Below is the full interview I had with Maria, now published in this month’s issue of Mabuhay magazine (Travel+Lifestyle Inflight on Philippine Airlines). Enjoy
Maria Aragon: Pint-Sized Ambassador
(Mabuhay Magazine, September 2011 Issue)
In this digital age of reality-TV celebrities and overnight YouTube sensations, one eleven-year-old is using her voice to send the world a positive message.
A lot of kids have access to the internet nowadays. What should they know about using it?
You should always be aware of the content you’re putting up. You should know that what goes on the internet, stays on the internet. Be careful and make sure that you’ll never regret it. Also, always ask your parents before going on.
So do you have internet rules at home?
No, I think I’m pretty trustable!
Tell us how you got on YouTube.
My sister filmed my video, then my dad and her thought of putting up the video on YouTube.
How did you learn to play piano and sing?
I don’t know how I learned—I just sang and it happened.
So it’s natural, you never took lessons?
I only took lessons after I went on Good Morning America and they gave me piano lessons.
Were you nervous on your interviews, or are you normally quite outgoing?
The first interview I had was on a local radio station in Canada with the coolest radio guy ever. He was so welcoming; he made it natural for me to talk on air. And I guess it just went like that!
Your mom and sisters go around with you all the time. Are you close with them?
Yeah. We always have to be close, there shouldn’t be any fighting.
What do you want to be when you grow up? What’s your dream?
I wanna be in the music industry, but that’s what I wanna do now. It may change in the future. But music and singing is my passion and I want to learn more about it.
When you finally write your own music, what are your songs going to be about?
About different situations, and that we should always be thankful for what we have. A lot of songs now don’t have much meaning to them. They’re just repetitive. I think I would want to be like Michael Jackson and follow his footsteps, but with a different style. If I end up doing music, I wanna let the world know I was there. I want to make a mark on the world. I want to do something different.
What did you think the Philippines was like before you got here what were you picturing in your mind?
That there would be a lot of Filipino people!
Tell us about other places in the world that you want to travel.
I would want to go to a place, not just to visit, but to do something to help children. I would want to be a part of UNICEF. These past few interviews, before coming here, I hadn’t really talked about my view of the children in need. In the Philippines, it’s different and a lot of children are underprivileged. I kind of realized, I’m in the Philippines now!—And I should be doing something to help them.
I heard you’re doing something for kids soon?
It’s a walk called the ANCOP Global walk, in Mall of Asia. I’m gonna be walking and the money from that will go to poor children in need of education, we’re gonna help them out.
You’re eleven years old now. If you could travel into the future and tell your 20-year-old self something, what would that be?
For me, it would be, always stay grounded. And be thankful. I will never forget God and all my values. Most of all: be healthy, never get into bad stuff.
Okay, I’m going to quote you on that when I meet you again ten years from now!
Last August 21, Maria joined the ANCOP Global Walk as its Philippine Ambassador, singing the theme song a bonus track in her album, “One Hope, One Dream”. It was a fundraising event at Mall of Asia with the CFC ANCOP Tekton Foundation. The walk was held simultaneously in various major cities across the globe to provide education to underprivileged children. www.ancopglobalwalk.com
Maria Aragon is the youngest of four children born to Filipino parents Bienvenido and Mitchilin Aragon, from Laguna and Ormoc, who migrated to Canada in 1997. Videos of Maria singing popular coversongs on YouTube caught the attention of celebrity blogger Perez Hilton, who notified popstar Lady Gaga, who later invited Maria to perform a duet with her in Toronto. Maria’s video went viral and has since been viewed over 38 million times. She also sang for the UK’s Royal couple, met with Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and guested on “The Ellen DeGeneres show” and “Good Morning America”. Last July, her family returned to the Philippines for the first time in 14 years to record Maria’s album under Star Records.
Join over 57,000 fans on her Facebook page, or Visit Maria Aragon for updates at www.mariaofficial.com
Photos of Maria by Mel Gatchalia