Na-meet mo na si Matteo?” Session drummer Otep Concepcion asks and quickly adds, “Sobrang bait, ok sha. The best.”

Matteo Guidicelli in rehearsal for Hey Matteo!

Ten seconds later, Matteo Guidicelli walks towards the rehearsal room of Homerock Studios, his face serious and stern. Introductions are made and he instantly breaks into the first of many friendly smiles and asks immediately, “Have you eaten? There’s food down there by the… Are you sure?”

Between takes, Guidicelli is as friendly as they come…

It’s a normal Filipino gesture of course, except he will ask two more times within the space of thirty seconds before entering the rehearsal room. During rehearsals, Guidicelli returns to his serious game face, conferring with musical director Louie Ocampo over a few key changes.

Hey Matteo! musical director Louie Ocampo

Not that the atmosphere is tense; on the contrary, it is light and Guidicelli exchanges asides with the band. When he’s holding the mic, however, he is the picture of focus, and you do imagine what he might have been like behind the steering wheel of a race kart.

… and utterly focused behind the mic

The actor/singer and former winning kart racer (“It’s a chapter that’s closed” he says with a smile) is preparing for his November 30 concert at the KIA Theater called Hey Matteo!; directing the show is Rowell Santiago. The set list has a total of eighteen songs and features guests Martin Nievera, Morrissette, Loonie, and Kiana.

Matteo feeling out a ballad

While the guest turns are impressive enough—the duet with Martin on “Say That You Love Me” will feature Italian lyrics— it is the inclusion of original material from his upcoming album also due for release on the 30th that Guidicelli is perhaps most proud of. He says he wanted a late-90s rock band vibe.

Hey Matteo! show director Rowell Santiago (extreme left)

Matteo explains, “Doing the repertoire for the show, I talked to direk Rowell, I said, ‘Can we do the show, all-originals?’ He was like, ‘No! I’m gonna kill you! (laughs) Because people won’t know it yet, are not familiar.’ So we had to put, like, a balance of both originals and covers.”

Check out the video interview where Matteo talks about the concert, why he loves music, and what girlfriend Sarah Geronimo thinks about his upcoming album.

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