MANILA — Kapamilya singer just created history when she was handpicked on Tuesday and be introduced as the voice of the first-ever Filipino-language song from Disney for its latest animation feature, the Southeast Asia-themed “Raya and the Last Dragon.”
The “Asia’s Soul Supreme,” will perform “Gabay,” studio marketing head Allie Benedicto said.
Benedicto said the group found it “fitting to lauch ‘Gabay’ as a way to celebrate the film and connect with our Filipino fans as it is “inspired by various Southeast Asian cultures.”
The first official Disney song to be sung in Filipino, it “demonstrates our commitment to work with local creative talents to tell our stories in a locally relevant manner,” she added.
Coinciding with the Disney+ premiere of “Raya and the Last Dragon in the United States, “Gabay” will be released on March 5. Disney Philippines said a Philippine cinema release is to follow soon.
The film is set in the fantasy world Kumandra — which blends cultures of Southeast Asian countries, including the Philippines — “Raya and the Last Dragon” follows the title character (voiced by Kelly Marie Tran) as she embarks on a mission to “restore peace” by finding the last dragon, Sisu (voiced by Awkwafina).
Fittingly, “Gabay” is a song about trust, strength, and unity, according to KZ.
“I love that the song reminds us that sometimes we feel we are weak, especially when we are alone, but if we just learn to trust each other, to come together, and to unite, only then are we able to change the world,” she said.
KZ follows the likes of Janella Salvador (“How Far I’ll Go” for “Moana”), Moira Dela Torre (“Reflection” for “Mulan”), and Darren Espanto and Morissette Amon (“A Whole New World” for “Aladdin”) as Filipinos who have been tapped to officially record a local version of a Disney theme song.
KZ, however, has the distinction of performing the first, and so far, only Filipino-language version of a song from a Disney title.
KZ Tandingan was the Philippines’ only “X Factor” winner who then made waves internationally through China’s “Singer 2018,” said she is “very grateful” and “feel very proud to be singing in my language, and show off its beauty to the rest of the world.”
“I am proud to be part of history,” KZ said.
“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,” she said.