From A to Zia

By Ida Anita Q. del Mundo (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 14, 2013 – 12:00am


MANILA, Philippines – Born into a family of showbiz royalty, the performing genes have surely been passed on to Zia Quizon, but, Zia shares, growing up exposed to showbiz has always made her shy away from the limelight – until now. The singer-songwriter is steadily gaining popularity for her unique voice and honest lyrics, making her one of the year’s hottest singers.

“I guess I’ve always wanted to be involved in music. It’s been part of my life, part of our household,” says Zia. “But I always thought I would be a songwriter, or something out of the spotlight,” she adds.

The daughter of diva ZsaZsa Padilla and the late comedy king Dolphy, Zia grew up with an understanding that the spotlight was for her parents and older half-siblings.

“We live in a country with a lot of dynasties, and I guess like any other family dynasty, there’s a lot of pressure. I just try to take all of it in stride,” she says, adding that it is always important for her to make sure her individuality shines through.

“Personality-wise, it’s half-half,” she says on which parent she takes after. “I spent a lot of time with both of them when I was a kid. I was lucky enough that my dad was already at an age when he was at home a lot, just chilling around the house.”

Zia adds, “I absorbed a lot of their personalities, especially when we had some hard times, it drew us even closer together.”

Though Dolphy is the comedian in the family and ZsaZsa the singer, Zia says she gets her music style from her father. “My dad influenced my taste in music. When I was a kid he would always have his music playing at home, so I grew up listening to old music, lots of soul and world music. I was lucky enough to be exposed to different kinds of music as a kid.”

It was on Dolphy’s album, in fact, that Zia got her first taste of the recording industry, singing “You’re Just in Love” with him. She also guested a few times on ASAP and did a UNICEF campaign with sister Karylle and fellow second generation stars, Gab and Paolo Valenciano, sons of the legendary Gary V.

From there, she became a regular on ASAP Acoustic Republic and was offered a record deal.

“There’s not much premeditation to my sound,” says Zia, whose cool and soulful tone has been compared to the likes of Norah Jones.

“I just sing what I like. I like R’n’B and soul,” she says. “I like hip-hop and rap, too, hindi lang bagay sa akin.”

Zia adds, “I want to show people that you don’t have to be pigeonholed to one style – you can expand and grow musically.”

Drawn to the work that goes on behind the scenes, Zia says, “I’ve always really respected artists that are involved in their music in more ways than just singing – people who are also songwriters or fashion designers or activists, people who take the opportunity they’re given and try to improve the industry.”

In the same way, Zia likes to be involved in all aspects of her music. “I get inspiration from how I see life, if there’s an image or a feeling that I want to express to another person,” she says of her songwriting.

Most recently, she wrote, composed, and recorded a song for Avon’s Sweet Honesty moments. The concept was all about the thrill of unexpected love, she says: “Romance and the little moments that come with it.”

Zia is currently working on her next album. “We’re working hard to make it even better than the first one,” she says. This may be a tough act to follow, as Zia’s first album won multiple accolades in the 25th Awit Awards, including Best Performance by a Female Recording Artist and Song of the Year for “Ako na Lang.” Zia was also named Favorite New Artist at the 2012 MYX Music Awards.

Winning at the Awit Awards is what Zia considers as her greatest achievement so far. “It was really unexpected. I didn’t think my album would do so well.”

Another personal achievement, she shares, is being able to help around the house. “It’s a small thing, but it’s an achievement for me because I’ve always been really involved in how the house runs and it’s important to me to be able to help in paying bills and helping my mom.”

When asked if she has any plans of going into acting, Zia says she’s open to it, but hesitant at the same time. “It’s not something I’ve tried my whole life to be good at, so I would be very nervous to try it. I’m very self-critical and my family is more into acting, so there would be a lot of pressure,” she explains, adding, “I spent my whole life singing.”

Behind the scenes, Zia is like any other young woman with her own dreams, driven by her passion for music. She describes herself as a dog-lover, a serial monogamist, a homebody – “I’m just a normal person!”

It just so happens that she has been given the opportunity to reach many more people through her music and it has become Zia’s goal to use her celebrity status for good – “I hope that I can start helping OPM more and help bring attention to some yet unheard of, up and coming artists who are not given as much credit as they deserve,” Zia says as she comes into her own, taking on her moment in the spotlight.

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