After first winning the Himig Handog competition seven years ago, KZ Tandingan said she has come a long way since interpreting the song “Mahal Ko O Mahal Ako.” This year, her collaboration with songwriter Danielle Ann Balagtas with the song “Marupok” had her in top place again.
“It still feels like the first time. Hindi mo talaga puwede i-expect kasi na mananalo ka kasi iba iba yung beauty ng bawat kanta na part ng Himig 11th Edition so what I could do was to hope na magawa ko ang lahat ng kailangan ko gawin at sana mag-hope na makakuha ng isang spot sa top five yung ‘Marupok.’ So nung tinawag yun as the Best Song at nanalo ng Best Music Video, pag nakita niyo yung video makikita niyo na tumatalon ako from my spot hanggang sa gitna kasi ganun ako kasaya. It just feels so good sa puso mo na na-re-recognize yung effort mo as an interpreter,” she said during the Himig 11th Edition Winners media conference last March 22.
KZ admitted that “Marupok” is also very personal to her which is what made her live performance even more meaningful.
“Sobrang special niya kasi paulit ulit ko ding sinasabi sa ibang interviews ang ‘Marupok’ is a song na pinakamalapit kung sino ako as an artist, yung kung hindi man siya naisama sa Himig Handog this year, this would still definitely be part of my album, parang ganun. Para siyang sinadyang isinulat for me. The first time I heard this song it just sounded like it was meant for me. Tapos nalaman ko pa na i-a-arrange ng aking musical director. The thought in my mind was this was going to be for a competition but we really wanted this song to stand out and be there and be relevant kahit na tapos na yung Himig Handog,” she shared.
While preparing for Himig 11th Edition, KZ said she and composer Danielle Ann Balagtas got along very well.
“Nag-collaborate kami nila Danielle and tinanong ko siya how she wanted the song to sound, how she wanted me to sing it, ganyan, ganyan. And I’m very thankful na si Danielle was very supportive. Sabi niya gawin ko daw kung ano sa tingin ko yung dapat gawin. And for an artist like me na ang daming tumatakbo sa isip, para niya akong binigyan ng freedom. Sobrang masaya ako na ganun yung nangyari at kumbaga, parang hindi namin in-expect na makakakuha ng mga ganitong awards. We just wanted to do our best and we wanted to really make ‘Marupok’ shine siyempre para mabigyan ng justice yung sinulat ni Danielle,” she said.
As one of the veteran interpreters for the annual songwriting competition, KZ said she views her participation as more than a way to further showcase her singing talent.
“Siguro mas more on I’m competing with my past performances sa Himig parang ganun, kung may competition man. Kasi hindi kasi din naman ito singing contest. So wala talaga akong pressure na. Yung pressure mas nanggagaling siya I have to give this song justice, kailangan maramdaman ng mga judges yung same energy, same puso sa track or more pagdating sa live performance. So mas yun yung inisip ko. Sabi ko, ‘Lord just make me remember everything I have to remember. Be my voice and just perform through me.’ Sabi ko if manalo man then Your will be done but I just want to do this right, I just want to perform to the best of my abilities. Yung lang yung iniisip ko. This is not my competition. This is Danielle’s competition and I am there to support her,” she added.