Since Jose Mari Chan’s quintessential masterpiece “Christmas In Our Hearts” hit the airwaves in 1990, it has become the national Yuletide anthem of the Philippines. It struck a chord in the hearts of generations so deep it earned the recognition as the ultimate Filipino Christmas song.
When people start to hear the onset of the song, it is officially Christmas time in the Philippines. More than any other Christmas music, “Christmas In Our Hearts” is the one most played in supermarkets, Christmas parties, holiday gatherings, afternoon neighborhoods and just practically everywhere.
And so as it plays every year, everywhere, non-stop, it still earns even long after sales of its physical album ceases or even post the death of its composer or singer.
This is called royalty.
According to Investopedia.com, royalty is a payment made to an individual or company for ongoing use of their assets including copyrighted works, franchises or natural resources.
A prime example of royalty sales would be payments made to musicians when their original records are played on radio stations, movies, televisions, commercials, performed at concerts or via streaming services.
With over three decades of holiday dominance, how rich has “Christmas In Our Hearts,” made its legendary composer?
“To be honest with you, the royalties from Christmas in our hearts all these years, I’ve been able to put it to good use by sponsoring scholars,” Chan told republicasia during a “Pandesal Forum” at the Kamuning Bakery Cafe in Quezon City Wednesday.
“I have many many scholars and I also support a lot of foundations so that’s giving back to God for the fit that he has given me,” he added.
Biggest OPM Christmas album of all time
The song “Christmas In Our Hearts” is actually part of Chan’s first Christmas album which carried the same title.
Album producer Bella Dy Tan initially thought that the song would not be a hit at all.
But barely just a few weeks after its November 17, 1990 release, the song was declared certified triple platinum by the Philippine Association of the Record Industry weeks after its release in 1990 making the album the Biggest OPM Christmas Album of all time.
Initially intended as a duet, “Christmas In Our Hearts” was first offered to Lea Salonga who, at that time, could not do it because she was at the peak of her career with Miss Saigon.
After Salonga, the part was offered to fellow theater actress Monique Wilson. She agreed to do it but unfortunately, she lost her voice during the time they were scheduled to record the song.
In the end, the song was recorded by Chan with his daughter, Liza who was then only 19.
International group Pentatonix includes ‘Christmas In Our Hearts’ in album
The appeal of Chan’s classic is in fact so unceasing that it was picked by award-winning American acapella group Pentatonix to be included in their Christmas album.
“The famous US group Pentatonix they’ve been Grammy awardees two times, they came out with an album this year and one of the songs that they picked was Christmas In Our Hearts which they sing duet with Lea Salonga,” he said.
“So that is a wonderful gift given to me because the song will now be heard not only in the United States but all over the world so thank you Pentatonix, thank you Lea,” he added.
Chan was awarded with the Plaque of Honor by the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc. for his outstanding achievements in music and valuable contributions to Philippine Arts and Culture.