Nanette Inventor would never forget the date Nov. 14, 1983. It’s when she debuted on the now-defunct variety show “Penthouse Live” as Doña Leonila Evaporada Viuda de Ford a.k.a. Doña Buding, a character which established her career as a comedian of note.
However, not everybody knew she’s a singer, first and foremost.
A church choir member at the tender age of seven, Nanette would later become an active member of the U.P. (University of the Philippines) Concert Chorus. She would join them for three world tours before graduating with a degree in Foreign Service.
She didn’t dive into showbiz right after but worked for the then Department of Public Works, Transportation and Communications as personnel officer.
But the call of music was relentless. She would often moonlight as back-up singer for big stars of the day including Basil Valdez, Pilita Corrales, Celeste Legaspi, Leah Navarro, Apo Hiking Society and even Yoyoy Villame.
Her late lawyer-father didn’t like the idea though. “He wanted me to go to law but then my heart was telling me to go to music,” she said in an interview. “But he was the proudest when Doña Buding happened.”
Mind you, she was second choice to portray the well-loved TV character. She probably wouldn’t have gotten the part if Cynthia Patag, the first choice, didn’t have to back out after figuring in an accident.
“Penthouse Live” writer Jose Javier Reyes suggested Nanette.
“So I auditioned on a Monday, I said, ‘Is this a make or a break? It’s okay, I’ll just gonna do my best.’”
Despite her nerves, she aced the audition. Show director Fritz Ynfante even gave a thumbs up on her performance halfway through the first paragraph of the three-page single-spaced script.
The character paved the way for more successful appearances on different shows, particularly “Tit For Tat,” which won for her and cohort Mitch Valdes the Best Stand-Up Comedy Act award at the 1984 Aliw Awards.
While still enjoying popularity as Doña Buding, Nanette returned to her first love – music. She interpreted “Salamat, Salamat Musika,” which won the grand prize at the 7th Metro Manila Popular Musical Festival.
Nowadays, Nanette is happy that there are more platforms from which talented individuals could share their gifts to the world, like social media.
“Kasi most people today are techy. So social media is a big help (to budding artists hoping to make a mark). Even I, I actually feel the need to be educated on social media,” she said.
Now a well-respected veteran performer, she advises those who want to enter showbiz not to give up too easily. She recalls continually auditioning for projects even after being constantly rejected for being on the heavy side.
“I wasn’t so hurt. I would always think, ‘Ay, hindi para sa akin ’yan. Ayaw ng D’yos ’yan sa akin, meron s’yang ibibigay na mas higit pa.’ I would always have that kind of an attitude,” she said.
Citing singer Frenchie Dee, Nanette said, “I guess acceptance will just follow. Sa atin kasi, if you have a ‘flaw,’ ililinya ka kaagad sa comedy. So tuloy mo lang. In the end, mapapansin din ’yung talent mo.”
Nanette remains active in show business. She is seen weeknights as James Reid and Albie Casiño’s grandmother on “On The Wings Of Love.”
Just recently, too, Nanette performed in “Stages Sessions,” an acoustic concert series held at the 26th Bistro by Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf at Bonifacio Global City in Taguig.
Her repertoire consisted mostly of the classics, but she also performed several current hits namely “Pusong Bato” and “All About That Bass” but in the “Nanette Inventor way.” The series will soon make its way onto digital space via YouTube and SoundCloud.
For her next endeavor, Nanette hopes to cut an album with a big band as backup.
“I’ve always wanted to do a jazz album, ’yun talaga ang gusto ko,” said the Funny Lady of Songs. (MNS)