How I got my job: Nadine Madarang, wedding/events host and singer
How I got my job is a series that spotlights a specific job or position that isn’t often featured in media. Through this series, we hope to shed light on the duties and work-life of some of the most interesting jobs in the Philippines. We’ll also share a few tips from insiders on how to land one of these positions.
Pacifiqa talks to wedding/events host and singer Nadine Madarang on making it in the entertainment industry while managing a full-time job.
Tell us a few things about yourself.
I am a 30-year old that can’t sit still doing just one thing. On weekdays, I am a marketing officer for various luxury fashion brands. On weekends, I am in the business of fun and celebrations as a wedding and events host and singer. From 2009 to 2012, I worked as a lounge singer for various hotels such as Sofitel, Dusit Thani, Makati Shangri-la, Discovery Suites, Diamond Hotel. I also had a 6-month stint as an entertainer at the Venetian Hotel in Macau where I serenaded and conversed with passengers while rowing a gondola. Aside from being an artist, I am also a writer. I’ve written a children’s comic book, content for websites, and magazine articles, to name a few. I also keep a blog where I write lifestyle articles and my random ramblings. I am also a licensed teacher. I have too many interests and I can’t pick just one… who knows what I’ll be next?
How long have you been hosting and singing at events?
I started hosting and singing in mall shows when I was still in high school. I was probably 14 or 15 years old then. That had to take a back seat for a while when I started college. I did host a few events after that.
In 2008, I started hosting again. It was for the annual thanksgiving party of a company called Top 1 Oil. I hosted their thanksgiving parties for four years in a row.
In 2009, I concentrated more on singing than hosting. Then, in 2011, a friend of mine got engaged and said she would want nothing more than for me to host her wedding alongside her groom’s cousin who happened to be Tutti Caringal of 6 Cycle Mind. Some of our friends say that to this day, it’s still one of the best wedding parties they have ever attended. The year after that, another friend asked me to host her wedding and I said yes. She sent me an SMS a few days after her wedding to tell me that her guests were raving about me. When she said, “You have a gift,” I suddenly had a eureka moment and thought, “Wait a minute… why don’t I make this my business?”
Did you receive some kind of training in hosting and singing prior to getting into this line of work?
In terms of hosting, I did not. I just loved to talk, perform, and entertain, so hosting came naturally. As for singing, I did attend voice lessons and theater workshops when I was a kid, but I’d say that my actual performances during my stint as a chanteuse were my training ground.
How did you start getting jobs? What was it like?
I started out hosting the events of my friends. Sometimes, their guests would approach me and ask me to host their future events. At one wedding, two of the bride’s friends said that they wanted me to host their wedding — whenever that would be! I didn’t think much of it, but two years later, those ladies actually kept their word. One of them messaged me and said “I want you!” and she got what she wanted – I hosted her beautiful wedding last April. The other one is tying the knot next year and she already asked me to save that date for her.
How do you find gigs?
Never underestimate the power of word of mouth. That, to me, is still the best marketing tool. Sometimes, when I have free time, I also check wedding- and party-related forums on Facebook where clients and fellow suppliers post their requirements for events hosts and singers. I also get in touch with other suppliers (event coordinators, photographers, makeup artists, fellow musicians, etc.). If they believe that I can deliver, they refer me to their clients.
It’s not always easy to find gigs, though. While there are many hosting jobs out there, a lot of clients or suppliers would rather get hosts who are willing to do it for a really cheap rate. I have missed out on some jobs because of this. But, there are still clients and suppliers who understand that they get what they pay for, and these are the ones that really value quality.
How do you market your services?
I created a Facebook page and I try to post content there from time to time. My videos are on Youtube. I also post photos and videos on my personal social media pages like Facebook and Instagram (@nadinemadarang).
You also work full-time as a marketing officer for a leading fashion and lifestyle retail company. Would you say it’s still important to keep a day job with this kind of work?
For someone like me who is living independently and has bills to pay, having a stable job is a necessity. At the moment, my full-time work is my bread and butter, while my hosting and singing gigs are my income-generating passions. As much as I enjoy my sideline jobs, certain events (weddings, for instance) are seasonal. Who knows? Maybe someday, I’ll turn my passions into my full-time vocation. But for now, at the risk of sounding like a corporate sellout, a paycheck every 15th and 30th of the month is something that I cannot break up with just yet.
How do you manage having a day job while doing these on the side?
My day job only requires me to work on weekdays, so I still get to moonlight on weekends. Most events happen on weekends anyway, so I get to juggle both jobs.
How do I manage, you ask? Simple: I just love what I do. I want it enough to make time for it. Actually, my work as a host and singer is my break from the ennui of the nine-to-five (or in my case, nine-to-seven). Is it weird that I de-stress from work by working some more? But then again, if you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like work.
Is this the kind of work you see yourself doing for a long time?
If I could do this forever, that would be the dream! I mean, what could be more fulfilling than being able to use your God-given talents to entertain others and help them create wonderful memories? But, I am also cognizant of the transience of this kind of profession. A sad truth, but work in the entertainment industry does have an expiration date. Hence, my game plan is really just to enjoy it while I am still able to do it.
Can you share with us a few highlights about your work?
I get to host and sing in beautiful places such as Tagaytay, Batangas, and Baguio, among others. I meet so many kind people every time I have a gig. I also meet interesting ones, from Josh Hogan (Guinness World Record Holder for Longest Journey on a Quad) to big names in the Philippine entertainment industry such as Barbie’s Cradle, Ramon Bautista, Vice Ganda, Daiana Menezes, and Piolo Pascual. Another great thing about my job is the likelihood of earning a little extra. Some of my clients, because they were so pleased with my performance, gave me a little “bonus” on top of my talent fee.
How about the challenges?
An event, no matter how well-planned it is, will always have some last-minute changes. My job is to make sure that the transition from one part of the program to another is as smooth as possible. I also have to be a quick thinker. One time, I was hosting a corporate event and the president of the company said he wanted to make some changes in the sequence. I already had to go back up on stage and there were still no instructions from him, plus, he disappeared! I had to call the shots on the spot. When a song or audio-visual presentation won’t play, I have to do or say something fast! I can’t stop talking until the tech guys have fixed the problem.
What are the common misconceptions about your work?
Regarding hosting, people think that it’s child’s play. Let me tell you that there is more to hosting than just talking and making sure that there is no dead air. It’s not enough that I just say things. I have to say the right things. I don’t want people to cringe and say, “ooohh… she did NOT just say that!”
I am also involved in the program planning. Prior to an event, I meet with my clients and discuss the program with them, and we all brainstorm about how to make the lineup more systematic and/or fun.
As for singing, I don’t know why, but there’s a certain stigma about singers in the Philippines. Someone once told me, “When you’re singing on stage, do you think that your audience sees you as someone who is intelligent? Do you think they know that you graduated from a good university?” and then he followed it up with “Sayang ka!” That made me really sad.
What is your advice for those who would also like to get into events hosting and singing?
You really have to love it. If you’re only doing it for the money, it will show. In this business, talent is a prerequisite but passion is just as crucial.
People will try to bargain with you in terms of rates, and while it’s okay to meet halfway, don’t sell yourself short. Don’t settle for less than what you think you deserve. But don’t forget to stay humble. You are in this business to entertain. At the end of the day, it’s all about making sure that your clients and audience are happy.
Say “yes!” to opportunities. Take advantage of these breaks because you never know where these can take you. They might just be stepping stones to something great.