Singer and rapper KZ Tandinagn made history Tuesday afternoon when Disney Studios Philippines named her as their choice to sing what is to become the very first Filipino language Disney song.
Titled “Gabay,” the song is a track from the upcoming animated film “Raya and the Last Dragon,” which in turn is inspired by the Southeast Asian culture.
Disney PH made the announcement via Twitter, posting Tandingan’s official poster with the caption, “Asia’s Soul Supreme KZ Tandingan will be lending her remarkable voice to an all-new song titled ‘Gabay’ from Disney’s ‘Raya and the Last Dragon.’ This first-ever Filipino language (track) will be coming your way very soon. Abangan! #DisneyRayaPH,” read the company’s official tweet a photo of Tandingan’s official poster.
Meanwhile, in separate media statement, Studio Marketing Head Allie Benedicto said, “Gabay, the first-ever Disney track sung in Filipino, demonstrates our commitment to work with local creative talents to tell our stories in a locally relevant manner.”
The 28-year-old singer responded she is both proud and happy to be part of this historic development.
“I grew up watching Disney movies. Finally, there is a Disney Princess who I can feel a very strong connection to, and that is Raya as the first one inspired by Southeast Asia,” Tandingan added.
Sharing that Gabay is a song about trust, strength and unity, the OPM artist also expressed, “I love that the song reminds us that [even if] sometimes we feel we are weak, especially when we are alone… if we just learn to trust each other, to come together and to unite, only then [will we be] able to change the world.”
It is worthwhile to note that this Disney project is not the first time for Tandingan to raise the Philippine flag with her talent. As grand champion of “X Factor Philippines” in 2012, she was eager to join the China-based “Singer 2018” contest which pitted her against other professional singers from around the world.
Tandingan famously performed a Filipino and Mandarin rendition of Freddie Aguilar’s globally acclaimed anthem “Anak” which landed her a seventh-place finish. Following her elimination, she was invited to return as guest singer for a performance with the show’s ensuing winner, British pop star Jessie J.
Finally, Gabay is due for release on March 5 to coincide with the Disney+ premiere of Raya and the Last Dragon in the US. According to producers, a Philippine cinema release is set to follow soon.
Walt Disney Animation’s Raya and the Last Dragon comes from the same creators of “Moana and “Frozen.” Set in the fantasy world of Kumandra–where humans and dragons lived together in harmony long ago–the story finds Raya (voiced by Kelly Marie Tran) on a mission to track down the last legendary dragon, Sisu (voiced by Awkwafina) in order to restore the fractured land and unite its divided people.