Who would have thought that Acel (Ăhsel), once a shy and timid little girl, would end up to be a musician performing in front of thousands? Who would have thought that Acel auditioned for a choir and a singing competition but didn’t even pass the screening phase?
“When I was 8 years old, I did audition for a singing contest and in high school, I also auditioned for the school choir. I did not pass the screening both times because of the timbre of my voice. They said my voice was too weak,” reminisces Acel. “So, who would have thought that composing and singing will be a big part of my life.”
A singer and a songwriter, Acel Van Ommen made an indelible mark in the OPM music scene with the songs “Torete,” “One Love,” “Sulat” and “Pag-ibig ‘kong ito”with her former band “Moonstar88” in the early 2000’s. In the late 90’s, Acel became the lead vocalist of the OPM band “Orphan Lily.” As a solo artist, Acel became popular for singing the English version of “One Love” from the Korean TV drama series “Spring Waltz.” Her music video brought in over a million YouTube hits.
“My first love was dancing but because of my scoliosis, I could not dance. So I decided to learn how to play the guitar,” says Acel. “I expressed my emotions through singing. I bought this thick song hits and learned how to play through its chord chart. The first songs I learned to play were the songs of the Eraserheads and dEff Leppard. I would stay in my room for hours, just playing the guitar and singing.”
In 2008, Acel decided to release her first album as an independent solo artist. Included in the album, ““Silver Lining,” were the songs “Pakiusap” and “Laugh and Cry.” Two of Acel’s songs became the soundtrack of two hit television shows: “Sa Ngalan Ng Pag-Ibig” for ABS-CBN’s sci-fi telenovala “Rounin”.and “Gulo, Hilo, Lito” for the prime-time TV show “My Girl” starring Kim Chiu and Gerald Anderson.
Throughout her 20 years in the music scene, Acel collaborated with some of the industry’s leading artists. Her composition “I Believe” was part of pop-icon Christian Bautista’s “Captured” album. She was one of the back-up vocals to the tracks “Buong Linggo” for the band “Gish” and the track “Sinehan” for the band “Soapdish.” In 2011, Acel and her goodfriend, Yeng Constantino co-wrote the anti-mining campaign song “Palawan.” Acel also wrote “Umalab Ka,” which was the theme song to the “Ignite 2011″ event. Acel and Yeng performed this song with their all-girl band “Sesa” in front of thousands of campus leaders for a youth movement.
Acel enthuses, “One of my desires is to share the love of Christ with young people. I enjoy sharing with them how much God loves them. I want them to know how valuable they are to God. That is why I did a special project, an album under the band named, ‘Sesa.’”
Now a very happy wife and mother to two beautiful sons, Acel believes that her 20-year journey as a musician has enriched her life with experiences and lessons that positioned her to be acknowledged and recognized as an “ate” or a mentor to young people. And because of this passion for helping young people, she co-founded Right Start Community Development Inc. with Arlene Sy, Anabel Yu and Sale Mallari.
“Right Start is all about inspiring and empowering young people to live better lives. We serve children from 4 to 14 years old. We want them to understand and enjoy the rights of a child. In our center, they are empowered to be creative and productive,”Acel explains.
“We all have responsibilities in helping children in the marginalized sector of society who have the same potentials as other children. These children are God’s gifts and are valuable but due to poverty, they don’t have opportunities like the rest do. They are mostly neglected and abused. We try to bridge the gap by serving underprivileged children through our after school programs. We serve them in a holistic approach – physical, emotional, and spiritual. We teach them life skills while teaching them good morals and values…building in them a character that can help them get through their situations,” adds Acel.
“I started to be aware of the plight of this children and carry this burden when I gave birth to my eldest son, Tashi in 2008. Since then, every time I would see a child on the street, my heart would break into pieces, so I prayed and asked God to guide me, teach me how to help me help them. Then, God lead me to the people who have the same passion and knew how to make things happen.”
In celebration of her birthday on August 28 and to fete a significant milestone in her career — 20 years, Acel will have a fund-raising concert for Right Start on August 27, 2015, 8:00 p. m. at Teatrino, Greenhills, directed by Jeff Hidalgo with John Apura as musical director. For the evening, Acel will be joined by her close friends Barbie Almalbis formerly the front woman of Hungry Young Poets and Barbie’s Cradle, Kitchie Nadal formerly the front woman of Mojofly, Quest and Yeng Constantino. She will also be joined by Moonstar88 and Terence Teves of Orphan Lily.
For ticket inquiries, please call: Ronelia Echane at telephone numbers 0929-3154086 and 0915-3082308.