TNT Boys: A journey of gratitude and success
By Kristelle Bechayda
Considering their standing ovation performances in both local and international scenes, it can’t be denied that the TNT Boys, or the Big Shot Trio as they are known for, is a boy band group that holds so much promise. Apart from making appearances in the major franchises of Little Big Shots and contesting at the American talent show The World’s Best, the band consisting of Francis Concepcion, Keifer Sanchez, and Mackie Empuerto, is also a recipient of numerous awards like the 50th Guillermo Box Office Awards (Promising Male Concert Performers of the Year) and Push Awards 2018 (Push Music Performance of the Year).
Their beautiful voices have captured the hearts of many and their success can be attributed to the nurturing that was given to them by their parents, guardians, and mentor. In an exclusive email interview, the TNT Boys shared with Moms and Babies their incredible journey of performing together and how much they appreciate the efforts of everybody around them.
Nurturing their talents
The intense performances of the boys reflect their passion for singing, which already manifested when they were still little. Francis and Keifer were only three years old when it was discovered they have a gift for singing. Though they still didn’t know how to read or talk at the time, Francis could hum a melody and Keifer already memorized the lyrics of Evanescence’s Bring Me to Life.
Mackie, on the other hand, was already eight years old when his parents realized he could sing. “We found out that he can do beautiful runs. From then on we encouraged and brought him to join various singing contests within our municipality and nearby provinces,” his parents said.
Upon this discovery also brought measures from the boys’ parents and guardians to further develop their talents, which consisted of frequent practicing and exposures to singing contests.
“Lagi ko siya pinapakanta at tinuruan ko magbasa ng tamang words, hanggang I decided to buy a grand karaoke para gamitin niya sa pag practice sa house. At the age of eight, exposure na sa malls, pinapakanta ko saya lagi ‘pag weekend.” shared Francis’ guardian, his aunt Grace Sententa.
For teacher Lindie Achacoso, who is coaching the boys, she has seen how each of them developed his own individual style in singing. She has a different training technique for Mackie, whose voice has already started to change because of puberty.
When asked on how she disciplines them, the coach shares, “We try to instill in them the importance of staying focused on the songs that they need to learn. We try to teach them the basics of harmony, that they need to hear one another to create a good one.”
Since the moment they were launched as the TNT Boys, Francis, Keifer, and Mackie have been performing together ever since. The boys are strongly passionate about singing and feel proud whenever they get to represent the Philippines in international stages.
Behind their jaw-dropping performances are hours of practicing and collaborating every day and being on time for rehearsals. “Singing in a group requires a lot of practice, discipline, and hard work. Francis, Keifer and I are like brothers already. We know each other’s strengths and we help each other through difficult song pieces,” Mackie shared of their work dynamics.
When asked on their most memorable experience, the boys said they will always remember their time at The World’s Best. When they guested in The Late Late Show with James Corden, the boys had a chance to share a duet with their idol American singer-songwriter Ariana Grande, which Mackie calls as a ‘dream come true.’
As for their lives off stage, the boys are pursuing other interests when they are not rehearsing or performing. Keifer likes to play online games and listening to music on his free time, while Mackie is into playing sports like volleyball and badminton. Francis would sometimes swim with his siblings and also dances whenever he can.
Learnings from their journey
The boys have achieved so much despite their young ages and their journey of performing together are filled with important lessons they will carry throughout their lives. “I have learned to always be humble and thankful, to appreciate what God has given me so that I will not take things for granted,” Mackie said.
Of course, the trio is also grateful for the guidance and dedication of their parents, guardians, and mentors. “They supported me throughout everything and made me feel like they believed in me,” Keifer said.
When asked on their tips for kids who aspire to be singers as well, Francis shared that it’s all about staying humble and giving one’s best. “Para sa katulad naming batang nangangarap, laging maging humble at lumingon kung saan tayo nanggaling. Mag practice parati at laging ibigay ang best sa lahat ng gagawin. At laging magdadasal para sa guidance. Maging masaya lang sa lahat ng gagawin,” Francis ended.