Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I Knew Him Before He Was A Superstar


You know how some people are touched by fame in that they went to school with someone who became famous or grew up with someone who became famous? For example, often you hear stories about someone saying, with immense pride mind you, that they used to play baseball with George Clooney or went to the prom with Jennifer Aniston in high school. I think that’s cool.

It shows that these celebrities were, at one time, very normal people like you and I (okay, like you, anyway) before anyone had an inkling that they would become the media superstars we know them to be today. What’s even more surprising is how these celebrities would often describe themselves in unflattering terms when discussing the past. They would use terms like “dork” and “spaz” and “troll” to our utter disbelief.

I wonder how many guys and gals are now kicking themselves because they could have bagged a future celebrity…if they had only known then what was to be. Maybe that’s life’s revenge for being shallow and superficial. You think?

How many of you have a connection with someone famous? How many of you consider yourself famous? No, being famous in your own mind doesn't count, either. Do you have a parent or relative who is famous? I figured I would have to wait until my kids got famous (and no, not for shooting the President or a famous rock star) to ride on that “I knew them when” bandwagon, but maybe I won’t have to wait quite so long.

My brother Rob has a nephew on his wife’s side that is an incredible singer, songwriter and performer and is really making a real splash in the music world with his smooth vocal stylings and mad guitar skills. It’s just a matter of time before we all know the name Gabe Bondoc.

Gabe is an immensely gifted 23-year old Filipino-American guy who has amassed a huge following both here and overseas with his great songs, velvety vocals and guitar mastery. In addition to a slew of his own songs, he has done a lot of covers of famous songs (Train’s “Drops of Jupiter”, Taylor Swift’s “Love Story”, etc.) and I think they are even better than the originals. I think it would be fair to compare him to John Mayer, Jason Mraz or maybe Jack Johnson in terms of his acoustic style. But you can check him out and decide for yourself.

I chose the following video because it doesn't have all the annoying fans screaming and yelling that the other online videos have of him singing this song live.

He has been described as a YouTube Sensation with over 15 million upload views. Last I saw they ranked him at #38 of the Most Subscribed (All Time) Musicians, ahead of people like Carrie Underwood and musical groups like Metallica and U2.

I first met him when he was a small child who loved to dance and, through hours of disciplined study, had perfected Michael Jackson’s dance moves, including the famous moonwalk from “Billie Jean.” Over the years, I had heard that he was becoming quite the vocalist as well and quite adept at performing. My brother Rob gifted Gabe with his first-ever guitar. I’m sure he’s got to be quite proud of that decision now. Gabe's probably got about 20 guitars now, I'm sure.

Though he hasn't been signed by a major record label yet, by the looks of his growing popularity and sell-out concerts it's a cinch that he won't be an Indie performer for very much longer. Friends have long suggested he go on American Idol and go for the big bucks, but I think he prefers a more balanced rise to stardom where he can hone his craft and slowly move up the ranks through YouTube and MySpace like previous MySpace celebs Colbie Caillat, Arctic Monkeys and others have done.

Lately he has spent a lot of time in the recording studio with his band, but now he is getting back to touring again and has a number of engagements lined up around the country. Unfortunately I missed his last concert at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco last month, but I definitely want to see him live next time he's around. Maybe when he is in Long Beach next month. If you like what you hear, drop him a comment on one of his YouTube videos or on his MySpace page. I am sure he will appreciate your support as I would.

If you would like to check out more of Gabe’s videos on YouTube, you can follow this link to his YouTube page at: or listen to some of his best stuff at

So there you have it. I am a quasi-distant relative to a future musical superstar. So take that, Mr. “I slept with Angelina Jolie.” In your face!


  1. Tom,
    I had not heard of Gabe before this, and I appreciate the opportunity to listen to his music here. I like his sound. Where does he tour? Any Chicago gigs in his future?
    I can't say I have any famous connections. Hoping to BE one some day...

  2. COOL! Thanks for sharing him with us! :D

  3. I'm not kin to any famous people, but I have met many celebrities...and I don't think any of their kids are mine, so, NO. Thanks for the introduction. I like him.

  4. why doesn't it count to be famous in your own mind again? I mean after 3 martinis when I am belting out Alanis while standing on my couch--nobody can touch that! lol Totally dig Gabe.

  5. Pretty cool. I liked the one youtube video you linked to. I'll definitely have to check some of his other stuff out.

  6. I wish I could actually remember meeting him so I could brag more but I don't really remember him. But a friend posted a link of him on FB once she really liked and I was like, hey I'm related to him!

  7. I've met Bill Maynard a few times. :)


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