From being that simple yet palabang probinsyana from Digos City, Davao del Sur who dreamt of giving her family a comfortable life and gaining her self-confidence through her newfound voice, KZ Tandingan has successfully zoomed into becoming one of the most celebrated artists in the country, not to mentioned being hailed as Asia’s Soul Supreme.
In the past decade that she’s been in the entertainment scene, we’re able to witness her overall evolution – from the way she dresses up and presents herself to her style of singing and versatility as a performer. Through the years, she has proven herself as one of the most bankable and most decorated artists in the Philippines, thus, she was tapped to take on mentor jobs in several reality singing shows on TV. And this 2023, she’s going to do it full-time after she’s chosen to be one of the newest judges of The Voice Kids Philippines Season 5.
But before we could see her take on this new role, let us look back on her amazing journey to stardom in this Kapamilya Spotlight feature.
X-Factor Philippines (2012)
Just like some of the singers we look up to, KZ started singing at a very young age. Unfortunately, she had to stop on her third year in high school after suffering from a throat problem, which made it impossible for her to belt again. This prompted her to look for her new voice and develop a new singing style that truly impressed the X-Factor Philippines judges during the auditions.
She instantly became an early favorite through her unique rendition of the classic “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” which received a standing ovation from all the judges and “I’m a fan” comment from host KC Concepcion. Thus, they requested her to sing again, to which she obliged by performing her own rendition of The Fugees’ “Ready or Not” and showing off her rapping skills that further blew the minds of everyone in the venue.
Her statement: “Gusto ko pong sumali ng X-Factor hindi lang para tulungan ang pamilya ko, kundi patunayan na ang industriya ng musika sa Philippines ay hindi lang para sa mga magaganda, sa mga makikinis ang balat, sa matatangkad, sa mga biritero’t biritera, ‘di ba?” also created a mark in the hearts and minds of those who were able to watch her memorable audition.
She might have reached the bottom 2 of the competition, yet she still managed to survive the elimination and was even proclaimed the grand winner of X-Factor Philippines during the grand finals. Her winning piece was Luther Vandross’ “Superstar”.
Aside from securing an exclusive recording contract with Star Music and taking home a whopping four million peso-cash prize, KZ was also given a regular gig on ASAP, through which she’s able to further showcase her prowess in performing. We’ve witnessed her take on the stage solo, as well as her awesome collaborations, both local and international.
She became part of the DIVAS girl group along with Yeng Constantino, Kyla, and Angeline Quinto in 2016 and had the chance to dominate the ASAP stage with American popstar Rita Ora in 2019 as they performed a duet of the latter’s “I Will Never Let You Down.” KZ continues to deliver soulful and captivating song numbers on ASAP Natin ‘To up to the present.
A few months after winning X-Factor Philippines, she was tapped to interpret the Himig Handog 2013 entry “Scared To Death”, which was written by businessman and composer Domingo Rosco Jr. The song finished in the fourth place and was the third runner-up for Best P-Pop Love Song.
She once again joined the songwriting competition the following year as an interpreter and breathed life to the masterpiece of Edwin Marollano, “Mahal Ko O Mahal Ako”.
As Himig Handog returned in 2021, she also reprised her role as an interpreter as she provided vocals to the winning entry “Marupok” by Danielle Balagtas.
Singing Bee (2014)
Two years after being hailed as the first-ever grand champion of X-Factor Philippines, KZ once again became a millionaire when she bagged the Php 1 million jackpot on the musical game show, thanks to the The Itchyworms hit “Gusto Ko Lamang sa Buhay”.
Your Face Sounds Familiar Season 2 (2015)
She may be admired for her distinct voice and outstanding stage presence, but KZ further amazed us with her flair in imitating other music superstars and icons through her remarkable stint in Your Face Sounds Familiar 2. Among the artists she impersonated were Jessie J, Amy Winehouse, Lolita Carbon, Abra, Tina Turner, Charice, and Yael Yuzon of Spongecola. In the end, her impression of Lady Gaga performing “Pokerface” and “Born This Way” put her on the 4th place of the competition, which was won by Denise Laurel.
We Love OPM (2016)
The following year, she was hired to be one of the celebrity mentors of the reality music competition, and was assigned to Team O Diva, comprised by Klarisse De Guzman, Emmanuelle Vera, and Liezel Garcia.
Gandang Gabi Vice (2016)
In line with the promotions of the DIVAS upcoming concert then, KZ, Kyla, Yeng, and Angeline guested on GGV, wherein they gave us samples of their favorite songs. For the Soul Supreme, she instantly pierced our hearts with just a few lines from her rendition of “Huwag Ka Nang Umiyak,” originally by Sugarfree.
She also had a few guestings in the Kapamilya noontime program It’s Showtime, including this appearance in 2018, when she launched her latest single “Labo” that truly got the madlang people grooving.
The year 2018 was certainly a monumental and unforgettable one for KZ as she had the opportunity to compete as a weekly challenger on China’s Singer 2018. Her refreshing take to Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep” absolutely astounded everyone, including her competitors, which put her on the first place on her debut round on Week 5. Unfortunately, she got eliminated on the ninth week due to the low percentage of votes she got.
She had the chance to return for the breakout or wildcard episode after almost a month, wherein she performed the Tagalog and Mandarin rendition of Freddie Aguilar’s “Anak.” She might have failed to advance to the finals and got eliminated, but she was later on invited as a guest singer to perform along with former winner Coco Winner and the series’ eventual champion Jessie J.
Throughout her 10 years in the industry, KZ was able to have a slew of chart-topping hits, several concerts and live shows, as well as collaborations with other OPM artists. Apart from her inclusion in ABS-CBN IDs since the beginning of her career, she lent her voice to the Kapamilya Summer Special ID “Feel Good Pilipinas” in 2021 along with rising P-Pop group BGYO.
And this year, the Asia’s Soul Supreme is going to have the opportunity again to share her knowledge, skills, and expertise to the younger generation as one of the newest coaches of The Voice Kids Philippines Season 5, which will premiere this February 25 and 26, on Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, A2Z, and TV5.