It is no surprise that Billy Crawford, Jay R and Kris Lawrence have many things in common. As R&B musicians, the three, who are very close friends, all consider the late Michael Jackson as their greatest music influence.
On Sept. 15, Crawford, Jay R and Lawrence will hit the stage during their concert titled “Soul Brothers” at the KIA Theatre in Quezon City, Metro Manila. On Aug. 24, the three were all present during the press conference for the concert.
I asked Crawford, Jay R and Lawrence about their music influence during the press conference. The three mentioned both Filipino and international artists.
Aside from Jackson, the three R&B singers also mentioned Marvin Gaye, Elvis Presley, the Beattles, Elton John, James Brown, Ogie Alcasid, Gary Valenciano and Martin Nievera as their music influences.
Personally, Jay R considers his family as his music influence. He said, “I come from a very musically oriented family. My Dad plays the piano.”
According to Jay R, he grew up with his father Gaudencio Sillona Jr. playing the piano with his mother Amparo Aquino Sillona singing along their favorite songs. The musician dubbed the King of R&B in the Philippines added that his sister sings, as well, so music was kind of a culture in their family.
Jay R then pointed out that the same is true with Lawrence. The latter revealed that piano was his first love even before he started singing at the age of around 16 or 17.
Lawrence said he grew up playing the piano with his sister Laurie Cadevida, who played Kim on the North American tour of “Miss Saigon,” singing along. He added that for him, Jay R and Crawford, Jackson is considered their greatest music influence.
Crawford was one of Jackson’s back-up dancers at the 1995 MTV Video Music Awards. Meanwhile, watch a clip from the “Soul Brothers” press conference with Crawford, Jay R and Lawrence here: