Strong fan base helps TJ’s career

Yugel Losorata - The Philippine Star
Strong fan base helps TJâs career

Singer-songwriter TJ Monterde, the boyfriend of songstress KZ Tandingan, is upbeat about his first major concert, titled ikaw At Ako, set at the Music Museum on June 17.

MANILA, Philippines - With all the talks on how difficult it is for artists to get the breaks in the current music scene, TJ Monterde, the acoustic balladeer from Mindanao who’s inadvertently getting extra mileage as boyfriend to soul singer KZ Tandingan, has a new full-length album, a mainstream record label continuously backing him up and a major concert scheduled on June 17.

Last Tuesday at Jet7 Bar in Timog, Q.C., the 27-year-old singer-songwriter happily invited everyone to join him at the Music Museum for his Ikaw At Ako concert. Apart from being his first major show, the occasion serves as the launch of his latest and third album Kahit Kunwari.

“What you’re going to hear at the concert is different from what you hear in my gigs and album tracks,” hinted TJ whose strong online fan base has helped him go further in his career.

His debut album in 2013, which spawned the hit song bearing the concert’s name, quickly established a voice embracing sad love songs through the beautifully raw accompaniment of an acoustic guitar. With a vocal harmonizer on hand and a gift for providing the right spiel in front of an audience, he delivers live performances fully formed and sentimentally engaging.

It helps to his cause that TJ is vocal about his relationship with KZ. The first single off the album, Mahika, he dedicates to her with poetic thrust. He shared, “I wrote this especially for her. When I’m with her, slow motion ang lahat. It’s magic when you’re in love.”

This nice guy from Cagayan de Oro speaks a lot about him and KZ being on the same page most of the time since they’re both musical artists. When KZ comments on a demo he’s done, he takes it as a legitimate point.

As for the title track, TJ stated that it came from a friend’s experience of dealing with forbidden love. It’s the you-and-me against the world story that he sets to a caressing melody sung with all the pain that his voice can bring out to thin air.

With PolyEast Record supporting his recording efforts, he is now releasing his third CD just a year after his sophomore album came out. The new album contains an English love song called Memories, “lushly arranged” as it is described, and an upbeat piece titled 1.2.3.

On that note, TJ, who back in 2011 first gained attention through YouTube exposure, must be really counting his blessings. He noted, ”Not everyone is given a chance to express himself though music. I never imagined na magkaka-concert ako this soon. Sobrang overwhelming.”

Young pop act Sassa Dagdag will be appearing in TJ’s concert as a special guest.

Part of TJ’s swag is his confidence and quick wit. When asked for his psyche at his current age, which is then related to the dreaded 27 Club (Musical artists who died or killed themselves at 27), he replied by saying, “I guess when you are 27, chances are you’re struggling about that feeling na hindi mo alam kung you have achieved enough or what. Parang mid-life crisis din siya but in your 20s.”

With a girlfriend as talented as KZ, and with a steady career keeping him busy and relevant, safe to say TJ would get past 27 happily singing and writing more love songs for everyone to embrace.

(Ikaw at Ako Concert is presented by Yamaha Motor Philippines and PolyEast Records with UniSilverTime, AttiGoPH, Royqueen, Steeltech and JCA. For ticket inquiries, text or call 0915-6217114 or 721-0635).

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