17 female singers from 5 countries unite for charity to boost sagging spirits
In this time of social distancing—where physical interaction with other people has been reduced to a wave, a nod or a smile behind a mask—the new inspirational single “Heal” aims to be a “virtual hug” to soothe frayed nerves and weary souls.
“When you’re going through something, one of the things you always want from people around you is a hug that will comfort you. But that’s something we can’t really have right now,” said KZ Tandingan, one of the 17 female Southeast Asian music acts who lent their voice to the project.
Written and produced by ABS-CBN Music creative director Jonathan Manalo, together with Moophs and Xela, “Heal” is an empowering midtempo anthem that “conveys love” and calls for “unity.”
“This song simply means being there for someone. It’s meant to uplift the spirits of those who need some comfort, because this pandemic affects different aspects of our lives,” KZ said in a virtual conference. “Some people have the money, but no family to spend the quarantine with. Some are with their families, but no longer have their jobs.”
“I’m so happy to be part of a project that encourages people to be hopeful; that tomorrow is going to be better,” the soul-R&B singer added.
Also in the track are fellow Filipinos, Moira dela Torre, Kyla, Jona, Lesha, Xela and Jayda Avanzado; Indonesian singers Yura Yunita and Rinni Wulandari; Malaysian artists Shalma Eliana and quartet Dolla; Thai singer-songwriter Valentina Ploy; as well as Singapore’s Haneri and Haven.
This collaboration is also part of the #StreamToDonate project, which will have the participating artists donating their fees and royalties to ABS-CBN’s “Pantawid ng Pag-Ibig” fundraising campaign, which helps Filipinos who have lost their sources of livelihood to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jona, on the other hand, hopes that the song could inspire people to turn to God “amid the difficulties and problems we’re facing.”
“His love is the most powerful gift we can freely receive for ourselves—and then give to others—to overcome these adversities. I hope the song brings a sense of unity and comfort to our troubled hearts, and inspire people to go on with their lives, even if it’s hard,” said the pop singer, who reined in her vocal power and veered away from her usual belting style in favor of softer tones.
“I just let the feeling of positivity and hope flow through my singing,” she said.
The song resonated with Moira on a personal level because one of her most important realizations the past couple of months is that it’s impossible to pour from an empty cup.
“I can better serve others when I take care of myself … When I’m healthy myself, I’m able to maximize the territory with which I can inspire from,” the folk-pop singer-songwriter said, adding that “Heal” can take on different meanings for different people—it can be about personal healing, or the country’s and the world’s healing.”“There are a lot of things that are so hard to think about. There are so many things we can’t wrap our heads around. But I love the fact that this song allows us to create more ways to spread that hope,” Moira added.
The fact that the song features fellow female artists from Southeast Asia makes the project all the more meaningful and special, Jayda added.
“Girl power” was the first thought that came to her mind when the project was presented to her. And before long, she was searching and listening to the music of her sisters from Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia.
“The song is this melting pot of artists with different things to offer. I looked them up and listened to their music, and each one has her own sense of individuality, which I respect and appreciate. Seeing these powerful and talented women thriving in this industry is just amazing,” the young singer said.
“I feel so honored and I’m really happy to be part of it,” she added. “The project helping charity is the icing on top.”
While the women have yet to meet each other personally and worked on the track remotely, they believe that the result suggests otherwise. “It sounds like we have known each other for a long time. The connection is something you can feel,” KZ said.
Female musicians from different Southeast Asian countries banding together to help spread light makes “Heal” one of Moira’s most favorite and important collaborations yet.
“We would like to remind you that you’re stronger and braver than you think, and more capable of being in this platform than you know,” she stressed. “Shine your light wherever you’re put in and become a vessel of hope.”
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