Whether it’s singing lead or back-up, planning and booking live events for other musicians, or helping others record their own albums, Annie Nepomuceno has deep experience in assembling entertainment, both live and recorded.
Nepomuceno’s journey began when she was born in Iowa City, Iowa, where her father, on a Rockefeller scholarship, studied to become a physicist, later working for World Wildlife Fund in Washington, D.C.
Nepomuceno’s family moved to Quezon City, Philippines, where, at 8 years old, she began to sing. Nepomuceno returned to America in 2001 and, 12 years ago, the Van Nuys resident began helping others as well as pursuing her own aspirations as a live entertainer.
Nepomuceno’s live music business Music Arts Events is twofold. One is where she puts together the shows herself, selecting the theme and the guest artists and booking the session musicians.
“I often present at the Ford Amphitheatre in Hollywood, the Aratani in downtown L.A., and the Alex Theatre in Glendale,” she said. “I have also brought the National Artist for Music of the Philippines and Ryan Cayabyab and his singing group on three U.S. tours. We have gone from New York to Los Angeles, San Diego, Seattle and Honolulu.”
Her other role is when she is hired to tour as back-up singer for mainstream Filipino artists.
The pandemic year has been an obstacle but also a blessing, she said.
“When we do plan concerts and concert tours, the lead time is a year, a year in a half,” she said.
So, with no concerts in sight, the silver lining has been “creating more music,” she said. “I’ve collaborated with so many people during this time. Now we have more material.”
“(The) COVID (year) gave me the ability to apply technology,” she added.
Nepomuceno, whose husband Ed is also a musician, has also been supplementing her income giving singing and piano lessons virtually.
“Music sessions are best taken weekly,” Nepomuceno said, “and I strive to keep that consistency. Occasionally, I would have one-offs who would need reviews before auditioning or prepping for special occasions like weddings and birthdays.
“Most of my students are continuing learners so they take the package deals,” she said. “Rates are $50 to $100 per hour for lessons, which can be voice, piano or music production. For custom songs, the starting rate is $1,000 per minute.”
She also helps other artists record their albums.
“Since synthesizers and home recording became the norm, I have had my own digital workstation,” she said. “Since I traveled a lot, I could get by with very little equipment. At the start of my career though, I ‘lived’ in recording studios as a paid session artist, singing commercials and back-up vocals for albums and TV shows in the Philippines.”
Nepomuceno loves the Valley, where she believes Filipino culture thrives because so many of the healthcare caregivers who work at the Valley’s many hospitals and senior assisted living sites are Filipino.
After four years as a member of Filipino-American Chamber of Commerce’s San Fernando Valley chapter in Van Nuys, Nepomuceno was elected to run the organization during what soon turned into the most challenging year of its existence: 2020-2021.
“The difficulty was that everyone was trying to cope with something,” she said. “Whether it’s their personal reaction to the pandemic or in (their professional life).”
Then tragedy struck last June when the chapter’s young strategic planner John Eric Swing passed away from COVID-19.
“I knew he was sick, but we didn’t know how sick,” she said.
Following Swing’s death, his widow Ellen Swing joined a Filipino-American Chamber chapter board.
“It’s a support system,” she said. “The benefit of the chamber is that it is made up of entrepreneurs. They’re conscientious, they’re interested in learning.”
– Michael Aushenker