|Birth||5 August 1976, Makati, Philippines|
Anthony James Jude Villegas Arias, better known for his stage name Junji Arias, is a Filipino record producer, composer, singer, and was the former vocalist and chief songwriter for the band, Excerpts (1993–1999) and Velcro (1999–2008). Arias has been well known for his raw, sharp-edged raspy vocals. He was one of the pioneers of the acoustic Rock alternative scene during the late 1990s and early 2000s. He is also musically versatile, playing a wide range of instruments, including the guitar, keyboards, and several percussion instruments.
Arias auditioned for the first season of The Voice of the Philippines where he was able to join Sarah Geronimo’s team. He was able to go to reach the teams final 6 before getting eliminated by coach Sarah.
Arias was born on August 5, 1976 in Makati City, Philippines to Ariel Jose Bacerdo Arias and Redenta Nazareth Villegas. He started his education at Colegio San Agustin-Makati, but got into a lot of trouble growing up and went on to different high schools to finish, then to college at International Academy of Management and Economics, taking up a degree majoring in Management and Economics.
He is married to French commercial model and financial advisor, Anais Thoret Arias.
Beginnings and early success
He began his singing career as a solo act, at the age of 17, at Ka Freddies in Tagaytay City in 1993 after being discovered by international folk star, Freddie Aguilar. He released his first album under Warner Music Philippines with the band Excerpts in 1999. In 2000, he formed Velcro, an acoustic group together with Rivermaya drummer, Mark Escueta, and coExcerpts member and lead guitarist, James Diaz. They were later joined by Bolichie Suzara on Bass and Alex Fidel on Drums for their debut album, “Ubod ng Lakas na Dikoryenteng Kombo” released in 2004 and was distributed by Viva Records.
He was also able to collaborate with different artists, including Rachel Alejandro, Rico Blanco, Jay Durias, and Top Suzara. He composed, arranged and co-produced Geneva Cruz’s album, “To Manila”, which was released October 2013. He also composed jingles for different commercial ads.
In 2007, he released his single “98 Seconds” in (Germany) and China.
The Voice of the Philippines
In June 2013, he joined The Voice of the Philippines wherein he sang “I’ll Be There for You” by Bon Jovi. He was able to make Lea Salonga, Bamboo Mañalac, and Sarah Geronimo turn their respective chairs. He later picked the latter as his coach. During the Battles, he was paired up with the 22-year-old Dave Jonathan Lamar where they sang “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Arias later won that round and which made him advanced to the Live shows. In the first Live show, he sang Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing while suffering from mononucleosis.” He was later eliminated after Geronimo picked Eva delos Santos over him.
Post The Voice of the Philippines
After ending his stint in The Voice of the Philippines, Arias continued his career in doing musical gigs at both local and international venues. Until 2015, he decided to focus on his business ventures and fatherhood. In a recent interview, Arias stated that no musician can truly say that they are retired and ended by saying that he will be back.
- Solo albums
- 98 Seconds
- Six Pack Blues
- With Excerpts
- Sunday Jam sa Tagaytay
- With Velcro
- Ubod ng Lakas na Dikoryenteng Kombo
- Close Up
- Ubod ng Lumpiya na may Sauce Maryosep
- Hearts Desire
- To Manila