Here's How Bacolod's Blind Balladeer Captured the Attention of the World!
Choose Philippines | Feb 27, 2020
Story and photos by Marty D. Go
At 21 years old, Carl Malone Montecido has been fighting his ordeals in life as a blind kid but his disability never stopped him from pursuing his dream to be a renowned singer.
Hailing from one of the small barangays in Bacolod City, his parents, Ferdinand and Divina, made a living by cooking and selling Inasal and other viands. Growing up, Carl was fond of singing ballads, performing at home and in school. In 2010, he tried his luck when he joined Pilipinas Got Talent where he reached up to the semi-finals. He continued to pursue his dream. In 2017, he joined Tawag ng Tanghalan in the Kapamilya Network’s noontime program, It’s Showtime. He succeeded in wooing the hearts of the judges with his soothing ballads, landing him the 6th spot in the grand finals and earning him the moniker “the Blind Balladeer.”
These experiences bolstered Carl's determination to go after his dream. He told himself that destiny may have other plans, so he kept on singing in every opportunity that he got. One fateful night, he and his classmate decided to pass by a supermarket inside a mall near their school to buy some food. A videoke salesman recognized Carl and requested him to sing Too Good at Goodbyes by Sam Smith. Carl quickly obliged. Little did he know that another shopper uploaded a video of his impromptu performance to Facebook. “I was so shocked nga ang akon video ara na sa Facebook kag naglab-ot na 2.4 million. Ka overwhelmed gid gyapon kay after I lost the competition the last time, the door was already closed for me. Ang mahambal ko subong nga nagbukas ang bag-o nga opportunity for me,” he said. (I was shocked that my video was on Facebook and it reached 2.4 million likes. I am very overwhelmed because after losing the competition, I thought the door was already closed for me. Now, this opens a new opportunity.)
Two days after it was posted, his video got the attention of international singer-songwriter Sam Smith who lauded Carl’s cover of his song. Flabbergasted by being praised by one of his idols, Carl regained the confidence to pursue his dream to be a singer. "Actually, naluha ako eh nung marami nag PM sa akin na ‘Carl alam mo ba si Sam Smith nag react doon sa version mo ng Too Good at Goodbyes? So sabi ko, “Ha, sino ba ako? I'm just a simple singer lang naman, aspiring singer dito sa Philippines. Pero, napansin ako ng isang kilalang tao at hindi lang siya kilala eh talagang famous talaga siya sa buong mundo", he said. (Actually, I got teary-eyed when I received a lot of PMs saying ‘Carl, did you know that Sam Smith reacted to your version of Too Good at Goodbyes? I said to myself, “Who am I? I’m just a simple aspiring singer in the Philippines. But, I got recognized by a famous person who is known around the world.”)
Carl’s mom, Divina, could barely contain her joy for her son’s steadfast spirit and sheer luck. “Lipay gid bala. Sobra. Wala gid kami nag expect.” (I am so happy. We did not expect this.) His dad, Ferdinand, adds “Lipay gid ko kay nahimo niya kun ano ang iya gusto kun ano da gina suportahan ko lang siya.” (I am so happy because he now gets to do what he loves and I am just here to support him.)
Beyond the newfound fame and publicity, Carl wants to take the opportunity to inspire other Persons with Disabilities to be steadfast in chasing their hopes and dreams. His viral video has now been viewed for more than 14 million times and shared for 925 times in social media. The amount of attention it received has opened doors of opportunities for Carl as he began receiving numerous TV guesting invitations, notably from the popular American TV talk show host, Ellen Degeneres. Carl is also preparing for the World Championship of Performing Arts or WCOPA in Anaheim, California in July where he qualified as a finalist. “Dala gid ya sa pagka music lover kag at the same time, gusto ko maghatag dungog sa nasyon. I have not used my condition just to catch attention or para kaluy-an o ano. I’m just being true to myself. I’m just giving my best lang gid. Ginapakita ko lang ang akon ikasarang nga ginahatag sang mahal nga makaako.” (This stems from my love of music. At the same time, I want to give honor to our nation. I am not using my condition to gain sympathy or catch attention. I am just being true to myself. I am just showcasing my talent which was given to me by God.)