy behind it?
Definitely my upbringing. Growing up in church, everyone in the church band wanted to do their best and encouraged me to do so. All of the musicians were dedicated to their craft. Even with full time jobs, we still volunteered to practice until 2AM just to get things right.
My peers and colleagues inspire me as well – musicians in the city who are making their own way and pushing the limits. Listening to their work and watching them trying just makes me want to do better.
What makes your art unique from the rest? Are there any defining characteristics? Or is there a definitive approach to your work that you’ve made your own?
I was primarily known as a sideman within the local music scene – a guitarist accompanying and supporting the main vocalist. However, I’ve been focusing more on myself as a singer/songwriter, so now I can proudly say that I’m both sideman and frontman.
Have you had any significant events through your artistic career? Exhibitions, showcases, etc.
I have played in some of the biggest and best venues in the Region such as: Dubai Expo 2020, Dubai Jazz Fest, Dubai Opera House, Formula 1, Diriyah Festival in Riyadh, Mother of The Nation, Market Outside the Box and the Asian Football Cup.
I also opened for main headliners at events like Khalid, Snow Patrol, Morcheeba, and (at the end of the month), I’ll be opening for Multiple Grammy Award Winning Artist Jacob Collier at the Expo Jubilee Stage on the 29th of Jan, 7:20.
What can you say about the art community in your country? What are the good parts and the bad parts (if any)?
The community in Dubai is very small but strong. I do believe the music community is the strongest it’s ever been right now too. So many musicians just want to support each other. But with a small community, the demand for original music isn’t there yet. Most venues want covers and top 40 hits. Unfortunately, as of now, the most people don’t really want to hear local original music. I’m hoping that will change in the next 5-10 years.
What are some of the challenges that you face as an artist? How do you get past them?
It’s a constant battle of having to pay bills and stay true to your art. Sometimes the venue wants you to play high energy cover songs, but that’s not what you want to do. Sometimes you’re just lucky and have both the money and artistic freedom. The only way to get ahead is to assess where you ware currently what choose what you will prioritize. Once that’s clear, the choices you make for work are very easy.
Do you see any future for artists such as yourself? Is art essential to the development of your community?
I do see a future, and we, the rest of the musicians in Dubai, just need to keep working on it. Art is essential. It connects a diverse group of people from different walks of life to one venue, event, painting, performance, and show.
What’s your message to artists around the world? Especially in these tough times with the pandemic affecting everyone.
Keep creating, Stay true to yourself, and be kind to others. Just because we’re dealt with bad cards, doesn’t mean we can’t be good.
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