Very close to Kyla’s heart

DIRECT LINE - Boy Abunda () - November 28, 2005 - 12:00am
"Ang gagaling ng mga bata!" gushes Kyla. The R & B princess is talking excitedly about her new show, Popstar Kids, a for kids only version of Pinoy Pop Superstar. Popstar Kids premiered Nov. 13 over QTV Channel 11, a sister station of GMA 7.

The show is very close to the heart of Kyla, who herself is a product of a singing contest on TV. She was only 10 when she first joined Tanghalan ng Kampeon, then hosted by Pilita Corrales and the late Bert Marcelo. In fact, the show was held in the very same studio where Popstar Kids taped its first episode. "Kaya nung pumasok ako (sa studio), naluha ako," Kyla tells us. "Naaalala ko kasi yung dinaanan ko noon, na dinadaanan din nila ngayon."

According to Kyla, it was her choice to join Tanghalan ng Kampeon even if she was very young then. She joined five times, and every time, she would end up second or third but never in first place. Finally, when she announced to her parents that she intended to join a sixth time, her father put his foot down. But Kyla really wanted to join, especially since the age limit for the Bulilit Kampeon was 12. Those 13 and above competed with the adults. So one day, when her father left the house, Kyla and her mother headed to the studio to audition. "Last chance ko na kasi, eh gusto ko talaga," she says. "I wanted to prove na kaya kong manalo."

It was no surprise when Kyla passed the audition. She sang a Whitney Houston song, I Will Always Love You. After that, she went on a run, holding the Bulilit title for seven weeks, which qualified her to make it to the Grand Finals. Six of the contestants made it to the finals.

By this time, her father already knew she had entered the contest. But since she was already in the finals, there was nothing he could do except support her wholeheartedly. In the finals, Kyla sang I Am Changing, from the Broadway musical Dreamgirls, originally performed by Jennifer Holiday.

And guess what? After several attempts, Kyla, then using her real name, Melanie Calumpad, finally became Grand Champion! She was so happy she cried. "Umiyak ako, kasi ilang beses na rin akong sumali, at ilang beses na rin akong na-frustrate," she says.

So now that she has become a successful singer, Kyla is doing her bit to help kids jumpstart their own dreams in Popstar Kids. But having been through the contest mill herself, she knows exposing kids to too much, too soon can have its dangers.

That’s why I’m very happy that children in the show are not required to wear gowns or makeup. At saka talagang inaalagaan sila, even pagdating sa performance. Tito Danny (Tan, the show’s musical director) teaches them how to sing like children. They need not copy adults, and not every word should be accompanied with gestures."

It’s harder, though, choosing age-appropriate songs. "It’s their prerogrative, kung ano ang kakantahin nila," explains Kyla. "Of course it’s better if they sing something for kids, although I agree this presents some problems. There are few contest pieces for children."

But Kyla owes a lot to singing contests, since it was through one that she got her first break in showbiz. After winning the Tanghalan ng Kampeon, she made it to That’s Entertainment, and from there, it was just a short hop to her first album and the start of a very successful recording and television career as one of the hosts on GMA 7’s SOP.

She is also starting work on her new album. This is welcome news for fans, who have long been waiting for her to come out with something new after Not Your Ordinary Girl, which had a smash hit single in Human Nature. Kyla is busy gathering songs for the album, which has her all excited as well. "Hopefully I can start recording this month, in time for a January release," she says.

But hosting a show like Popstar Kids presents a different kind of challenge altogether. Although she hosts SOP regularly, on the show she works with several different co-hosts in Regine Velasquez, Ogie Alcasid, and Jaya. On Popstar Kids, she is the main host, so everyone’s eyes will be focused on her.

"Of course, I’m nervous because it’s my first time," says the country’s R & B princess. But if we know Kyla, she’ll pass this test with flying colors. This lady, after all is a certified champion. Kyla will be at SBMA Gym in Subic, Olongapo Dec. 11 for a concert billed Kyla Live @ Subic.
NU Rock Awards nominees
Winners of this year’s NU Rock Awards will be known on Dec. 2 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.

The nominees:

Best New Artist: Hale, Brownman Revival, Junior Kilat, Pedicab, Paramita; Song of the Year: Hallelujah by Bamboo, Chicksilog by Kamikaze, The Day You Said Goodnight by Hale, Akap by Imago, Hanggang Kailan by Orange and Lemons, Ang Ating Araw, by Dictalicense, Mang Jose by Parokya ni Edgar, Ako si M-16 by Junior Kilat, Nice Place by Juan Pablo Dream, Tulad ng Dati, by the Dawn, Humanda Ka, by Sandwich, Hari ng Sablay, by Sugarfree; Best Male Award: Bamboo Manalac of Bamboo, Champ Liupio of Hale, Yael Yuzon of Spongecola, Diego Mapa of Pedicab, Raymund Marasigan of Sandwich, Pochoy Labog of Dictalicense; Best Female Award: Kitchie Nadal, Aia de Leon of Imago, Lougee Basabas of Mojofly, Ria Bautista of Paramita, Myrene Academia of Sandwich/Imago, Wai Navaroza of The Late Isabel; Album of the Year: Apoy by Greyhoundz, Light, Peace and Love by Bamboo, Strike Whilst the Iron is Hot by Orange and Lemons, Take Two by Imago, Tugish Takish by Pedicab, Harapin by The Dawn, Party Pipol Ur on Dub TV by Junior Kilat; Band/Artist of the Year: Bamboo,Orange & Lemons, Parokya ni Edgar, Imago, Kitchie Nadal; Best Music Video: The Day You Said Goodnight by Hale as directed by Sigfrid Barros Sanchez, Same Ground by Kitchie Nadal as directed by Avid Llongoren, You’ll Be Safe Here, by Rivermaya as directed by Pedring Lopez, Hallelujah by Bamboo as directed by Topel Lee and Akap by Imago as directed by Marie Jamora.

Tickets to the 2005 NU Rock awards priced at P350 are available at Ticketnet. NU will also give away free tickets and special invites to lucky listeners.

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