I first met Normann Bel Sarmiento in June 2018. She was one of my grade 11 Arts & Design students at Liceo de Cagayan University – Paseo del Rio. Although she was a little soft-spoken when she introduced herself, I immediately knew that there was something special about her. The fact that her classmates kept pointing to her every time I asked about singing and music somehow told me that I wasn’t wrong.

When she sang the German version of “Silent Night”, I was completely blown away! Her voice was like that of an angel’s. So soothing and calming, yet so powerful. That sealed the deal for me. I knew right there and then that Bel was going to go places.

Normann Bel Sarmiento on Tawag Ng Tanghalan
Bel on Tawag Ng Tanghalan

In 2019, Bel represented Mindanao in the popular Tawag Ng Tanghalan singing competition on It’s Showtime!. Needless to say, Bel wowed the crowd and the judges. From then on, she was unstoppable. She was one of the actors of the 1st Extra Virgin Lab Fest, a festival of original plays that ran for four nights at Rodelsa Hall last December 2019. And just before the pandemic threw all of us off our feet, Bel performed at Rodelsa Hall again, this time for Manilla, the original musical that she and her classmates staged as a culminating project for their Theater, Music, Dance, and Visual Arts subjects. Bel alternated with one of her classmates for the lead role of Manilla.

I’m sure that if Covid-19 didn’t happen, Bel would have spent the past months busy as a bee with performances and guest appearances here and there. However, as she’s not the type of person who easily gives up, the new normal actually gave her more opportunities to explore her creativity. Thus, she continues to create and share beautiful music.

Normann Bel Sarmiento

Let’s get to know Bel better through these questions I asked her to answer:

1. How were you as a child? Were you already into the arts?

I come from a family of singers, and when I was younger, I imitated my sister every time she sang. My sister is a singer, actress, and beauty queen.

2. Did you always want to be an artist?

Yes. The first time I saw my older sister performing, or singing, I said to myself that I wanted to be as talented as her.

3. What (and when) were your first major singing & acting projects? The ones that first put you in the spotlight?

In 2019, I represented Mindanao in Tawag Ng Tanghalan sa It’s Showtime and became a three-time defending champion.

I also played the role of “Sittie” in an original play by Lendz Barinque called “Ang Mga Babae sa Kusina”. It was directed by JC Salon for the Extra Virgin Labfest – a festival of untried, untested, and unstaged plays in Mindanao. This was last December 2019.

Ang Mga Babae sa Kusina
Photo from the Extra Virgin Lab Fest FB Page

4. Singing, I presume, is your first love. What about acting? How did you get into it?

My sister is an actress too she played as Nancy in a Musical Theater play Oliver Twist that was staged at Rodelsa Hall. I got inspired and when I was in grade 6 i got the opportunity to audition for High school Musical theater play and got the lead role Gabriella Montez it was staged at Rodelsa Hall too.

5. What’s your favorite performance (for both singing and acting)?

The most meaningful and memorable ones for you? -in singing it would be probably when I performed my original composition “Gods Angels” and posted it on my YouTube Account “Bel Sarmiento”. I made that song for our frontliners who are helping us in the fight against Covid-19.

In acting, it would be the original musical theater play “Manilla”, because my original compositions were used in the play. I also played the lead character, Manilla.

Bel as Manilla
Bel as Manilla

6.What is your dream project?

To become a well-known singer-songwriter, to have a well-known recording studio, and a music school.

Normann Bel Sarmiento_Singer

7. Who is Bel the person (not the artist)?

Bel is the loving daughter of Annabelle and Norman Sarmiento and the caring youngest sister of Norielle Ann and Norman Ayn Sarmiento.

Normann Bel Sarmiento

8. Aside from singing and acting, what else do you like to do? Any hobbies? Sports?

I enjoy composing songs, editing and mastering audio/recordings and videos, playing musical instruments, and taking good care of plants and my pets.

9. Who are the artists you look up to?

Moira and ben&ben, because of their compositions; and Morissette and Jona for their singing.

10. Do you follow a routine when you perform?

Yes. Before I perform, I remind myself to focus and hit the low and high notes – to prepare for the high notes, tell a story, and enjoy.

Normann Bel Sarmiento

11. How are you coping with the Covid-19 new normal?

I’m actually doing fine because I now have more time for writing songs.

12. What are your plans post-Covid-19? Any current or upcoming projects? An online show, perhaps?

I’m planning to produce my own songs. I might post them in my YouTube channel.

13. What message would you like to impart to aspiring artists, especially in these difficult times?

Believe in yourself. Trust the process. Look like a beauty queen but train like a beast. Lastly, pray to God thank Him for the talents He gave you.

Normann Bel Sarmiento as Manilla

Bel’s beautiful soaring voice can soothe a tired soul and weary heart. Her voice deserves to be heard. Let’s keep praying that things will go back to the “old normal” so we can see and listen to more of Bel and her music.

Follow Bel on YouTube here. You may also want to follow her on Facebook by clicking this link.

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