“Zion has a distinctive and soulful voice I’d like for the world to hear,” declares veteran Filipino composer Trina Belamide of newcomer Zion Aquino. Her support for him is evident and undoubtable. Aside from being his manager, she is also his mentor and record producer. They are set to release Zion’s 10-song debut album in a couple of months, all tracks written and produced by Ms. Belamide.
The album is what she calls a “Passion Project” to celebrate her 25th year in the songwriting business. She hopes that it will showcase her versatility and skill as a songwriter while highlighting Zion’s stirring vocals. “He has a voice that lends itself well to a wide range of genres, from pop to soul to gospel and even old standards,” Trina details.
She is not the first to notice Zion’stalent. Back in 2005 he won Star World’s Filipino-American Idol contest, mounted to promote American Idol’s Season Finale. In 2007 he won MTV’s Next Big Thing (Search for the Next RnB Superstar). He also won Advertising Idol in 2012 when he was working full time for an ad agency.
Last year, Zion’s first single “Ever My Only Love,” also written and produced by Belamide, got good air time on MYX and MTV, and climbed to No.6 on Home Radio 979 FM’s Countdown,which was no small feat considering Zion’s being an independent artist with no major label backing. “We got feedback from people saying they thought they were listening to a foreign artist and were floored upon finding out it was an OPM single,” Zion happily remarks. “Nakakataba ng puso and nakaka-kilig when people tell you ‘tunog imported’ because I know they mean it as a huge compliment.”
Zion also released a duet with his friend Yeng Constantino, a song he himself wrote called “Liwanag” as a fund-raiser for 2 kids battling cancer. This is an advocacy close to his heart because Zion himself is a Stage 3 cancer survivor. He says this is his main inspiration and reason for going back to music. It is his hope to inspire and give back through music.
His current singleis another song by Ms. Belamide called “Give You My Heart And Soul.” Like his first single, this is also a positive love song that could very well be on any wedding playlist. It’s a feel-good song with an acoustic vibe. “I would be more than happy to sing these songs at anyone’s wedding,” Zion quips. Now that he is back to doing music full time, he and his band can be booked for special events.