Why Troy Laureta is feeling anything but ‘Dalamhati’ these days

“Dalamhati” is the title of the latest album of the Los Angeles-based Filipino-American music artist Troy Laureta. It’s the Tagalog word for “grief” or “grieving” — though that’s not how Laureta, 33, feels these days.

On the contrary, the Hawaii-born full-blooded Pinoy has been rejoicing over his triumph as the best-known Fil-Am musical director of pop superstars in the US today, the success of the albums of OPM (Original Pilipino Music) he has co-produced with ABS-CBN Star Music — and over a very personal event in his life.

That very personal event is his coming out as gay.

As Laureta confided to TFC Hollywood in a recent interview: “A lot of the reasons why I was so afraid to pursue certain parts of my life, including parts of music, is because I was closeted. 

“I was afraid that what I did or what I said would embarrass my family or people would judge me.”

But “The whole catalyst for that was just the pandemic and there was us being surrounded by so much sadness and so much death. I told myself that I am not leaving this earth, honey, not telling people who I am.”

It was in November 2022 that Laureta first admitted to the world through his Instagram his sexual orientation.

He confided his fear that the people he had been working with would all walk out of his life and his career, especially the male staff he drank beer with after work.

Dalamhati was the album he had to produce for Star Music at that time. But he had no reason to grieve. After he came out, no one changed their mind about working with him.

The album’s title notwithstanding, its first single release is the joyful “Kay Ganda ng Ating Musika”, sang by Martin Nievera. The song is likely the most popular composition of National Artist for Music Ryan Cayabyab during his younger years. 

Nievera, with Laureta on the keyboard, belted out the song in a recent Monday episode of the ABS-CBN noontime show ‘It’s Showtime,’ which has been airing on GTV, a sister network of GMA 7.

The album’s full title is actually ‘Dalamhati: A Troy Laureta OPM Collective, Vol. 3.’ It’s a follow-up to “Kaibigan: A Troy Laureta OPM Collective Vol. 1” released in November 2020, and “Giliw: A Troy Laureta OPM Collective Vol. 2,” which came out the following year.

Other artists featured in the album include Regine Velasquez, Jona, Jed Madela, Ogie Alcasid and American Idol alums Jordin Sparks and Katharine McPhee. It has 24 songs performed by artists from the US, the Philippines, Asia and Latin America.

Booming career

Laureta has gained recognition for his works with Ariana Grande, David Foster, Andrea Bocelli, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Steven Tyler and The Pussycat Dolls. 

In April 2015, Laureta celebrated his 27th birthday performing onstage with pop superstar Ariana Grande. His involvement with Grande began in January of that year when she asked her to be her musical director for a short concert series.

Laureta had no inkling he would end up working with her for almost the whole of 2015 on a US and international concert tour. 

In February 2015, he also served as Grande’s musical director when she performed at the Grammy Awards. 

While Laureta’s career boomed, he secretly cried a lot in his room from not being able to tell the world who he really is. But the album Dalamhati might as well represent the end of all that grieving. 

Some numbers in the album are Laureta’s compositions, such as Madela’s “Memory”, with an R&B tempo and has a rap-like segment. Before their recording session in the US, Madela said he doubted whether he could do the number well as he is largely a balladeer. Laureta assured Madela he could, and Madela did.

Even the young actor-singer Kyle Echarri has a cut in Dalamhati — a rap rendition of George Canseco’s “Kapantay ay Langit” which Echarri performs with Josefina Silveyra, a singer-actor from Argentina and daughter of the famous Argentinian actor Graciela Stefani.

Echarri, now teamed up with Andrea Brillantes in the ABS-CBN series Senior High, has been recording singles for Star Music even as the company has been promoting him mainly as an actor.

Many Pinoy showbiz idols may also be secretly grieving like Laureta did for being trapped in the closet. Rustom Padilla (now BB Gandanghari), Aiza Seguerra (now Ice Seguerra) and Charice Pempengco (now Jake Zyrus) are among the very few who bravely come out.

Miss Universe Philippines 2023 Michelle Dee has admitted to being bisexual — a non-issue to her being shut out of the Top 5 in the just-concluded Miss Universe pageant at El Salvador.