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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Apr 21, 2014

Meet Mary Nell, An Aspiring Singer & Potential Beauty Queen From London

MEET MARY NELL, a 17-year old balikbayan from London who’s recording her first album here with the guidance of Edith and Margot Gallardo, the musical sisters who helped write and produce such hit songs as “Pagdating ng Panahon”, “Muntik na Kitang Minahal” and “Pakisabi na Lang”. Her full name is Maeryhneilla Jence Alvarez Umayam, nicknamed MJ, and she has two younger siblings both given similarly queer and difficult names by their parents who hail from a small town in Ilocos Norte.

Her parents are both nurses who work abroad. Born on October 22, 1996, she and her siblings were left with their grandparents for a while. When she was 11, they all joined their parents in England. Since then she has visited her grandparents only once, 3 years ago. Now, she’s on Easter Break to meet Edith and Margot in person.

“She was introduced to us by Fredric Herrera, her voice coach in EuroPinoy Talent Center in London,” says Edith. “She sang to us on the phone and we liked her voice.”

“We sent her three new songs and she recorded one of them, ‘If We Still Love Each Other’,” says Margot. “We believe she has a good future in local showbiz.”

At 17, Mary Nell (the much simpler and easier to remember screen name they chose to give her) now stands 5’9”. She was named Calendar Cover Girl 2014 in London, also winning as Best in Casual Wear and Ms. Popularity. Last year, she was second runner up in the Ms. London-North American Basketball Association Pageant, also winning the Miss Charity and Miss Socialtel titles. She wants to try joining beauty pageants here but we tell her it’s best to wait for a couple of more years as she’s only 17.

She also plays the guitar and is a member of the 5th Ave. Band in London. They have performed in various shows with other Filipino talents in the United Kingdom. She really dreams of making it as a singer. How about acting? “Yes, I love watching Tagalog movies. The last ones I saw were ‘Bride for Rent’ and ‘Starting Over Again’, but I will have to train for it first. Mag-a-acting workshop muna ako.”

She leaves back for London on May 3 but will be back in July after the school year ends as she’ll be graduating from Year 12. “My parents allowed me to stay here for a while and try local showbiz,” she says. Does she have a boyfriend? “No, bawal. Ayaw ng parents ko.”