KZ and fiancé TJ set to introduce ‘magic’ of Vispop regional music | Inquirer Entertainment

KZ and fiancé TJ set to introduce ‘magic’ of Vispop regional music

By: - Reporter
/ 12:20 AM July 03, 2020

TJ Monterde

Pop-R&B singer KZ Tandingan and fiancé TJ Monterde hope to introduce Bisaya pop music, or “Vispop,” to a wider audience.

“I hope we can appreciate music in our different languages, because there are so many beautiful songs out there waiting to be discovered,” TJ told the Inquirer in a recent video interview.

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Both Bisaya speakers, KZ hails from Davao while TJ is from Cagayan de Oro.

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“We have both written a number of Bisaya songs, but we haven’t gotten into working on them yet. This is one of the things I’m looking forward to after we get married,” he said. “We will be able to do more collaborations, because things will be easier once we’re living in the same house.”

“Let’s remember that pop isn’t just one sound. Take Ilocano pop, sobrang sarap pakinggan. The Ilonggos have a different approach,” TJ noted.

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Though his discography is composed mostly of Filipino songs, TJ believes that it’s his “responsibility” as a Bisaya-speaking musician to write and promote music in his native language.

“I feel like I should be releasing a Bisaya song every now and then. It’s something important to me. That’s why I insisted to have one included in my second album. It didn’t have to be a single. I just wanted the song to be there. And that made me happy,” he said.

The said song, “Kung Siya Man,” didn’t get an official release in 2016. But that didn’t stop it from getting airplay and streams in Mindanao.

“A local radio station picked up the song, and it spread like wildfire in Mindanao. The song remains one of the most requested whenever I perform in shows in Mindanao. Seeing everyone sing in our language—that made me realize the importance of putting out material in Bisaya,” he related.

“It gives me a sense of pride,” stressed the singer-songwriter, who had a career breakthrough in 2015 and 2016: His songs “Dating Tayo” and “Tulad Mo” became hits—especially on music streaming platforms—and earned him a sizable following.

Staying true to his promise, TJ recently released another Bisaya composition titled “Puhon” (PolyEast Records), which roughly translates to “someday” or “in God’s time.”

This breezy, guitar-driven midtempo jam is essentially a love song about a boy waiting for love. But the vibe and theme, TJ said, could very well provide a much-needed dose of positivity amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“With its clean guitars and marimba accent in the chorus, it somehow feels easy to listen to—the kind that you would want to hear while doing nothing, or just staring at the sky. Or if you just want to feel good,” TJ said. “That’s actually the whole idea of the arrangement, especially during these difficult times.”

“Puhon” has been streamed more than a million times on Spotify since its release in mid-May. And it’s encouraging, TJ said, to see the song being well-received even by non-Bisaya listeners.

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“I have actually been getting a lot of requests to translate it in either Filipino or English. But no matter how hard I try to translate it, the magic, I feel, still gets lost in the process,” he pointed out.

TAGS: KZ Tandingan, TJ Monterde

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