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Zsa Zsa's enduring romance with music

Zsa Zsa Padilla makes sure the long wait for her latest album is worth it

MANILA, Philippines - Twenty-six years in show business do not make Zsa Zsa Padilla a musical genius. While she can readily bask on her list of hits and multi-platinum albums, the Divine Diva acknowledges she still has a lot to learn.

Setting her ego aside, Zsa Zsa allowed her new bosses at PolyEast-EMI to provide their marketing expertise in putting together her latest album, Unchanging Love, to make her understand what the market wants from artists like her.

It has taken Zsa Zsa seven years to record another album, following Mahal Kita, Walang Iba, which she released through Viva Records in 2002. Although she is seen performing regularly on ABS-CBN’s A.S.A.P. ‘09, she took a long respite from recording.

So when PolyEast-EMI offered her a new recording venture, Zsa Zsa eagerly embarked on the project with unbridled passion and excitement. She is back to the recording scene with Unchanging Love, a well-crafted package of contemporary pop tunes that serves as a formidable testament to her successful and enduring career.

 “To say that I missed working in a recording studio would be an understatement,” Zsa Zsa maintains. “Quite honestly, I can’t wait to be back there for more exciting and new, challenging projects. It is hard to express in words the joy, excitement and trepidation I felt while working on this album. It was a long and tedious process that I have been too proud to admit I missed until now.”

Admittedly, everything felt like a whole new experience again for Zsa Zsa — from meeting her new recording bosses and producer in conceptualizing the album to choosing the songs and recording them.

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 “It took me seven long years to find the courage to record again — mostly because it was a struggle to fight for an album I truly believe in — an all-original OPM album,” Zsa Zsa allows. “I have poured my heart and soul in interpreting each song in this album and I pray that each song touches the heart of the listener the same way it did mine.”

Unchanging Love contains 12 tracks — revivals, OPM tunes and originals, all accentuating Zsa Zsa’s distinctive vocals. The album comes in an impressive and stylish, two-CD special edition package, with a bonus minus-one edition.

The in-lay is replete with beautiful photos of Zsa Zsa, showing her in various poses taken by Doc Marlon Pecjo and looking young beyond her years. Who would have thought that Belo Medical Group’s endorser for its latest Ulthera anti-aging treatment is 45?

The album takes off with the remake of Hanggang, a hauntingly beautiful ballad originally recorded by Wency Cornejo, which Zsa Zsa interprets in her expressive singing style. The carrier single immediately gained steam on the airlanes and brought Zsa Zsa back to the top of the music charts, subsequently making the CD turn gold after only two months in the market.

Rendering other familiar tunes, Zsa Zsa sings more romantic revivals like Joey Albert’s Memories; Miguel Vera’s Nais Ko; Reuben Laurente’s Nasasaktan; Vina Morales’ Muli; Carla Martinez’s Changes; Chad Borja’s Ikaw Lang; and Joanne Lorenzana’s Kung Alam Mo Lang. The songs are given a new, modern feel and appealing arrangement.

 “I cannot deny the fact that the market in our country still clamors for revivals,” Zsa Zsa notes. “There is comfort in seeing familiar titles while looking at the back cover of an album. Sometimes, it simply stirs my curiosity. But mostly, I still feel an adrenaline rush and get overwhelmed with excitement when I try to imagine my favorite artist or band’s take on the songs.”

The title track, Unchanging Love, meanwhile, is originally a Japanese song recorded by Korean-Japanese pop star Jyongri from EMI-Japan. The English translation was written by Martin Nievera and was used in the Ryan Agoncillo-Judy Ann Santos wedding special.

For Zsa Zsa, Dolphy is what Unchanging Love is all about. “He continues to inspire me with the unconditional love that only he can give,” says Zsa Zsa of her partner for more than two decades.

Iibigin Kang Muli, an original composition by Diana Dayao that speaks about unrequited love, is the second single culled from the album.

Pagmamahal Na Walang Wakas is a heartwarming cut that Zsa Zsa dedicates to her three daughters — Karylle, Nicole and Zia. The song speaks about a mother’s sincere love, dreams and hopes for her child.

 “With the new songs in this album, I assure you that we have done our very best,” Zsa Zsa asserts. “I know we all have a bigger task at hand — promoting this album. I pray that the public will give the new songs in the album a chance.”

Unchanging Love marks the nostalgic reunion of Zsa Zsa with veteran music man Chito Ilagan, PolyEast’s A and R (artist and repertoire) director, who produced her album two decades ago, containing the classic hits Mambobola and Ikaw Lamang.

The new CD also boasts a powerhouse team of songwriters, musicians and arrangers that completes the 12-track recording lineup.

Zsa Zsa’s new album does not disappoint listeners. Neither does it fall short of expectations. She delivers great music in Unchanging Love, reinforcing her boundless passion for her craft. After seven years, she made sure the long wait is certainly worth it.

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