KZ Tandingan is ‘fit for global stardom,’ drops first international single

Charmie Joy Pagulong - The Philippine Star
KZ  Tandingan is �fit for global stardom,� drops first international single
‘It is the realization of a vision. After my X Factor Philippines 2012 stint, the dream was always to go international. The dream was always to represent the country on the world stage of music. Now, after nine years, I get to release 11:59, my first international single. It’s the realization of a dream. It’s something that I’m gonna remember for the rest of my life.’
STAR / File

Nine years after KZ Tandingan made an impression as a promising artist in The X Factor Philippines, she finally released her first international single titled 11:59 under Tarsier Records, produced by Grammy-nominated Luigie “Lugo” Gonzales, Paulino Lorenzo, and Idrise Ward-El. The song is the “realization of a dream” for KZ.

“After my X Factor Philippines 2012 stint, the dream was always to go international,” she said during an online media conference. “The dream was always to represent the country in the world stage of music.” KZ won the grand prize of the reality singing competition.

“It’s the realization of a dream. It’s something that I’m gonna remember for the rest of my life,” she added.

The “hard-hitting soul track” 11:59 “takes us through a journey of lovers trying to figure out what the next move is in their relationship, where one is seeking answers from the other.”

It took two years to launch the song, along with the music video, due to pandemic restrictions, revealed KZ. The track is the “culmination of everything we’ve done for the past two years,” she added.

Why the 11:59 title? “Ngayon pa lang po, I don’t have the answer,” KZ quipped.

Moreover, the 29-year-old singer shared that Lugo’s team already tapped many artists but it was her who was given the go-signal to record the final version. She earned the praise of the American producer as well.

“It’s amazing, it’s legendary. From the moment she opened her mouth in the studio, me and my co-producer, we were like completely astonished. We were like ‘Oh my God, where is this voice coming from?’ Her performance was amazing and I’m very proud of it,” said Lugo.

He continued, “KZ is an artist with an amazing future, she’s got a very, very bright future. She’s amazing as a vocalist, she’s got a great image and at the same time, she’s super humble. That’s something that in this industry can take you very, very far, especially in today’s industry. Somebody that talented and that humble, it’s something that you don’t really find all the time. So I think she’s going to do very well. I sincerely hope she goes international in every aspect because she’s definitely working hard for it.”

“Some of the other artists had already performed the song and they all had their styles and they did amazing things with the song as well. But KZ was able to capture the original idea, the sentiment of the song, of why the song was written and what the song is about,” asserted Lugo.

That’s why KZ felt the pressure and made sure she came very prepared during the recording. “I just wanted to be ready, na alam nila na ‘She did the work.’ Sobra akong kinakabahan kasi it’s a new environment, new people, i-add mo pa na I was working with a Grammy-nominated producer so I didn’t wanna disappoint him.”

She recalled, “Nandun ‘yung kaba, yung pressure ko sa sarili na nilagay ko. But when I got there, Lugo, they were super fun to work with. As in sobrang chill lang nilang ka-trabaho that it helped me (feel) relaxed. Mas nag-flow ‘yung mga ideas namin. Naging magaan siya. I think that’s probably one of my most favorite sessions sa buong buhay ko. I can’t believe it.”

The Asia’s Soul Supreme KZ also gracefully received compliments from ABS-CBN Music creative director Jonathan Manalo. “Ever since we’ve seen (her), dun pa lang sa (talent) show, nakita natin ‘yung debut performance niya and then she released hit after hit. The moment that we saw her talent, the goal talaga is international. That has always been the vision for KZ. This kind of talent should be able to cross over the world. And fit talaga siya for global superstardom.”

“This track will carry on that vision, step by step, for our dream to really make it big internationally. And she has proven her talent and she has wowed audiences around the world,” he added.

MYX Global VJ and host Samm Alvero agreed KZ is “destined for global stardom.”

KZ believes this is the right time to shine through as an international star and this pandemic has taught her that. “The pandemic made me realize that tomorrow is never promised. So if I can release the song today, I will. Because yung mga pangarap mo sa buhay, if you don’t do something about it, they will stay as dreams. Walang mangyayari.”

She extended her gratitude to Tarsier and ABS-CBN Music family management for the support and made sure the song was released despite the challenges and restrictions of the pandemic.

She promised to drop more tracks and will go on tour once the pandemic will be over.

KZ, known for her “edgy and authentic sound and style,” hit the international scene when she joined China’s singing competition Singer 2018. Her performance went viral in the said talent competition, where English singer-songwriter Jessie J was declared the winner.

In 2019, she made history as the first Filipino to perform a sold-out concert in Dubai World Trade Center Arena.

Early this year, the Kapamilya singer sang the first full Filipino Disney song Gabay for the film Raya the Last Dragon and dropped the wedding EP Simula together with her husband and fellow Filipino artist TJ Monterde.

She also interpreted the song Marupok, which emerged as Best Song in the Himig 11th Edition.

11:59 is now out on music streaming platforms worldwide and the music video on Tarsier Records’ YouTube channel.

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