KZ and Moira: Locked down with love

Imagine being deprived of the very core of your spirit — denied for months on end — and finally being able to unleash that passion to an equally eager and hungry public.

But as in any die-hard passion, no length of time hindered two of the country’s most-prized, globally recognized singers — KZ Tandingan and Moira de la Torre — from giving it their all when they finally had the chance to perform before a live audience for the first time in many months.

Thanks to SM Development Corporation (SMDC), both magical moments happened via another Good Guys campaign initiative to delight its residents with a first-of-its kind pop-up concert in select properties.

Early this year, and as a Valentine treat to residents, SMDC presented KZ Tandingan and Moira de la Torre at Jazz Residences’ spacious poolside areas (the building has two) of the Makati City property.

Being a better person

“I didn’t know how the audience would react. Plus I almost forgot what it was like to perform with a mic before an open-air stage. But then I saw people coming out from their balcony, waving at me and my band, calling out my name and singing ‘Labo’ aloud with me — it felt very good!” an electrified KZ Tandingan told Daily Tribune shortly after her performance.

The 28-year-old singer and rapper said it had been 11 months since she went onstage. When the pandemic was declared, she worked from home instead and recorded songs with her band via Zoom for her online concert appearances.

And in October last year, the X-Factor Philippines 2012 grand champion surprised her fans when she and her long-time beau TJ Monterde, 30, announced through their music video, “Can’t Wait to Say I Do,” that they were now married.

“Being married was the best thing that happened to us even if we tied the knot during the pandemic,” KZ revealed. “TJ pushed me to write songs — something that I always said I didn’t have time to do. But now I have a lot of time! I told myself, ‘KZ, you can’t have that excuse anymore.’ And so I did, I was able to write eight songs in 11 months. That’s a big thing for me especially since TJ and I promised each other that our goal during this pandemic is to evolve as better persons and as better artists.”

The path to honing one’s skills and keeping one’s creativity alive wasn’t always easy, KZ shared. “Some days you really don’t know what will happen. But just keep fighting and going on. Always just find something that you can be grateful for. It was easy to be negative in 2020, but it helped that I found something to be thankful for even in the smallest things like the breeze when it blows your hair.”

The powerful belter’s persistence to keep improving one’s self is truly paying off this year as she has been handpicked by Disney Philippines to sing its first ever Filipino language song that will be part of the soundtrack of the movie Raya and The Last Dragon.

KZ and Moira use their music talents to uplift homebound individuals. / PHOTOGRAPHS BY FRANCINE MARQUEZ FOR THE DAILY TRIBUNE

Sweet life

Meanwhile, something happened halfway through Moira de la Torre’s live performance for her Jazz Residences’ concert. In the midst of fans calling out to her — “We love you, Moira!” — the pretty 27 year-old singer and songwriter had to pause.

The moment had just become too emotional for her.

The production team had to stop the show while they let Moira return to her holding area for the meantime.

“Sorry I got teary-eyed,” Moira told Daily Tribune backstage. “To be able to see people from where they are, to hear their voices and not just see them in galleries on Zoom screens. To just see them and hear them, sobrang overwheliming. As an artist, having a live audience is a big thing. I consider my fans as my friends. I didn’t realize today’s live performance would have on me. Nagulat ako.

I wasn’t mentally prepared.”

Moira was in the US for a concert tour when the lockdown in the Philippines was declared in March. Good thing, her family lived there so that’s where she spent five months with her husband of two years, Jason Marvin Hernandez.

“When I got married to Jason, that was the time my career was also achieving some breakthroughs. We were very busy and barely had time to stay at home. But our time in the US really allowed us to enjoy being a married couple. I finally experienced being a housewife. I learned how to cook and bake. I learned that Jason was very good at doing the laundry!”

Moira happily confessed that she learned how to bake and has actually expanded her repertoire of the classic chocolate chip cookie to create delightful versions like Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies, Dark Chocoloate Chip Cookie with Sea Salt and Chocolate Chip Cookie with Macadamia, to name a few. Moira lets out a laugh when she says has yet to post her baked creations on Instagram.

Of course, she also made sweet music in between her domestic bliss, creating her Paubaya album that is scheduled to be released at the end of the year. Moira and Jason returned to the Philippines in August.

Back in her crazy-busy daily grind, Moira just finished a collaboration with Danish Singer Maximillian and is set to have more international collaborations this year.

Meanwhile, Moira said she continues to be thankful to her fans who stayed during her “lockdown break” in the US. Her message: “I want to say that I’m proud of them for being able to surive 2020. Covid-19 is really terrible. But a lot of people didn’t survive mentally, too.

“Maraming hindi kinaya yung struggles and challenges brought by the pandemic. And you can’t realy blame them. The fear and anxiety continues to be very high. But I want to tell the people that I’m grateful they’re here. That I am proud of them for staying strong and positive. And that I hope to see them very soon.”

Free concerts

At the start of the pandemic, the real estate giant thought of reaching out to its residents to ensure that its residents and employees’ well-being are taken care of. The Good Guys campaign has been SMDC’s very prolific platform for keeping its community members safe and well. Earlier, its activities have included holding webinars on health and entrepreneurship; linking farmers to sell their fresh produce to residents via weekend markets held in various properties; and encouraging residents to bring out their enterprising spirit as well through the Good Guys weekend markets.

This much-needed do-good effort by SMDC couldn’t escape being noticed by the business sector as it has also received awards for its campaign at two prestigious award-giving bodies: the Property Guru Awards and Quill Awards.

In late November, Shell residents were in awe when they saw a live performance — and for free!

— by the property’s poolside. In Mandaluyong City, at Light Residences, people enjoyed a live performance by Sponge Cola from their condominium balconies.

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