Norodin, Online English teacher at Acadsoc.
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KZ Tandingan, she is one of the heatest topics in the Philippines at the moment and I accidentally heard her name in a previous blog when she first attended Chinese TV show called Singer. After watching her performance, well, I have to say, I was captured by her, lol.
‘Filipino made spotlight world stage’…’Sa akin ay sumabay (Sing with me)’…Those are lyrics in the interlude of 2006 Disney·Pixar film Cars, Real Gone. Can you imagine? How can a cartoon and a US-based story be related to the Philippines? Yes, KZ Tandingan told me, there is nothing impossible in her music. Her performance in the latest episode of Chinese music show, Singer, impressed me a lot.
I regard myself as a musician. I play the guitar, compose, fill in the lyrics and sing my songs in my spare time. Among my colleagues, among the community of online English teachers, I become a bit different when others hear I am a guitar player of a band concurrently when teaching English online. It was my dream, my dream back in my school days, to make my name in Grammy one day. Even I had to face the truth once graduated and get myself a job to feed my family, I don’t want to give up my dream. However, after seeing KZ’s show, I realized maybe my dream of being a well-known musician should come true in a different direction.
I never doubt if there is a border for music, but I strongly doubt there is a border for musicians. Many people consider the Philippines as a forgotten land, not just to satirize her poor performance in economic, but showing a sense of inferiority in culture. I am so proud and glad that many Filipinos are good singers and dancers, with magnificent creativity, seemingly with a talent to perform themselves on a stage publicly. However, ironically, what I see in their playlists are almost 100% from other countries, especially from the West. And most of the songs I wrote, composed or sang before are in English or adapted from native English singers. I didn’t feel anything wrong, till I saw KZ’s performance in China, facing millions of Chinese audiences at the show or sitting in front of a TV.
I could not stop applauding and yell after hearing her rap, at the end of the song, in Tagalog. And she has achieved what she promised in the first sentence, to make Filipino the star on the world stage. Via music, not words, she claimed her deepest love for her motherland, her people and her culture. Confidently, full of will to fight and defy standards, she bravely sings out the voice of Filipino to the world, our language, our passion and our spirits with born.
As a musician, she proves herself to be the best 2018 in the Philippines. She organically combines soul, blues, rock, popular…many types of music together to make KZ’s style. She can burn like a flame or be exquisite and smooth with deep feeling. Her creativity, to subvert, to put her own staff in others’ work impressed Chinese critics and audiences. And she insisted her style and bravery to try new things after praise and doubts. Even Chinese and Filipino audiences would love to compare her with Jessie J or Hua Chenyu in the show, Singer, KZ never stopped her steps and kept bringing amazing music to the world, no matter in English, Chinese or Tagalog.
My Chinese students told me they really enjoyed KZ’s performance and wanted to be on the spot, to feel her power and contagious magic closely. However, they also told me not every Chinese enjoyed her style, while some criticized her makeup, her rap and questioning if she was trying to show off her skills or overexert on the show. I believe KZ already has her answer in mind, leading her to where she is today, to stand for Filipino singers internationally. A good musician will never shrink back towards negative comments and critics. Like online English teachers, we are not able to please everyone, to please every student, but we can try our best to improve ourselves, not to fail our fans and admirers.
If you are curious, interested in finding out why I love her music that much, feel free to listen to her songs here: