Updated: Apr 29
Vincent Bueno, a singer, a Filipino representing Austria with his song ‘Amen’ for the first time at the international song competition Eurovision Song Contest (ESC). Vincent made a name in the Austro-Filipino community after winning the ORF Programme The Musical! Die Show (Musical! The Show), an Austrian TV music contest. Ralph Chan, Bureau Editor for Austria managed to get hold of him despite tight schedules and to support him at the ESC.
Could you briefly introduce yourself? What do you associate with the Philippines/with the Filipino community in Austria or in Europe? How deeply rooted are you in the Filipino culture?
My name is Vincent Bueno, born and raised in Vienna, Austria. My mom is from Nueva Vizcaya while my dad is from Manila. Both migrated to Vienna in the 80s. My mom is one of the first Filipinas who came as a nurse. My association with the Filipinos is deeply rooted as I remember growing up in Vienna, there were always Independence Balls, cotillions in some debuts going on. I do miss the active Filipino community.
You are a professional singer, and Filipinos are interested in music. There are many talented musicians. How did you get into music and have you always wanted to become a musician?
Well, Filipinos love to sing and listen to ballads, to music. My musical genes come from my parents. My mom sings in choirs and my dad is a vocalist and musician himself. He was a singer for a long time in all the exclusive bars in the first district and I think one of the influences why I got into music. When I was 16, I didn’t really know where to go after high school. Somebody told me: ”Hey, you can sing, you can dance. Why won’t you try musical theatre?” I applied. They said, okay, we’re going to risk it. We know you’re going to have a little hard time with you because you’re in the middle of puberty and we know how hard it is. So, I went to the Vienna Conservatory of Music and after that I began to learn how to produce music. I never really dreamed of having a career as a Filipino in a foreign country. Even though I was born and raised here, it’s still different when you look like a foreigner to the Austrian people.
Vincent Bueno, a singer, a Filipino representing Austria with his song ‘Amen’ for the first time at the international song competition Eurovision Song Contest (ESC). Vincent made a name in the Austro-Filipino
It took me nine years to develop, starting from zero to reach where I’m now. In 2015, I applied for the Eurovision for the first time but didn’t happen. I submitted songs until they really liked the song ‘Alive’. Two years later, I them say, hey, I think it’s gonna be you. That was it.
You already performed in the Philippines. Do you see differences between the Philippines and Austria in relation to the music industry or the music landscape in general?
I do. When I was in ABS-CBN, I had a contract with Star Records. While there, I felt a little out of place because of culture. That is the issue I struggled with the most. When you grow up here, you behave like a European. So, I grew up very much like an Austrian, even though I’m Filipino and I think people in the Philippines realized that, talent-wise, behaviour-wise or culturally speaking. I think people in the Philippines love people who are very humble, and soft-spoken. I felt like I didn’t belong, but I heard from Martin Nievera and Gary Valenciano that they really liked me and said “Hey, you’re a talented kid”, but the thing that was missing for me was somebody to guide me through culture, like a mentor who says, hey, this is how we do things in the Philippines. There is way more competition in the Philippines because every singer tries to be better than the other, entertainment-wise.
Your calendar is full right now because you are the first Filipino to represent Austria at the Eurovision Song Contest in May. How did that come about? Are you already excited?
I’m really so excited, Ralph. I can’t express how excited I am because I’ve been waiting a year for this to happen. All the struggles and hard work are worth it. I believe this new door that opened is a blessing from God. I also believe now is the time. It took me nine years to develop, starting from zero to reach where I’m now. In 2015, I applied for the Eurovision for the first time but didn’t happen. I submitted songs until they really liked the song ‘Alive’. Two years later, I heard them say, hey, I think it’s gonna be you. That was it. I’m honoured to be the first full-blooded Filipino to represent a country in Eurovision. Super, super, happy.
The Easter season has already begun. You’re a father too. Do you have any Filipino customs or traditions that you observe at Easter?
My family and I are so close. It’s so important that we spend time with each other at least on Sundays. Easter I assume is going to be altogether with family, my wife and kids, my sister’s family and our parents. We’re gonna have an Easter egg hunt with the kids. Traditionally we go to church and then share a meal together. I think a lot of Filipino families do that too.
Is there anything else you would like to communicate to the Euro-Pinoy community?
Mga kababayans sa Europe, I wanna honour you for your hard work. I wanna honour you for making Europe a better place. I know how hard it is in these countries where people can be very cold and because I was raised in Austria, I know how hard it is to adapt to a very cold mentality. But I can assure you, the older I get the more I realise how Filipino I am at heart. I see the respect, the dignity, the sweetness, the way we treat each other – the lambing factor – that could only come from Filipinos. I realise that Filipinos have that special kindness within, and I encourage you to keep that fire burning for our culture and mentality to contaminate all of Europe. I hope I could make you proud in May as I also represent the Philippines in the Eurovision Song Contest 2021.
Ralph Chan, Bureau Editor Austria along with Roots & Wings Team across Europe and the Philippines wish you all the best, Vincent!