Time indeed flies when we remember the hopeful Zephanie Dimaranan, only 16 years old back then, who won the singing competition Idol Philippines in 2019.
Five years later, the young singer-turned-actress continues to let her powerful voice be heard while also venturing out into the world of acting.
Zephanie’s emotional rendition of “Kung Ang Puso,” originally written and performed by the band Unit 408, is the official soundtrack of GMA Network’s drama series Lovers & Liars. After weeks of fans begging Zephanie to release the full version of the soundtrack, she finally fulfilled their “wish.”
Originally a rock version, Zephanie’s approach to the song is on the ballad side, adding her signature “Zephanie style.”
Describing that the song was charged with overwhelming emotions, Zephanie said it was challenging at first to deliver a dramatic take with the first verse already being emotional and heavy.
“Aside doon sa medyo masakit yung kanta, mabigat siya kasi it’s about one-sided love—trying your best, giving your all for love pero hindi naibabalik sayo,” Zephanie told SoundStrip in an online interview about the meaning of “Kung Ang Puso.” [Aside from the song being painful, it’s heavy because it’s about one-sided love—trying your best, giving your all for love but it’s not being reciprocated.]
Since “Kung Ang Puso” is a cover song, Zephanie said there’s already a lyric and structure in it.
“So kapag kakantahin ko siya, I have to make sure na at least there’s one part of the song na nagawan ko ng sariling style,” she noted. [So when I sing it, I have to make sure that at least there’s one part of the song that I made my own style.]
She went on: “I think this is the first time I’m going to describe what the ‘Zephanie style’ is. It’s more of the like the techniques that I do for the songs or the adlibs that make it my own.”
Whenever she was given a song to give her own take, she said that there had to be parts where people could say, “Ay! Si Zephanie to,” when they heard it.
Comparing the previous soundtracks she did to “Kung Ang Puso,” Zephanie said, “Mas matured version of me dahil yung voice ko rin nagbago na. People noticed na yung boses ko naging rounder na, lumaki na.” [It’s a mature version of me because my voice changed as well. People noticed that my voice got rounder, it got bigger.]
Wish come true
Last year, Zephanie was tapped by Disney to sing “Aking Hiling,” the Tagalog version of “This Wish” from the animated feature film Wish from Walt Disney Animation Studios.
“It’s a dream come true,” Zephanie expressed, “Since I was a kid, part talaga ng childhood ko yung mga Disney movies and isa din yun sa mga nag-motivate sa akin, nag-develop ng hope for my dreams.” [Disney movies were a part of my childhood and it’s one of my motivations who developed the hope for my dreams.]
Finding each story from the movies very inspiring, Zephanie recalled that as a child, it made her hopeful whenever she would watch a Disney movie.
“It felt like I was in a movie nung nalaman ko po na [when I found out that] I will be singing the localized version of ‘This Wish’ which is ‘Aking Hiling,'” she said.
The song being localized, Zephanie felt she delivered the message of the song effectively by using the Filipino language.
“Nakaka-proud din po na nakanta ko siya sa language natin and maging isa sa mga Filipino na naging part ng mga kumanta ng Disney songs,” she added. [I feel proud that I sang it in our own language and to be a part of the Filipinos who sang Disney songs.]
Zephanie said that she’s grateful for that blessing as one of her big achievements last year and she hopes that it will open more doors for more opportunities in the future. And it did.
The singer also ventured into the world of acting. Zephanie made her acting debut in GMA Network’s drama anthology series Sparkle U where she appeared in #Frenemies.
Now, Zephanie reprises her role as Sue being a main role in Sparkle U: #SoundTrip, a romantic musical series.
Talking about acting, Zephanie revealed, “Ito yung isang bagay na hindi ko na-imagine in my life that I would do kasi mahiyain po talaga ako.” [This is the one thing that did not imagine in my life that I would do because I’m really shy.]
In the beginning, it was a challenge for her but when they started taping and saw the output in #Frenemies, she realized that she could do it after all, she said. “Kaya naman pala kahit nakakatakot.” [I did it even if it’s scary.]
On her first lead role, Zephanie said it was a surprise and promised to do better.
Rooted in music
Zephanie revealed that they are currently working on her next album and that there’s going to be something new about it since many have changed including her voice, taste in music, and styles she developed throughout the years.
“This is something na kailangan nilang abangan,” she said. [This is something that they need to look out for.]
She also hoped for a concert to happen this year.
“Syempre bilang isa pa ring singer, kahit nag-start na ko mag-acting, iba pa rin yung focus and love ko for my music. Yun yung first love ko so we’re trying our best to give the people who support me yung mga hinihintay nilang projects,” she added. [Of course, as a singer still, even if I started acting, my focus and love for music are different. It’s my first love so we’re trying our best to give the people who support me the projects they’ve been waiting for.]