Former Sugababes pop band member and Fil-British Mutya Buena is embarking on a solo singing career.
Born in England to an Irish mom and a Pinoy dad, her British twang doesn't keep her from loving the adobo her father cooks for the family and celebrating Filipino Independence Day every June 12.
Nor does Mutya's western upbringing prevent her from taking her Visayan grandmother's hand, touching it lightly with her forehead and saying, "Mano Po!"
Unlike some people she grew up with, Mutya doesn't call her elders by their first names. In fact, she addresses her relatives in Tagbilaran, Bohol as tito and tita.
Mention Itik-itik and she reacts, "Oh, the one where you move like a duck? Oh yes!"
Pandanggo sa Ilaw is where "you move with candlelights." And tinikling is something Mutya learned as a little girl.
Rosa Isabel Mutya Buena, born on May 21,1985 in Kingsbury, London), known professionally as Mutya Buena, is an English singer and songwriter, who rose to fame as a member of the pop band Sugababes.
The Buena family currently lives in Kingsbury, North West London. She attended Kingsbury High School. Her name "Mutya" means "muse" or "beautiful gem" in Tagalog, the Filipino national language.
She has five brothers (Bayani, Charlie, Chris, Danny and Roberto) and two younger sisters, Ligaya and Dalisay. another sister, Maya, who died in 2002.
Buena began her music career as the leadsinger of the multi-platinum selling girl band the Sugababes, during which time they released such hits as "Freak Like Me", "Hole in the Head", and "Push the Button". Buena later left the band to begin a solo career and was replaced by Amelle Berrabah.
Buena officially left the band on December 21, 2005, with an announcement appearing on the Sugababes official website stating that "Mutya's decision is based purely on personal reasons and she will continue to remain the best of friends with both Keisha and Heidi."
Now that she's on solo flight with a debut album titled Real Girl to show for it, Mutya has a bigger audience she can share her Pinay heart with.
And she's succeeding, so far. The first single, the album's title track Real Girl, entered the UK Singles chart at No. 11 in downloads alone climbing to No. 2 after its CD release. The song samples Lenny Kravitz's It Ain't Over 'Till It's Over.
The track closest to Mutya's heart, however, is Suffer For Love, because she herself wrote it.
Real Girl marks another first for Mutya. It's the first time she is using her family name — Buena, in an album.
Turning solo, says Mutya, has brought with it many wonderful changes.
"It's allowing me to do my own thing," she explains.
On top of this list of plus points is the chance to spend more time with her daughter (Tahlia-Maya) and be the best mother she can be to her.
Like fellow half-Pinoy artist Apl.de.ap of Black Eyed Peas, Mutya is proud of her roots. She tells anyone who cares to listen when she's on stage that she's half-Pinoy.
Yes, England may have its gleaming skyscrapers, latest gizmos and other things new and high-tech. But Mutya Buena — with her love for adobo, tinikling and fiestas — remains proudly Filipino, right down to the core.