Smokey Mountain

Smokey Mountain was a Filipino singing group formed by musical director, composer, conductor Ryan Cayabyab and executive producer Judd Berlin. The original group was based in Manila, Philippines, and had James Coronel, Geneva Cruz, Jeffrey Hidalgo, and Tony Lambino as its original members while Jason Angangan, Chedi Vergara & Shar Santos joined James Coronel for the second lineup after Geneva Cruz, Jeffrey Hidalgo & Tony Lambino left the group. Eventually, James Coronel left to pursue a solo career and Anna Fegi replaced Shar Santos during the 1994 tour in Japan. They were often dressed in ragged clothes to depict the then dire situation of the scavengers living in the garbage dump in Manila after which the group was named, while the second lineup dressed up in casuals. In 1989, the group released its first self-titled pop album that consisted of songs revolving around social, environmental, and patriotic themes. The group's first hit, Kailan (When), was number one on national airwaves for eight straight weeks and the album hit gold, platinum, and double-platinum status within months of its release. In late 1990, the group went on the "Better World" tour, performing at the United Nations World Summit for Children in New York and representing the Philippines at the 5th ASEAN Song Festival in Surabaya, Indonesia. Having to choose between formal schooling and a two-year, two album contract for release in Europe and the U.S., Tony Lambino and Jeffrey Hidalgo left the group, while Geneva Cruz pursued a solo career & released her first solo album "I like you". The popularity of the group already reached its peak at the time of the departure of the group's 3 members, however, Ryan Cayabyab held auditions to find new members to fill in the void of the 3 founding members who left the group. Ryan Cayabyab then reformed the group with remaining original member James Coronel and three new members Shar Santos, Chedi Vergara, and Jayson Angangan. This second batch also had successful hits, such as Da Coconut Nut (about the benefits of the coconut tree), Paraiso (literally paradise; ironically, about a degrading environment filled with garbage and smog), and their own version of Kailan (boy version). They also won awards for both Paraiso, "Kahit Habang Buhay" and Tayo Na. The media was very critical of the new members who joined James Coronel, however in 1992 at the Tokyo Music Festival the new lineup proved their worth as they won the grand prize in the contest. They also joined the Golden Kite Festival & won the 1st Place trophy, their album also sold more copies than the original lineup's release & had more tours in Asia and Europe. In around 1993 they released the 3rd & international album "Know You Will", after the promotion of the 3rd album James Coronel would leave the group. The remnants of the latest batch released the 4th album "Death Penalty" & disbanded a year later. In 1998 BMG Records (now Sony Music Philippines) released the fifth and final album of the Smokey Mountain "Smokiest Hits" with 12 tracks. Geneva Cruz would later on move full-time into showbiz. Tony Lambino cut a solo album and wrote songs recorded by fellow artists, did musical theatre with the Cultural Center of the Philippines, among others, and anchored an early morning news program on ABS-CBN. He finished undergraduate studies at the Ateneo De Manila University, cum laude, and completed his masters degree at Harvard University as a Fulbright Scholar. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate at University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School for Communication. Tony Lambino also worked at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. and is now head of communication at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). Jeffrey Hidalgo completed his Chemical Engineering degree at the University of the Philippines and placed 11th when he took the board exam. In 2009, he studied film making at the New York Film Academy in Abu Dhabi. He has written songs in recent years and even competed in the Metropop Song Festival. He currently runs his own company which specializes in cleaning products. James Coronel owns call centers in USA, Philippines, India and Sri Lanka. Shar Santos would audition in the fourth edition of the reality show American Idol under the name Sharon Galvez, but was shut out of the semi-finals and now she is Sharon Kaylor. Chedi Vergara also released her self-title album "Chedi" with some success and she joined in Teatro and she also has a band but now she stayed in Brisbane, Australia. Jayson Angangan returned in his own native land in Ilagan Isabela. Anna Fegi joined the group in 1994 for the final tour in Japan as she replaced Shar Santos. Anna has gone on to release 2 solo albums on the Sony BMG label, perform on the hit show ASAP, tour with cruise line Royal Caribbean International, and perform in several musicals for Atlantis Productions in both Manila and Singapore. In March 2011, all Smokey Mountain members re-united for the first time in 15 years to record a new song for Japan earthquake relief entitled I FEEL WHAT YOU FEEL. The group has strong ties to Japan and some members lived in Tokyo during the peak of their popularity in the early 1990s. Due to the members now being spread out all over the globe, the song was recorded separately and then edited together in a studio. In the 2000s the commonly known song "Kailan" has been covered by singers Sarah Geronimo and Juris and the Philippine Acoustic OPM band MYMP in the present generation and has been mostly covered until today by many other Filipino artists even on television especially the 2012 Primetime Series Ina, Kapatid, Anak by Male Singer Bryan Termulo.

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