CORNERSTONE Entertainment Inc. founder and President Erickson Raymundo did not envision himself to be in the entertainment industry; but he is now driven by a vision: to produce world-class artists while being a good influence to society.
A licensed nurse by profession, Raymundo entered the academe and taught in universities in Manila. He also had plans of working abroad. But because there was a freeze hiring of nurses abroad, he was forced to go into businesses.
He came across a networking company and started being a networker for five years for different companies, until he formed his own company called “Vision Network,” which manufactured supplements, along with other products.
He also established two restaurants, one of which is “Little Poon,” where he worked with Richard Poon as partners. Likewise, he was a business partner in a modeling agency, where his network in the entertainment
industry started. It was also where he discovered the actor Sam Milby, who just arrived in the Philippines from the States in 2005.
“We became good friends but he joined a different agency a day before I met him,” he shares. “After six months, he told me he wanted to stay in the country to enter the show business and asked if I could be his manager,” he recalls. “That was when I had him enter the reality show Pinoy Big Brother (PBB).”
PBB was a hit show in 2005, which pooled together different personalities.
“He was my first artist. But, actually, we started in the industry at the same time because I didn’t know anybody then; it just so happened that I was already familiar with VTR shoots, which was already part of my job in the modeling agency.”
When he was in the house, he was already offered multinational contracts from big brands and I had to entertain all of those—movie, commercial, recording contracts, among many others. He became a really big name that there was a time he was called the “King of Edsa” because he was all over the major highway.
“It was totally new to me but I loved it,” he says. “I was very tired and didn’t have enough sleep, but I knew it is what I want to do.”
He did all the work then—he didn’t have an assistant nor a road manager even when Milby was already doing soap operas, shows abroad, recordings, concert, movies and endorsements. So he slowly left all his businesses and formed Cornerstone in 2006—only a year after he met Milby.
Richard Poon also approached Raymundo to be his manager. “He told me he wanted to form a band, but I had a different vision for him,” he recalls. “We were, at first, rejected by all recording labels we approached, so I ended up producing his album even if I didn’t have any background about it.”
After the recording and a music video, he went back to a recording company to present the finished product. “I told them, ‘If you think it will not work, tell me why. I want to learn,” he said. The company agreed to distribute it until it became double platinum.
The rest, as the saying goes, is history.
Now almost nine years in the industry, Cornerstone has evolved into a full-service agency that discovers, develops, trains and manages artists in the fields of television, film and music, as well as for advertising and events.
It has expanded to include musical performers in the industry including Director Joyce Bernal, Erik Santos, Yeng Constantino, Angeline Quinto, Rachelle Ann Go, Jericho Rosales, Maricar Reyes and other upcoming hosts and talents in indie films and reality shows. It also produces albums and music videos, supplies talents and mounts events to meet the requirement of its clients.
Man of vision
IN all the things that Raymundo did—from being a networker and business partner of a modeling agency, to putting up his own agency and discovering talents along the way—he had a vision and he believes it. That is the kind of mindset that puts him where he is now.
“[Having a vision] gives you purpose and direction,” he says. “When you just dream, you just wish things to happen. But when you have a vision, you see yourself in that position so you work for it.”
“A vision is more powerful than a mere dream,” he adds.
“It is when you have a vision that you take a journey toward reaching that goal,” he said. “You get recharged and refueled, so you keep on going.”
Indeed, it is having a vision that dictates one’s destiny in the entertainment industry.
“The challenge for me is to make each artist different from the rest—their branding has to be very strong,” he explained. Raymundo actually took up marketing units in De La Salle University, where he learned that celebrities themselves are brands.
“There are so many artists already, and there are countless good-looking people wanting to enter the industry, but there are just limited projects. Therefore, you have to be unique in order to catch the attention of the audience and the producers, as well.”
Driven by core values
RAYMUNDO shares that Jericho Rosales, one of the newest talents that the executive manages, approached him initially because of the core values of Cornerstone.
“We were acquainted, but we did not know each other personally, so I was surprised when he called me and asked me to be his manager because he believed in the company’s core values: humility, integrity, professionalism and excellence,” he said.
He says he always reminds his employees to stand by their words, which is to deliver what they promised their clients—excellent and talented artists. They still undergo trainings and voice lessons even if they are already established. They have to remain humble and professional.
Raymundo says the company has rejected many big names that have approached them. “If I can’t see anything that I can do for them, even if I know it means big income, I can’t accept them,” he says. “When I accept an artist, I must have to be a fan first—I must want to listen to your recordings or watch your movies. He or she must really have the talent, and we, as a team, must have a vision for him or her.”
He explains that, if these factors are not present, it would be unfair for the artist.
“We constantly want to develop world-class talents,” he said. “More than popular, our artists have to be top of their game.”
“They also have to be good influence to the society. The industry is a very powerful and influential, so if you want to make even a little difference through the artists, you can,” he concludes.