THE POWER OF LOVE
Where: St. Andrew’s United Church, 315 Fitzwilliam St.
When: Saturday, Feb. 10, 7 p.m. (doors at 6)
Tickets: $25 from gotpopconcerts.com; $30 at the door
Write, record, and tour. That’s the familiar path for a musician, and it is a proven formula for those wanting to have a career in music.
Not everyone wants to tread the same boards, however. Some performers — like Lantzville singer Raymond Salgado, for example — would rather find their own way to the finish line.
The shy 26 year-old spent most of his youth in Nanaimo perfecting his craft, performing for family and close friends and at myriad events. The talent is evident, but he has written very few original songs, and has yet to record an album. In fact, Salgado came to national recognition last year after making the finals of Canada’s Got Talent, wowing the judges and viewers at home with his soulful, soaring voice — without ever having headlined a concert of his own.
That changes tonight. Salgado is the top draw at The Power of Love, a concert held at St. Andrew’s United Church in Nanaimo, where he first sang in competition as an 11 year-old. “Everything started for me there,” he said. “This show is like an homage to the people in my life who have been supporting me from the beginning. It’s kind of a full circle moment for me.”
His is a storybook journey, to be sure. He has acquired millions of fans in the past year alone — including 1.9 million followers on TikTok, 622,000 followers on Instagram, and 275,000 followers on Facebook — but it was his parents and Nanaimo voice coach Andrea Bertram who helped him find his voice in the beginning.
They nurtured his talent long before the thought of a career even entered his head.
“My parents were such music lovers, so it would always be on in the house. But I never really thought of having a career or pursuing a career even having a love for music at the time, because it just was what it was.”
Once his talent became realized, Salgado, who is gay, said music eventually became a form of emancipation, a way to escape the often unforgiving world of teenagers. Salgado’s parents moved from the Philippines to the Nanaimo area, where he was born, and he always wanted to honour his heritage through music. But was forced to focus his energy inward at times.
“A lot of the things I endured growing up, while trying to fit in, were really hard for me.”
He’s high above the clouds these days: Salgado was a Top 5 finalist on the 2023 edition of Canada’s Got Talent, and stole the hearts of viewers (and judges) with his gentle nature. He lost to Conversion, a dance group from Trois-Rivières, Quebec, but appears to be a winner in the long-term. Adele, Demi Lovato, Sam Smith, and Charlie Puth have all given him feedback online, according to Salgado.
He flew to Toronto and sang both the American and Canadian national anthems at an NBA game on Jan. 18, one of what he hopes will become a string of professional accomplishments to spring from his time on Canada’s Got Talent. The Power of Love concert set for tonight could be the kick-off to yet more activity, on stage and off.
“I’m someone who really takes a lot of pride and joy in my art, but I take it very seriously,” he said. “With everything growing on social media, and and being seen in the spotlight, and the other accomplishments that come with that, there is more pressure to be the best that you can be. I really just take everything with a grain of salt, and try to have fun.”