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Darren Espanto facts for kids

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For his self-titled studio album, see Darren (album).
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Darren Espanto
Darren Espanto 2019.jpeg
Espanto on Instagram/"Sasagipin Kita" Promotion
Background information
Birth name Darren Lyndon Gonzales Espanto
Also known as The Total Performer
Born May 24, 2001 (2001-05-24) (age 19)
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Genres Pop, OPM, Broadway
Occupation(s) Singer, actor
Instruments
  • Vocals
  • Piano
  • Percussions
  • Saxophone
Years active 2012 (2012)–present
Labels Corus Entertainment (2012 (2012)–13)
Sony Music (2012 (2012)–13)
Star Magic (2014 (2014)–present)
MCA Music (2014 (2014)–present)
Associated acts Sarah Geronimo (The Voice Kids coach), ASAP G!

Darren Lyndon Gonzales Espanto (born May 24, 2001) is a Filipino-Canadian singer and actor well-known for his cover songs such as Chandelier, originally sung by Sia. He first joined a competition at the age of ten, where he won the Masters Finals of the Pinoy Singing Sensation competition in Edmonton. He made his first television appearance at the same age when he joined YTV's reality television The Next Star in 2012; he became the youngest finalist in the history of the show to be included in the Top 6. However, he rose to prominence after joining the first season of The Voice Kids Philippines. On June 1, 2014, Espanto became a part of ABS-CBN's Star Magic.

Espanto released his first full-length self-titled studio album, Darren in December 2014, under MCA Music Inc. (Philippines), a Universal Music Group company. It debuted at number 1 on the Philippine charts of Apple's iTunes store and Astro Chart; it is now a certified Double Platinum. In May 2015, Espanto staged a major solo concert at MOA Arena, he set a record for being the youngest artist to perform at the said venue at the age of 14. In May 2016, he released his sophomore album titled Be with Me, also under MCA Music Inc. (Philippines), featuring his carrier single "7 Minutes", that was then followed by "Starlight" and "Parachute", which also became number 1 on the Philippine charts of Apple's iTunes store after just being released. The said album is now a certified Platinum. In August 2018, he later ventured into acting where he played Yohan (younger brother of George, portrayed by Bernardo) in The Hows Of Us starring Kathryn Bernardo with Daniel Padilla directed by Cathy Garcia-Molina which happens to be one of the highest-grossing Philippine movies of all time to date. In April 2019, Espanto was the only Filipino artist invited as a guest performer in the grand finals of Singer 2019 in China. Espanto, along with Asia's Phoenix Morissette Amon, was also handpicked by Disney to perform the rendition of "A Whole New World" as part of the Philippine promotion of the movie Aladdin in May 2019. In November 2019, the theme song for the ASEAN-ROK Commemorative Summit titled "Side by Side" was launched, where he participated as one of the 11 ASEAN singers representing each member country. The same month, he released his original composition, "Sasagipin Kita", also under MCA Music Inc. (Philippines). The song debuted at number 1 on the Philippine charts of Apple's iTunes store on the first day of its release. In April 2020, Espanto was appointed by the United Nations Development Programme (under its Philippine office) as its first-ever celebrity Youth Advocate to promote its Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs, focusing on climate action, biodiversity conservation and youth empowerment. In November 2020, Espanto released a new Christmas single, "Believe in Christmas", under MCA Music Inc. (Philippines) which debuted at number 1 of Apple's iTunes store Philippines two hours upon its release.

Personal life

Espanto was born in Calgary on May 24, 2001. He is the first child of Filipino registered nurses Marinel Gonzales and Lyndon Espanto, who emigrated to Canada from Nueva Vizcaya. His parents taught him Filipino language, particularly Tagalog. Espanto started singing at the age of three . He was interested in singing from a young age, and his parents were supportive of his dreams.

As a toddler, Espanto serenaded to his parents with the tunes of Hakuna Matata from The Lion King, which led to his relatives discovering his singing potential and urging him to pursue and hone his raw talent.

At age 12, Espanto attended Grade 6 at St. Jude Elementary in Calgary, before traveling to the Philippines in 2014 for The Voice Kids. After passing the auditions, he returned to Canada to write his advanced test in St. Cyril School. Afterwards, he returned to the Philippines. Espanto, along with the other The Voice Kids finalists, received a ₱350,000 scholarship from Eton International School. Upon moving to the Philippines, he went to Eton International School and later on took up homeschooling under The Homeschool of Asia Pacific, an affiliate of the Sanston Academy (Texas) where he completed his senior high school with honors. In Grade 11, he was awarded with second honors. In Grade 12, he graduated with first honors and received two special awards, i.e., the Achiever Award and the Excellence in Music and Arts Award.

Career

At age 10, Espanto won during the Main Edition Finals of the Pinoy Singing Sensation competition in Edmonton on August 20, 2011, singing "Alone" by Celine Dion.

2012–2013: The Next Star

In 2012, ten-year-old Espanto auditioned for the fifth season of YTV's reality television The Next Star, singing Bruno Mars' "Grenade". One of the judges, Keshia Chanté, got emotional and told him that his voice was 'unbelievable' and 'controlled'. Judge Mark Spicoluk, on the other hand, stated that he 'lacked stage presence'. Nevertheless, after Chante asked him if he was ready, she and Tara Oram said yes, earning him the 'golden ticket'.

He continued to be selected onto its Top 6, singing pop songs such as Rihanna's "Only Girl (in the World)" and Maroon 5's "Payphone" among others. He also had his own single and music video entitled "Gotta Give A Little Extra", as well as two other singles, "Now" and "Oh Oh Santa" with the other five finalists. Ultimately, he lost to 14-year-old Brooklyn Roebuck, after singing his own single during the finals. He was the youngest finalist in the history of the show to be included in the Top 6.

In 2013, Espanto had his first series as a guest in YTV's Life with Boys.

2014: The Voice Kids

During the auditions of the inaugural season of ABS-CBN's The Voice Kids that aired on June 1, 2014, Espanto performed Jessie J's "Domino", which he formerly sang during The Next Star at age 11. Coaches Sarah Geronimo and Bamboo Mañalac both pressed their buttons for him, vocalizing that he 'can be groomed to be a recording artist, a total package'. Although Espanto revealed that he was Mañalac's front act during one of his concerts in Canada, he still picked Geronimo stating that she could help him a lot in the music industry.

Espanto eventually advanced to the finals after singing Whitney Houston's "One Moment in Time" during the live semi-finals held at the Newport Performing Arts Theater in Resorts World Manila, Pasay. He was the second one to receive the highest votes, after Lyca Gairanod. Salonga, one of the coaches commented that Espanto is a phenomenal while his mentor Geronimo stated that he was 'a winner and a complete package'. He also sang "Somebody To Love" by Justin Bieber with some back up dancers, and Star Magic artists.

In the finale, during the first round which was a power ballad theme, Espanto performed Basil Valdez's song "Ngayon" where he received a standing ovation including from the three coaches. Lea Salonga left a warning to older performers, saying: "To every person Darren idolized, this is a warning to all of you: this kid will outshine you someday". Once again, Geronimo praised him and said that despite his talent, Espanto never showed superiority and instead listened to his coach. On the final round of the competition, Espanto accompanied himself with a piano during his performance of "You Are My Song" while having a duet with the original singer Martin Nievera, where received another standing ovation. At the end of the competition, he once again came in second after Lyca Gairanod.

The Voice Kids Philippines season 1 performances and results
Week Theme Song Original Artist Date Result
Blind Audition N/A "Domino" Jessie J June 1, 2014 Sarah and Bamboo turned
Joined Team Sarah
Battle Rounds N/A "What Makes You Beautiful"

(vs. JM and JC Urquico vs. Sam Shoaf)

One Direction July 12, 2014 Saved by Coach
Sing-offs N/A "Listen" Beyoncé July 13, 2014 Saved by Coach
Semi-finals N/A "One Moment in Time" Whitney Houston July 19, 2014 Saved by Public Votes (2nd Highest Votes)
Finals Round One: Power Ballad "Ngayon" Basil Valdez July 26, 2014 1st Runner-up
Round Two: Upbeat "Somebody To Love" Justin Bieber July 26, 2014
Round Three: Duet with a celebrity "You Are My Song" (with Martin Nievera) Martin Nievera July 27, 2014

2014–present: Post The Voice Kids

In 2014, Espanto said that he will not go back to Calgary, Alberta, and that he was staying in the Philippines to try acting and do a project with his coach and mentor, Sarah Geronimo. In August, Espanto became a part of ABS-CBN's training and management center Star Magic. On September 11, Espanto's rendition of Whitney Houston's "One Moment in Time" topped the Philippine charts of Apple's iTunes store, while his rendition of Justin Bieber's "Somebody to Love" placed second. He then staged his first solo concert at the Music Museum; a repeat of the concert was staged on December 19, 2014. On October 25, he made his Carnegie Hall debut as the headliner at the Fourth The Outstanding Filipino Americans in New York Awards, which celebrated Filipino American History Month in New York City. On November 18, his rendition of "O Little Town of Bethlehem" topped the iTunes chart, while his rendition of Jessie J's "Domino" placed second, in which the two were the only local songs to be included on the top 15. And on November 29, Espanto signed a record and management deal with MCA Music Inc. (Philippines). A week after, he and the other three finalists of The Voice Kids (Lyca Gairanod, Juan Karlos Labajo, and Darlene Vibares) held a concert at the Philippine International Convention Center. He also released his first solo album, "Darren", with MCA Music Inc. (Philippines). It debuted at number 1 at the Philippine charts of Apple's iTunes Store upon its release on December 8.

In January 2015, Espanto performed Trina Belamide's "Tell The World of His Love" (the theme for World Youth Day 1995) during Pope Francis's visit to the Philippines. On May 29, Espanto performed at the Mall of Asia Arena for his birthday concert making him the youngest performer to stage a solo concert in the said venue. On November 18, Espanto was one of the singers performing at a state dinner for a delegation from Mexico. Also in November 2015, Espanto was chosen to perform the official theme song for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting titled, "This is Only the Beginning", composed by Mr. Ryan Cayabyab.

In 2016, Espanto released his sophomore album "Be With Me". The album contains 11 songs from the singer, two of which are his original compositions. On July 31, 2016, Espanto opened for the Philippine leg of Selena Gomez's Revival tour.

On May 4, 2017 during his Twitter party, Espanto surprised his fans with a deluxe edition of his sophomore solo album entitled Be With Me, to be released the following day. Be With Me (Deluxe Edition) contains 5 bonus tracks: "I’ll Be There" with Jed Madela, Acoustic versions of "7 Minutes" and "Alam", the viral hit, his cover of Sia's "Chandelier", and a stripped version of Young Hearts with Malaysian pop singer Nik Qistina.

In 2018, Espanto made his acting debut in The Hows of Us. Espanto also became a member of the teen pop group ASAP G! Other members of the group are Isabela Vinzon, Jayda Avanzado, Ylona Garcia, Jeremy Glinoga and Kyle Echarri. The group formed on June 3, 2018 and disbanded in November 2018, when the show was reformatted into ASAP Natin 'To.

In 2019, Espanto was part of The Aces concert with fellow singers Lani Misalucha and Jonalyn Viray. The trio performed in Cebu, Davao, and Manila (at the Araneta Coliseum). Espanto and Viray, so called the Pair of Aces, also conducted a tour in Canada (Calgary, Winnipeg and Toronto) in the latter part of the year. On April 12, he also appeared as the only Filipino guest performer in the grand finals of Singer 2019 in China. This was followed by the release of "A Whole New World" on May 24, wherein he and Morissette Amon collaborated to perform the rendition of the song as part of the Philippine promotion of the movie Aladdin as handpicked by Disney. On November 25, the theme song for the ASEAN-ROK Commemorative Summit titled "Side by Side" was launched, where he participated as one of the 11 ASEAN singers representing each member country. And on November 29, he released his single "Sasagipin Kita" which he wrote himself, also under MCA Music Inc. (Philippines) where it debuted at number 1 on the Philippine charts of Apple's iTunes store on the first day of its release.

In the early part of 2020, Espanto was set to participate in the Singer 2020 competition in China, but the plan was later on cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak and related travel bans. On April 15, 2020, the United Nations Development Programme (under its Philippine office) launched Espanto as its first-ever celebrity Youth Advocate to promote its SDGs, focusing on climate action, biodiversity conservation and youth empowerment. On May 24, 2020, Espanto celebrated his 19th birthday through an online benefit concert entitled "D Birthday Concert from Home". The concert was streamed live via Espanto's Facebook page and garnered around 12,000 viewers and 251,000 views. Through this event, he was able to raise P838,206.69 which was donated to his home network, ABS-CBN Pantawid ng Pag-ibig program. On June 12, 2020, Espanto, in his capacity as UNDP Philippines Youth Advocate, became part of United Nations Development Programme's On February 13, 2021, Espanto released his cover of LANY's song entitled, "If This Is The Last Time", as part of a project with various artists under MCA Music Inc. (Philippines), in coordination with Universal Music Group. On February 20, 2021, Espanto and AC Bonifacio joined the Your Face Sounds Familiar (Philippine season 3) family as online hosts via the KaFamiliar Online and other digital platforms, weekly episode of which airs every Saturday and Sunday.

Filmography

Television

Television
Year Show Network Date aired Notes
2012 The Next Star YTV July 16 – December 18 Himself
2013 Life with Boys YTV July 23 Himself (Cameo)
2014 The Voice Kids ABS-CBN June 1 – July 27 Himself
2015 – present ASAP ABS-CBN Himself (Performer)

Digital

Online Show
Year Show Platform Date aired Notes
2020 – present iWantASAP iWant and iWant TFC digital platforms June 14 Himself (Host / Performer)
2021 – present Your Face Sounds Familiar PH / KaFamiliar Online YourFacePH/KaFamiliar Online, Kapamilya/iWantTFC digital platforms February 20 Himself (Host)

Film

Movie
Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2018 The Hows of Us Yohan Silva First film appearance

Discography

Studio albums

Album
Year Album title Recording label Certification Check it out here
2014 The Voice Kids: The Album MCA Music Inc. (Philippines) Gold The Voice Kids: The Album
Darren Double Platinum Darren Deluxe
2016 Be With Me Platinum Be With Me
2017 Be With Me (Deluxe Edition) Platinum Be With Me (Deluxe Edition)
D's Christmas N/A N/A

Special albums

Album
Year Album title Recording label Certification
2015 The Next Star Chronicles: The Early Years Ivory Music N/A

Singles

List of singles, showing year released and album name
Title Year Album
"In Love Ako Sayo" 2014 Darren
"Stuck" 2015
"Makin' Moves"
"7 Minutes" 2016 Be With Me
"Starlight"
"Parachute"
"Alam"
"Poison" 2018 Non-album singles
"Sasagipin Kita" 2019
"Sana Tayo Na"
(with Jayda Avanzado)
2020
"Believe in Christmas"

Promotional singles

List of promotional singles, showing year released and album name
Title Year Album
"Now" 2011 YTV's The Next Star – Season 5
"Oh Oh Santa"
(with Brooklyn Roebuck, Ryan Hawken, Amer Dhaliwal, Grace Johnston, and Issy Dahl)
"Thank You, Ang Babait Ninyo" 2014 ABS-CBN Christmas Station ID 2014
"Lord Merry Christmas" My Christmas Album: All-Stars
"Chandelier" 2016 The Hottest Pinoy Hits ... Ever!
"I'll Be There"
(with Jed Madela)
Life Songs (MMK Commemorative Album)
"A Whole New World"
(with Morissette Amon)
2019 Non-album single

Chart performance

List of other charted songs, with selected chart positions and album name
Title Year Peak chart positions Album
PH
Hit Chart Pinoy
"Somebody to Love" 2014 3 1 The Voice Kids: The Album
"In Love Ako Sa'Yo" 2015 1 1 Darren
"Stuck" 1 1
"Build a Girl" 3 3 Darren Espanto: The Early Years
"Makin' Moves" 1 1 Darren
"7 Minutes" 2016 1 1 Be With Me
"Starlight" 1 1
"Parachute" 1 1
"Alam" 1 1
"I'll Be There"
(with Jed Madela)
2017 1 1 Life Songs: MMK 25 (Commemorative Album)
"Pasko Na" 2 1 D's Christmas
"Dying Inside to Hold You" 2 1 All of You (Official Soundtrack)
"Poison" 2018 1 1 Non-album singles
"Sasagipin Kita" 2019 2 2
"Sana Tayo Na"
(with Jayda Avanzado)
2020 2 1
"Believe in Christmas" 5 3

Concerts

Solo concerts

Solo concerts
Year Title Details Notes Ref.
2014 The Total Performance Concert
  • Date: October 4, Saturday
  • Venue: Music Museum, Greenhills, San Juan
  • Produced by: Aqueous Events Management
First major solo concert
Homecoming Concert
  • The Total Performer Returns - November 7 at the Grey Eagle Casino Event Center,
    Calgary AB Canada
  • Thank You Canada - November 8 at the Mirage Banquet Hall,
    Edmonton AB Canada
The Total Performance Concert 2
  • Date: December 19, Friday
  • Venue: Music Museum, Greenhills, San Juan
  • Produced by: Aqueous Events Management
The Repeat Concert
2015 The Canada Concert Tour
  • The Voice of Darren Espanto Live in Ottawa - January 4 at the Bronson Centre Inc., Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • The Voice of Darren Espanto Live In Toronto - January 13 at the Toronto Pavilion, 190 Railside Road, Canada
The Total Performance Concert 3
  • Date: January 23
  • Venue: Albay Astrodome
  • Produced by: Aqueous Events Management
The 2nd Repeat Concert (Finale)
Darren Espanto: D' Birthday Concert
  • Date: May 29, Friday
  • Venue: Mall of Asia Arena
  • Produced by: MCA Music Inc.
The Major Birthday Concert
Canada Concert Tour
  • Darren Live in Edmonton - October 3 at the Radisson Hotel and Convention Center
  • Darren Live in Calgary - October 4 at the Jack Singer Concert Hall
D' Road Tour
  • October 9 - Araullo University Gymnasium
  • October 10 - AUF Sports and Cultural Center
  • October 23 - SMX Davao
  • November 13 - Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino
  • December 12 - University of Baguio
2016 D Total Experience
  • Date: June 25, Saturday
  • Venue: Kia Theater, Cubao, Quezon City
  • Produced by: EG Entertainment Services
2nd major solo concert
One Music Digital Concert Series Presents: The Other Side of DARREN
  • Date: October 30, Sunday
  • Venue: ABS-CBN Compound
  • Produced by: One Music PH
Digital concert
D Total Experience with Live Band
  • Date: November 18, Friday
  • Venue: Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, California
2017 Now Playing: DARREN
  • Date: April 14, Friday
  • Venue: TFC Studio, Daly City, CA
  • Produced by: TFC, OneMusic
2018 UNSTOPPABLE
  • Date: May 26, Saturday
  • Venue: Kia Theatre, Cubao, Quezon City
3rd major solo concert
2020 D' Birthday Concert From Home
  • Date: May 24, Sunday
  • Venue: broadcast via Facebook Live
with special guests Mr. Gary Valenciano and Moira Dela Torre

Affiliated concerts

Year Title Details Notes Ref.
2014 Boses ng Bulilit... Kami Ulit!
  • Date: July 31, Thursday
  • Venue: Resorts World Manila
  • Studio: ABS-CBN
The Voice Kids
Lani Misalucha's Concert, the Philippine Tour
  • Date: August 22, Friday
  • Venue: Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino
Guest with Lyca Gairanod
  • Date: August 29, Friday
  • Venue: SMX Convention Center, Davao
Jed Madela All Requests 2
  • Date: September 12, Friday
  • Venue: Music Museum, Greenhills, San Juan
Guest
The Voice of Mitoy, Klarrise, Darren
  • November 21 - Massey Theatre, Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • November 23 - Century Casino, Calgary, AB, Canada
with Mitoy Yonting and Klarisse De Guzman
The Voice Kids ALL IN: THE CONCERT
  • Date - December 6
  • Venue - PICC Plenary Hall
The Voice Kids
2015
  • The Voice Kids All In Sinulog The Concert
  • Date: January 17
  • Venue: Waterfront Hotel and Casino, Cebu
Bamboo World Tour
  • Date: March 15, Sunday
  • Venue: Singapore Expo Max Pavilion
Little Voices: Live in Australia
  • Little Voices Live in Brisbaine - March 21 at the Diverciti Centre, Newmarket QLD
  • Little Voices Live in Adelaide - March 22 at the Norwood Concert Hall,178 The Parade, Norwood, SA
  • Little Voices Live in Sydney - March 27 at the St. Mary's Band Club, Oxley Park NSW
  • Little Voices Live in Melbourne - March 28 at the Millenium Reception and Function Centre, VIC
with Lyca Gairanod
Thor: Soulful Major Concert
  • Date: July 17, Friday
  • Venue: Music Museum, Greenhills, San Juan
Guest
Kyla Flying High
  • Date: November 20, Friday
  • Venue: Kia Theater, Cubao, Quezon City
Guest
Jessie J Live in manila
  • Date: December 10, Thursday
  • Venue: Kia Theater, Cubao, Quezon City
Front act
2016 Heartthrobs Reloaded
  • Date: March 26 & 27, Saturday & Sunday
  • Venue: Pechanga Resort and Casino, Temecula, CA
with Piolo Pascual, Sam Milby and Pokwang
Selena Gomez The Revival Tour Live in Manila
  • Date: July 31, Sunday
  • Venue: Mall of Asia Arena
Front act
2017 Star Magic 25 - A Grand Celebration
  • Star Magic 25 Grand Celebration in Canada - April 9 at the Queen Elizabeth Theater, Vancouver, BC
  • Star Magic 25 Grand Celebration in the US - April 15 at the California's Great America, Santa Clara, CA
with Star Magic Artists
2018 Alex Aiono: Manila Tour
  • Date: February 23, Friday
  • Venue: Uptown Mall
Special Guest
  • Date: February 24, Saturday
  • Venue: Eastwood Mall Open Park, Eastwood City, Quezon City, Philippines
  • Date: February 25, Sunday
  • Venue: Venice Grand Canal Mall, Taguig, Philippines
Millennial Voices: Australia Tour
  • Date: July 27, Friday
  • Venue: Club Marconi
with Morissette Amon
  • Date: July 28, Saturday
  • Venue: Planetshakers Centre
2019 The Aces
  • Date: February 2, Saturday
  • Venue: Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino, Cebu
w/ Ms. Lani Misalucha and Jonalyn Viray
  • Date: March 2, Saturday
  • Venue: SMX Convention Center, Davao
  • Date: March 30, Saturday
  • Venue: Araneta Coliseum, Manila
One Music X Festival (1MX)
  • Date: May 26, Sunday
  • Venue: Scape Playspace Orchard Link, Singapore
Various Artists
  • Date: November 22, Friday
  • Venue: Centris Elements, Manila
The Pair of Aces
  • Date: October 12, Saturday
  • Venue: Grey Eagle Casino (Calgary), Alberta, Canada
w/ Jonalyn Viray
  • Date: October 13, Sunday
  • Venue: Club Regent Event Center (Winnipeg), Manitoba, Canada
  • Date: October 19, Saturday
  • Venue: Toronto Pavilion, Toronto, Canada

Awards & nominations

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