Imagine your perfect poster girl for Pinay pride.
For sure, images of a shy, soft-spoken Maria Clara come to mind: garbed perhaps in a modest terno; her fragile smile partially concealed by her dark, flowing hair; and with downcast eyes that betray her meek demeanor. Sounds typical, right?
Now, imagine Maria Claria with an extreme makeover: distressed jeans; outrageously wild, funky multi-colored tresses; loud ethnic prints, a pocketful of hiphop swagger and rock ‘n roll panache; and a touch of bling.
Think post-modern Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, Gwen Stefani or better yet, the current harbinger of shock and spunk: Lady Gaga, but with a more-relatable persona.
Shocking, you say? Blasphemous even? While the righteous scratch their heads in disbelief, the rest of the world are eagerly zeroing in and egging on the outrageous yet patriotic capers of this new multimedia phenomenon called Chelo Aestrid.
To date, her ‘Pinays Rise’ music video has been getting a lot of hits on YouTube and rising up the charts of Myx and Channel V, while the rest of her newly-minted ‘Love, Life and D’Light’ album under Homeworkz/Universal Records has triggered a massive following in the local Hip-hop scene.
Born Maria Chelo Espina, the Cebu-born native probably didn’t realize that she was shaping her destiny when she christened herself Aestrid at a formative age. “In Greek, ‘astrid’ means star,” she narrates. “I just gave it a personal touch by adding an ‘e’ to it. I coined it for fun and the name stuck ever since.”
She moved to the States when she was 8, and stayed in Los Angeles, California until she was 20. Though constantly shuffling back and forth to the Philippines for the longest time, Chelo A. decided to move back in 2007, with the end goal of finally forging her artistic destiny.
Although singing is her first love, her natural flair for dance eventually led her to joining the globally-acclaimed dance group: the Philippine Allstars. An original member since 2005, Chelo took some time off to study in London shortly thereafter. By the time the group bagged their 2nd World Hiphop Dance Championships award in 2008, she was back in their fold.
Despite the fun, camaraderie and adulation, Chelo is taking time off from the group after four years. “I just wanted to do something for myself this time. I was blessed with other talents that I want to share” she muses.
Thankfully, throughout her formative years in the biz, she had nurtured ties with fellow Hip-hop artists and producers such as Q-York – a Fil-Am production team, and local R&B superstar Jay-R, who was actually a classmate back in high school. With another exciting music video, the funky second single off her album, “Connection” features both Q-York and Jay-R.
A one woman production team, Chelo prides herself in visualizing her musical handiwork from idea to finished product – a trait perhaps honed to perfection through her college years dabbling in Architecture and Business Management, the latter of which she completed with First Class Honours in London’s Middlesex University.
A spinoff of such business acumen is currently in the works. With the help of some friends, she founded Capital G, a retail store catering to the indie Hip-hop and dance market, and is slated to open in Robinson’s Galleria’s 3rd Floor Sports Loop this July.
In the meantime, Chelo is brainstorming her own multimedia strategy for promoting ‘Love, Life & D’light. “The blogosphere is an ever-changing market, and there’s just so much room for promotion there,” she says.
She’s got the grooves, but she definitely knows how to makes her moves to strategize her way to fame. Thankfully, despite her flamboyant exterior, she’s not the type who would resort to errant behavior just to earn her 20 minutes of notoriety on the blogosphere. Somehow, maybe beneath all that leather and bling lies the heart and soul of a real Maria Clara after all.
LOVE, LIFE & D’LIGHT – 18 original and pos R&B / Hip-hop tracks with six enlightening innerludes!
Whether you want to think about Love, learn a bit about Life, or get inspired by the Light, this album’s got it all with infectious beats, positive vibes, and collabos with the best of Pinoy Urban artists!