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Espanto was born on May 24, 2001 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. His family includes his filipino parents Marinel and Lyndon Espanto, who emigrated from Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines, and his younger sister named Lynelle. Despite living in Canada, his parents taught him Filipino language particularly Tagalog, and remain fluent with it, he said, "When I went home from school, when I'm still speaking English they will tell me 'you are not in the school anymore, you're in the house, you should speak tagalog' so that's how I became fluent in Tagalog." Espanto started singing at the age of two. In manila bulletin interview Espanto stated that: "When I was little, I would listen to some songs and I'd try to copy the tune to it."As a toddler, Espanto serenaded his parents with the tunes from The Lion King or Sleeping Beauty in their home, which led to his relatives to discover his singing potential and urge him to pursue and hone his raw talent. His parents were supportive of his dreams and talents, his father taught him the basics of singing, and his mother who was a choreographer during high school days, helped him infused dance into his singing performance. Before joining The Next Star, Espanto first joined a singing contest for young Filipinos in Edmonton, and won during the Masters Finals of Pinoy Singing Sensation on November 19, 2011, singing Alone by Celine Dion. During ABS-CBN's The Voice Kids Season 1 auditions aired on June 1, 2014, Espanto performed Jessie J's "Domino", which he formerly sang during The Next Star at age 11. Coaches Sarah Geronimo and Bamboo Mañalac both pressed their buttons for him, vocalizing that he 'can be groomed to be a recording artist, a total package'. Although Espanto revealed that he was Manalac's front act during one of his concerts in Canada, he still picked Geronimo stating that she could help him a lot in the music industry Espanto eventually advanced to the finals after singing Whitney Houston's "One Moment in Time" during the live semi-finals held at the Newport Performing Arts Theater in Resorts World Manila.He was the second one to receive the highest votes, after Lyca Gairanod. Salonga, one of the coaches commented that Espanto is a phenomenal while his mentor Geronimo stated that he was 'a winner and a complete package'.