Filipino winner says unique Japanese singing contest best suited for Pinoys


Michael David Bodin.

By Edwin P. Sallan,
January 9, 2017 · 7:56 am

Since winning GEM Media Network Asia’s singing competition show “I Can Sing in Japanese!” last year, Michael David Bodin admits that his life has changed in a big way.

The Filipino singer recently admitted to InterAksyon, that because of the show’s huge popularity in Japan, both the locals and Filipino expatriates there now recognize him and would either stop him for a brief chat and/or take a selfie or two.

Michael is one half of the the acoustic pop duo Last Call. (The other is Japanese musician Steve Sato.) If his name rings a bell or his face looks familiar, it’s because he was a contestant in the ABS-CBN talent competition show “Search for a Star in a Million” in 2006.

“I was one of the final 30 but didn’t make it to the top 10. That time, I was only 19 years old, and it was a good learning experience for me. But that it didn’t really stop me from singing and pursuing my dream,” he recalled.

Shortly after his stint on the show, Michael grabbed an opportunity to work as an English teacher in Japan. Now, nearly 10 years later, he has learned to adapt to Japanese culture and familiarize himself not only with the language but also with the music.

“At first, it was a little hard to sing in Japanese, but once you get to know the language, everything will come in handy. I fell in love with Japanese songs because the lyrics are really poetic. It is really important to understand the meaning of the song in order to deliver it well to the Japanese audience,” he pointed out.

Michael confesses to being an instant fan of “I Can Sing in Japanese!” and he joined the show upon the prodding of Japanese friends who have heard him sing.

“I felt really happy and really excited, because it has been my dream to be a part of the show and sing in Japanese.”

With only two months to prepare, Michael revealed that the most challenging part for him was choosing the right songs. “I like to sing ballads, so I know a lot of popular Japanese ballads. My goal was to sing from the heart and make the Japanese people feel that I know the message of the songs,” he added.

Long story short, Michael became an overnight sensation after winning the competition. Shortly after that, Last Call released a new song “Wherever You Are” that quickly became popular with his Filipino fans as his star continued to rise.

Looking back at his “I Can Sing in Japanese!” experience, Michael said the show’s helpful staff made his journey fun and memorable.

“Also I also had the chance to meet so many talented singers around the world. and It was a wonderful experience because we all share the same thing—our love for Japan,” he said.

And because the competition is open to non-Japanese contestants who are up to the challenge of singing Japanese songs, Michael is encouraging his Filipino and other Asian friends to join the ongoing auditions for this year’s competition until January 15.

Each season, around 12 to 16 groups of performers from all over the world are invited to Tokyo to perform in front of a panel of professional judges, including famous Japanese producers, celebrities and singers.

All aspiring individual singers or groups living in Asia, regardless of nationality and age, can submit their application for “I Can Sing Japanese!” via

Michael believes that Pinoys would be best suited for this kind of competition.

“We Filipinos people are very passionate. so When we sing, we really sing from the heart… My advice for those interested in auditioning is to always sing from the heart and make sure you know what you are singing. Take time to understand the message of the song. In this way, the judges as well as the audience will feel that you really know the song,” he said.

As for his own immediate future plans, Michael hopes to bring Japanese pop culture to the Philippines someday.

“I know that Filipinos love their ballads, and there are lots of amazing Japanese songs that I want my Filipino fans to hear. This year, Last Call plans to release more original songs. Hopefully, if given the chance, we can tour in the Philippines in the near future,” he shared.

Filipino audiences will be able to catch “I Can Sing in Japanese!” and all the latest J-dramas and variety shows on GEM, which is now available on SKYCable Channel 116.