American by blood Pinoy by heart. Ipinamalas ng American singer na si Sahara ang kaniyang love and support for original Pilipino music in her newest single “Kabiyak”.
“Kabiyak” was written and composed by talented OPM songwriter Freddie Saturno.
Sa isang PUSH interview, ibinahagi ng American singer ang story behind how she got the chance to sing original Filipino music.
“Well, my single ‘Kabiyak’ is basically in Tagalog. It means better half, and I feel that this song really represents who I am and what I am as an artist and as a person and as a woman. I really believe in true love and having my husband, my partner. My life partner basically being my other half of me and I would say that this is all thanks to Freddie Saturno,” bungad ng American singer.
Patuloy ng American singer: “He wrote the song about his neighbor who unfortunately [lost his wife]. They were together for 60 years and the neighbor’s wife passed away and went to Freddie and told him. About, you know, how sad he feels, how alone, how empty he feels about not having his better half. And then Freddie went home immediately and wrote the song, and I was in search for a song and Freddie just offered me the song. He said, ‘Would you like to sing this?’ And I said, ‘Yes, please, I love it.’ And that was basically history.”
Dito, ibinahagi rin ng American singer kung paano siya na-in love sa Filipino music at kung sinong Pinoy singers iniidolo at pinapakinggan niya.
“I discovered OPM. Like 'cause. I love all different kinds of music. I love, you know, different languages and backgrounds and stuff... It's all about just the feelings and emotions. And about middle school, I was introduced to OPM music, and I don't remember who exactly it was. But I would have to say it's the great Regine Velasquez that I was introduced [to] first and then years later I rediscovered OPM through a vlog because I was becoming a fan of the Philippines and I was like, wow, I want to be a tourist. I want to come to your country.”
Bukod kay Asia’s Songbird Regine, isa rin sa mga mga iniidolo ni Sahara ang soul diva na si Jaya na inspirasyon rin niya sa kaniyang pag-awit ng Filipino music.
“I actually remember, I was looking at a video and there was a song that was basically blaring out from one of the bars and it was a Jaya’s ‘Dahil Ba Sa Kanya’ and I was just enthralled, and I grabbed my phone and I hit shazam and [went] down the rabbit hole of basically falling in love with the song and not understanding a word a lick. I had no idea what she was saying, but I was feeling some sort of way and I was really happy and really excited when I became more and more into it. And I had a Tagalog coach and she taught me how to sing in Tagalog properly and I had other people who helped me. So basically, it's been a really good journey. But yeah, it got me here, so feel very blessed.”
One of Sahara’s biggest challenges is learning the language by heart.
“In the beginning it can be very hard because I am slowly but surely learning how to speak in Tagalog. But basically, I have a really good friend and good co-producer. His name is Dennis Keller and he really helps me understand. I do have times where I'm tripping on words and especially things with like NG’s I'm like, how do you say that? Like, I don't know. And he's really, you know, takes it easy on me and we talk about the meaning behind it, how to speak it, how to say it, and then of course how to sing it because singing and speaking or just two different animals and yeah. And basically, he describes like what's the meaning behind the song and then we just kind of go from there. So it's all just a lot of repetition, lot of practice and patience. So it's a process.”
Aside from loving Filipino music, Sahara also started to explore Filipino culture. She plans to visit the Philippines someday.
“I hope to God, yes. I really wish and pray every day that. I do believe that I will be there, you know, in the future. I do see myself having a future in the Philippines and especially going to Manila and going across your beautiful country. I would just love the opportunity. Yeah, I'm crossing my fingers.”
“Kabiyak” is now out now in Spotify, Apple Music, and different music streaming platforms.