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2013 People of the Year awardee: The ever-evolving Kuh

Kuh Ledesma is busy preparing for her Valentine’s concert with Leo Valdez, titled The King and the Diva: Beyond Classic, at Resorts World Manila

MANILA, Philippines - Pop diva Kuh Ledesma particularly remembers an incident in one of her gigs in the province where she failed to sing One More Try, the theme song from the hit GMA teleserye My Husband’s Lover, and found out that her fans were extremely disappointed.

“Immediately after my show, people came to me and reminded me on why I didn’t sing One More Try and I told them, yeah, I forgot, I’m sorry. I couldn’t forget the disappointed look on their faces,” Kuh told entertainment reporters during a recent presscon for her upcoming Valentine’s concert with veteran singer-stage actor Leo Valdez at the Resorts World Manila.

Now, Kuh resolved that she will sing One More Try for the concert dubbed The King and the Diva: Beyond Classic on Feb. 14 at the Newport Performing Arts Theater of the Resorts World.

Kuh said she didn’t expect that One More Try, which she recorded some 30 years ago, would become a hit song in this generation.

She recorded the song along with another of her singles, I Think I’m in Love, and at the time, One More Try didn’t fare well compared to her other hits Dito Ba and ‘Til I Met You.

One More Try was composed by Cecille Azarcon-Inocentes. It’s simply a beautiful, beautiful love song, that’s why today’s generation was able to appreciate it, even if it was written in the ’80s. It’s a classic love song. It only shows that a good song will make it no matter what,” Kuh told the press.

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Last year, Kuh also went back to acting in My Husband’s Lover, as the mom of a gay man, a role that she found challenging and which earned her kudos for her portrayal.

Now that the series has wrapped up, Kuh shared she missed her co-stars and hoped that she can go back to acting in another teleserye again.

For now, she’s looking forward to her Valentine’s concert with Leo.

The last time Kuh and Leo were together on the same stage was on the play Rama Hari, a song-and-dance retelling of the Indian epic Ramayana in 1981.

 Kuh played the role of Sita while Leo was the villain Ravana. Basil Valdez, on the other hand, played Rama. Kuh, Leo and Basil were the decade’s signature talents. They were also at the forefront of promoting Original Pilipino Music (OPM) in the ’80s.

Kuh, at the time, was on the cusp of stardom, having just launched a solo career after a stint as the lead singer of  the showband Music and Magic. Months after playing Rama, Kuh was to launch her first big hit Dito Ba, followed by hit after hit.

Kuh has done over 1,000 concerts, received countless awards both here and abroad and recorded a total of 20 albums in a span of four decades.

According to Wikipedia, Kuh was the first Filipino singer to become the recipient of the Salem Music Awards in March, 1989. That same year, Kuh performed at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

Apart from her poignant love songs, Kuh popularized the patriotic song Ako ay Pilipino.

Clearly, Kuh is one of the country’s musical institutions, a legend and an icon.

Recently, Kuh was named as People of the Year awardee by PeopleAsia magazine for her outstanding achievements in the field of arts.

Kuh continues to evolve and lately, she found out that she is adept in painting. Truly, a renaissance woman, she mounted her first one-woman exhibit titled Unexpected at the Whitespace Gallery featuring 40 artworks.

Aside from being a painter, she is also an entrepreneur, currently managing hotels and restaurants.

 These days, Kuh is busy preparing for her concert with Leo.

“I’m extremely happy to work with Leo. I’m proud of his achievements here and abroad. Come to think of it, there’s nothing not to like about Leo. He’s very down-to-earth and always light to work with. Hindi sya maarte. I really admire him because whenever he performs, he gives everything he has into that song,” Kuh said.

 Kuh vowed to give the audience an unforgettable Valentine’s concert and one helluva good time.

“People will leave the concert in love. They will definitely feel good after going to our concert,” Kuh said.

  She said they will also sing songs from Broadway classics Miss Saigon, Evita and The King and I, which was recently staged at Newport, headlined by no less than Leo.

 “I told Leo, we have to sing and act some scenes from The King and I. Hindi pwedeng hindi,” Kuh joked.

She will also sing Don’t Cry for Me Argentina.

“We’ll sing old and new love songs. I will sing the best songs of Adele because I love her. We will also perform R&B songs,” Kuh added.

There will also be a short tribute to the late prolific Filipino songwriter George Canseco and Kuh will sing a medley of his hits like Ikaw and Isang Saglit.

She also said that they will show off some cool dance moves during the show.

“Yes, we are going to dance at the concert. We’re going to dance to groovy songs from the ’70s,” Kuh said.

She said the idea of headlining a Valentine’s concert with Leo was broached to her by Resorts World Manila way back in 2012, but because of their busy schedules, the date was moved this year.

Asked if they did special preparations for the show, Kuh said that they’ve been rehearsing every day, vocalizing and harmonizing their voices and working with the band.

“There are really no grand preparations. In any project, it requires nothing but the best efforts. We just do the best that we can. I complement the best that he can do and he complements the best that I can do. We try to come up with the best for our fans and supporters,” Kuh said.

Although she’s already in her 50s, Kuh can still give younger singers a run for their money.

She said she managed to preserve her voice even with the passage of time, thanks to a fit lifestyle and healthy-eating regimen.

Kuh, who has been in the spotlight for 35 years, attributes her longevity in a fickle and fleeting industry that is show business to her faith in God.

“The hand of God has always been with me and a purpose why He gave me a name in the business (is) so I can proclaim Christ everywhere I go through my music,” Kuh said.

She also credits her spiritual life and her skin doctor for a youthful skin.

“My relationship with God keeps me young-looking. Of course, I have a skin doctor and probably good genes but nothing will beat a solid relationship with God. It’s more powerful than any skin doctor and it also helps if you have a stress-free lifestyle,” Kuh said.

The songstress is even more disciplined when it comes to taking care of her voice.

“First of all, you really have to have eight hours worth of sleep if you want your voice to sound good. As much as possible I avoid staying up late at night. I don’t drink cold drinks. If there’s a show, I try not to talk. As they say, talking is bad for the voice. It really takes a lot of discipline, but you’ll go a long way if you follow these simple rules,” Kuh said.

As for the concert, Kuh said they will give people a really good show.

“We’ll sing melodiously and try to get the message of the love songs to our audience,” Kuh said.

“I would like to elevate singing into an art form. Through this concert, hopefully we can do that,” she added.

The King and the Diva: Beyond Classic is directed by Floy Quintos together with Homer Flores.

For more details on The King and the Diva: Beyond Classic, visit www.rwmanila.com or call the Tourist/Visitor Hotline at 908-8833.

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