Pinoy talents living their K-Pop dreams

FUNFARE - Ricky Lo - The Philippine Star
Pinoy talents living their K-Pop dreams
Carlyn Ocampo and Joshuel Bautista (front row, right) with the other members of the K-Pop group Z-Stars from Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, India, Japan and Taiwan.

Hundreds of young people not only in Korea but also in other parts of Asia (and even beyond) have been nurturing dreams of becoming K-Pop stars, but only very few are chosen.

Don’t look now but two Filipino singers are now living their K-Pop dreams ­— Carlyn Ocampo and Joshuel Bautista, the former with the Z-Girls and the latter with the Z-Boys. Put together, the two groups are known as the multi-Asian Z-Stars.  

Carlyn is no stranger to Pinoy pop. A former member of long-running sing-dance group the Pop Girls, she has tucked a handful of music singles under her belt from her girl-group days and as a solo artist. 

Joshuel has been a member of the dance group G-Force. At a young age, he has gotten extensive training under Teacher Georcelle and has performed in TV shows and onstage.

Carlyn Ocampo and Joshuel Bautista

Both were handpicked by the Korean company Zenith Entertainment to represent the Philippines in what is touted as one of the most dynamic pop music projects ever.

Zenith Entertainment is not your ordinary Korean entertainment label/group. Currently, it is the banner brand that houses two of the most ambitious pop groups that ever lit up the K-Pop scene. 

Sans fanfare, since December 2018, Carlyn and Joshuel have been living in Korea, not for an R&R but to undergo training under the supervision of some of the most accomplished teachers in K-Pop. Maybe not many people know that young Korean boys and girls train several years in singing and dancing before they can qualify to be a member of a K-Pop group?

“Carlyn and Joshuel underwent the same training,” disclosed the Funfare informer, “except that they had to do all those training in under three months.”

“It’s been a humbling experience,” said Carlyn. “When I went to Korea to study, I thought I was good enough because I had my experience in the Philippines as an artist. But since my training, I realized I can still be better.”

Joshuel expressed the same sentiment, “I’m used to being on TV every week with G-Force. But when I started training in Korea, I was humbled by the whole experience.”

Z-Girls’ first song, What You Waiting For, was composed by top names in the business including DEJO (a soughtafter musician-composer-producer from Sweden), Abi F. Jones (an artist-composer from Britain) and Kanata (a popular singer and lyricist)

Aside from Carlyn and Joshuel, the other members of the Z groups are from Thailand, Vietnam, India, Korea, Japan and Taiwan.

“There are seven female artists-in-training for the Z-Girls, and the same number of males for the Z-Boys,” Carlyn explained. “We are the first batches.”

Each group is being trained to become the next Asian pop sensations not only the whole of Asia but the world.

The names of the two groups are temporary.

“Our names will eventually be picked by the fans,” said Joshuel. “It’s going to be decided through a vote-contest. Our fans will have the honor of giving us our group names.”

Last February, the Z-Girls and the Z-Boys made their debut at a 15,000-seater arena in Seoul. 

“It was a like a dream,” gushed Carlyn. “After all the hard training, it felt good to be performing in front of 15,000 pop music fans and being appreciated. And to be the Philippine representatives is just the cherry on top.” 

Z-Boys’ first title song, No Limit, was composed by Andreas Ohrn, a composer-producer-artist from Sweden who has topped music charts in Spain, Mexico, Germany, Russia and Korea (Billboard Dance Music Chart)

“It still hasn’t sunk in yet,” admitted Joshuel. “I never thought that my love for dancing would bring me to such a place. But there I was performing with my fellow members who have become our good friends. It was unforgettable.”

Each group has already released an original single on all digital platforms. The Z-Girls have the catchy, hard-pop grooves of What You Waiting For and the Z-Boys, the dance-centric Our Galaxy (No Limit).  

The Z-Stars concept is a collaboration project of several entertainment groups from Japan, Korea, Indonesia and the Philippines which is represented by Viva Communications, Inc.

The Z-Stars are set for a week-long Manila visit for promo, TV guestings, media interviews and meet-and-greets, from March 27 to April 2.

(E-mail reactions at entphilstar@yahoo.com. For more updates, photos and videos, visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on Instagram @therealrickylo.)

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