Born to Comedy King Dolphy and singer-actress Zsa Zsa Padilla, it was inevitable that Zia Quizon would end up in show biz. After barely two years in the industry, Zia is steadily making waves in the music scene via her fun and breezy first single “Ako na Lang,” which perfectly showcases her distinct vocal tone—a curious mix of Norah Jones and Up Dharma Down’s Armi Millare.
The song won for Zia three awards in the 25th Awit Awards last year: best performance by a new female recording artist, best performance by a female recording artist, and song of the year. Her self-titled album under Polyeast Records has also reached gold status (7,500 copies sold).
Though undeniably talented, Zia is the first to admit that, personality-wise, she wasn’t built to revel in the spotlight. “I’ve always been shy, even as a kid,” Zia told the Inquirer. So, if at times she comes across as uncomfortable onstage, that’s because the 21-year-old is still trying to conquer her inhibitions, one performance at a time.
Are you now used to singing in front of a big crowd?
I’m becoming more at ease with every live performance. Connecting with an audience can be learned only through experience.
Aside from shyness, is anything else holding you back?
I’m such a people-pleaser—but I’ve realized that no one will like you unless you’re true to yourself. I’ve learned to wholeheartedly accept myself; to not be afraid of just being myself.
Does your being an introvert help your music in any way?
It’s actually the reason I’m into music. I’m not talkative; I express myself through music. It’s how I release pent-up feelings. That’s probably why a lot of my songs are sad. I don’t want to keep inside negative emotions such as anger and bitterness.
You come from a music-loving family. Who has influenced you the most?
My mom has been very helpful when it comes to the professional aspect of singing. She gives me lots of helpful tips and insights about the industry. But I would say that my taste in music was heavily influenced by my dad. He loved listening to jazz standards, classical music, world music … he exposed me to a lot of genres. I listened to a lot of Sinatra, Presley, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, etc.—that made me well-rounded.
Would you consider yourself an old soul?
I guess so. I love things from the past. I bought a typewriter that I still use from time to time. Back in 2004, I wanted a record player badly, so my dad gave me one for Christmas. Listening to vinyl records is such a different experience.
You have a very unique voice. Has it always been like that?
Yes, I don’t force myself to sound this way. If I sing “Bahay Kubo,” my voice will sound the same.
Lea Salonga said in an earlier interview that the local music industry needs more artists like you.
I’m very flattered! People are starting to appreciate individuality, and that makes me hopeful for the future of local music.
Any plans for a new album?
I’m still in discussions about what my next album will be like. But I can say now that the listeners can expect more mature sounds and more original material. Winning awards put pressure on me to do better. So I want to take my time and make sure my next album is well-crafted.