Passion, Fashion, and More: KZ Tandingan on Embracing Her Artistry
Mar 7, 2019
Last January, versatile artist KZ Tandingan walked the 4th Wish Music Awards carpet rocking yellow-and-green hair and an animal print ensemble. Fast forward to the Digital Press Conference for the “Supreme: KZ Tandingan” concert held last Monday, March 4, the artist sported cotton candy pink hair partnered with a yellow-green bomber jacket. Definitely head-turning numbers, both are beyond-average looks that only a beyond-average girl can pull off.
The proud Davaoeña is indeed a delightful sight in any musical event. Apart from her powerhouse vocals, she’s known to carry her unique sense of style with effortless swag. After all, she is a firm believer that what you wear should reflect who you are.
“It’s better if your visuals can support your sound as an artist,” she shared during the press conference for her upcoming Dubai show.
The X-Factor Philippines champ was on board the newly launched second Wish Bus together with hosts, DJs Alice and Adam, and her bandmates whom she fondly calls “Team Supreme.”
Connected via the Internet, an eager bunch of press people based in Dubai threw an all-encompassing set of questions to help get to know the fascinating performer better — from her musical craft to her fashion sense to how love has helped uncover a different side of her being an artist.
In Pursuit of Passion
Before becoming the first Pinoy act who will hold a show at the 8,500-seater Dubai World Trade Centre Arena, Tandingan has had her fair share of rises and falls.
In a previous interview, she told Wish 107.5 that she suffered from a throat problem when she was in third year high school, making it difficult for her to hit high notes. And during the recently held press conference, she recounted how in her attempts to join reality shows, she failed to even pass the pre-audition stage.
“I auditioned for almost all reality shows, even those that are not about singing; I never got in. There was a time when my Daddy bought a guitar for me for my auditions for Pilipinas Got Talent, but even then, I was not accepted.”
“That was the time when I told myself to just focus on my studies. Perhaps music isn’t something I can actually pursue because based on all the results of my auditions — I’m not good enough.”
Thanks to her father’s words of encouragement, she braved to try one more time and auditioned for X-Factor Philippines. In a span of nearly seven years since her breakthrough win at the competition, she became a living proof to the oft-heard mantra of never giving up.
“If you have that dream in you and you’re really passionate about what you do — even if it’s not about music — if it feels right in your heart and it makes you happy, then don’t give up pursuing that dream.”
Learning How to Compromise
For Tandingan, it’s always a pleasure to entertain people. However, the fulfillment that performing gives her doesn’t come without a price.
“I miss how simple my life was,” narrating rather candidly how before, she can just go out of her house and buy something from the nearby store even with unkempt hair.
Now based in Manila, the songstress was also open in saying how she misses her family who is in Davao. At times when homesickness strikes, she admits to listening to “Wag Ka Nang Umiyak” as a refuge of sorts.
“Personally, when I miss my family, I listen to this song. It reminds me that I’m actually doing this for them,” she remarked, shifting the mood from light-hearted to a more poignant one.
She further dedicated the Sugarfree classic (which she recorded as a ballad revival) to the Overseas Filipino Workers who, like her, know too well what sacrifice really means. “This is a perfect song for them because it talks about someone who will always be there for you, someone who will understand your hardships.”
Revealing that this track will be part of her concert setlist, she said that it is an honor for her to perform before a crowd of OFWs and make them feel like they are home even for just two hours.
Beyond The Comfort Zone
Of course, talks about her love life were an expected part of the press conference. And the talented lass is pretty much vocal how her beau, fellow artist TJ Monterde, has positively affected her musicality.
According to her, it was through Monterde that she was able to record songs atypical to her usual edgy, emotive repertoire.
“I get to sing songs that people won’t usually hear me sing, like ‘Ikaw At Ako Pa Rin.’ This is not the type of song I would write or sing or include in my album, but through him I discovered a side of me — as a woman and as a musician — that I didn’t know existed.”
The singing heartthrob, together with the country’s R&B King Jay R, will be Tandingan’s special guests in her Dubai concert.
Going forward, the songstress further emphasized how important it is to go out of your comfort zone as an artist. “Don’t stay within it; go out, because that’s where the magic happens.”
Citing her well-followed stint on the Chinese singing reality show “Singer 2018,” she narrated how she was challenged to study and perform a Mandarin song within just two weeks.
“The four months I spent there significantly helped me grow…Now, I’ve become braver and more confident with my sound. I’ve learned that I should believe in myself more than what people have to say. After all, it’s me who sings and tells the story.”
On Being Asia’s Soul Supreme
If there’s one word to describe Tandingan’s talent, nothing would be more apt than the word “supreme.” True enough, seven years after she was launched into the music industry and several milestones since — she has rightfully earned the title “Asia’s Soul Supreme.”
“At first, I really felt pressured. But more than being the cause of pressure and being a burden, I chose to see it as an honor instead as not all people are given this kind of title.”
“I and my Team Supreme use it as a force to strive harder, work harder, and not slack off when it comes to our music. In our team, mediocrity is a no-no. We always give our best no matter what.”
Asked what’s the secret to her all-out performances whenever she’s on stage, the OPM versatile noted that it’s actually about “getting lost in the song.” While pointing out that proper preparations are needed, it’s more on surrendering yourself to that moment of breathing life to a particular musical narrative once you hit the stage. Plus, there’s this trust you need to put on the fellow musicians you share the spotlight with — from the singers to the band members.
Before closing out last Monday’s conference, a member of the press asked about the hair color she will be donning. Though she said it is one of the things they should watch out for, the supremely beyond-average artist guaranteed one thing: “We’ll make sure [the concert] will be worth it.”
Catch KZ Tandingan in her first-ever solo concert outside the country. “Supreme: KZ Tandingan” takes place on March 22, 2019, 7:30 p.m. GST, at the Dubai World Trade Centre Arena.
The Supreme: KZ Tandingan Live in Dubai is presented by La Verdad EventsManagement and Wish 107.5 , co-presented by NOON.com . Supreme’s official airline partner is the Philippine Airlines and its official bar partner Datu Club. Supreme is presented in part by Airlink International UAE, Kabayan Cargo of Airlink, Uling at Parilya, Carinderia ni Tandang Sora, Cancios Restaurant, Ahlan Services, Magic Star Karaoke, Bulwagang Filipino Restaurant, Zabeel Printing Press and Royal Regis Travel and Tours. We would also like to thank our Media Partners UNTV News and Rescue, Expat Media, Pinas Music Zone,Tatak Pinoy Loud and Proud and The Filipino Times. Special thanks to Hair Designer and Makeup by Mau Piodena, The Style Curators Dubai, Dublog, Proud Pinoy Media, SIklab Pinoy and I am Najaa TV.