KZ Tandingan is all-praises for new gen of composers, says the future looks bright for OPM

KZ Tandingan is one of the first celebrities to be called a ‘COVID bride.’ She married fellow singer TJ Monterde in an intimate wedding last August 28, proving the old aphorism “love defies all odds” true.

The recent holidays turned out bittersweet for the newlyweds. They enjoyed each other’s company while missing their families in the province. 

Looking back on 2020, KZ learned to take the day as it comes. She used to obsess over To Do lists and schedules. But with the pandemic either halting or altering last year’s major plans, including her supposed big wedding celebration, KZ became more open to embracing uncertainties. Although she remains motivated by setting goals, she realized there’s no harm in welcoming changes. It even inspires her to experience more zest for life. 

“Hindi ko muna hahayaan ‘yung sarili ko na sobrang mag-worry about tomorrow because tomorrow is never promised. Hindi mo nga alam kung anong mangyayari, so take each day as it comes and enjoy the present. That’s why it’s called the present kasi it’s a gift,” she explained. 

KZ starts the year by making a comeback for the 11th Himig Handog as an interpreter of the song “Marupok” by Danielle Balagtas. The Asia’s Soul Supreme praises Star Music and ABS-CBN for still pushing through the annual songwriting contest despite the situation we’re in. She said this helped composers to focus more on their music than the problems in the world.  

She described “Marupok” as a fresh love song infused with unconventional elements such as the use of ’kulintang’ and rap verse. She had good chemistry with the song, as though it was written specifically to suit her music style.  

The music video likewise conveyed breathtaking artistry. It marks her first collaboration with Gerard Lopez who opted for a simple production setup using only curtains and mirrors as prominent elements. Less is more, they say. The creatives considered her personal style in choosing the visuals. And the final output turned out to be ‘very KZ.’

“Lahat ng sinabi niyang gawin ko, ginawa ko lang but I did not know how he’s gonna piece it together. Tapos nu’ng pinadala niya, sobrang tuwang-tuwa ako. Ang galing ng pagkatahi niya. The music video of Marupok is such a visual treat. Siya ‘yung music video na at the same level of the quality of music,” she said of Gerard’s artistic piece.  
Holding a record of chart-topping Himig pieces including “Scared to Death” and “Mahal Ko o Mahal Ako,” KZ is expected to make another successful interpretation this year. The pressure doesn’t completely wane but just changes through time. Her focus now is to tell the story from the heart. She said there’s no magic formula in giving life to a song than just doing her best. 

For KZ, the future of OPM looks bright with young songwriters adding in their creative juices and modern artistry. “Ang music ngayon lalo na dito sa Pilipinas, it continuously evolves. ‘Yung mga batang songwriters at singers, iba na ‘yung atake nila, magugulat ka na lang. They are way beyond their years. Sobrang bata pero ang lalim na ng mga sinusulat at hugot.”

That’s why she urges everyone to continue supporting these up and coming artists to inspire them to create more music. “Bigyan natin ng chance ‘yung mga local artists na mag-shine. Mag-effort tayo na pakinggan ‘yung music nila,” she told listeners. 

As tips to aspiring music stars, KZ underscored the need to grow beyond the comfort zone. She also advised them to never be scared to grab opportunities because, win or lose, these will help them evolve. 

“Never give up and never stay in your comfort zone. ‘Pag may opportunity, tanggapin mo ‘yun kasi that opportunity might never come again. If nakakatakot ‘yun, it means it’s big. Kung hindi man maging successful ‘yun, sure na sure ako na it will make you grow,” said KZ, adding that dreamers must take the waiting season as a time to hone their talent. 

And, always be ready because the big break often comes at the most unexpected hour.