MANILA - "It's so weird to think that a couple of months ago, I was waking up and I was preparing to listen to a lecture in the university. And now I'm waking up to go and perform a gig in television," said Cyrus Villanueva, the grand winner of the most recent season of "The X Factor Australia."
In a Skype interview with ABS-CBN News' MJ Felipe on Thursday, the 19-year-old Villanueva, a graphics design student, talked about his roots in Davao and how his Filipino father, a full-time musician known as Jo Vill, inspired his love for music.
He shared that one of his earliest memories was bringing his ukelele to his father's room. "He would be rehearsing so I'll bring my ukelele, stand next to him and strum, and try to copy him," he said.
Villanueva added that he keeps in constant contact with his relatives in the Philippines, that he visited the country three years ago, and that he is aware about Filipinos' passion for music.
"There was a karaoke machine inside every house. ...It was inevitable that I would fall in love with music," he quipped.
Asked if there were any Filipino singers whom he looked up to aside from his father, Villanueva said that he idolizes recording artist Gabe Bondoc, and that he would love to meet him and maybe perform together in the Philippines.
"Hopefully, there's time for me to come over and give back," said Villanueva, who still could not believe the amount of support he has been receiving from Pinoys.
"I'm so grateful to have every one of you behind me. So, from the bottom of my heart, I would like to thank you for supporting me from the very start. A massive thank you to all for showing the love," he said.