For other uses, see Kyla (disambiguation).
Melanie C. Alvarez (née Calumpad; born 5 January 1981), better known by her stage name Kyla, is a critically acclaimed Filipino R&B singer-songwriter, recording artist and producer, occasional actress, and presenter.
Known as the "R&B and Soul Princess" and occasionally, the Philippines' "Queen of R&B", Kyla is one of the country's most awarded singers. She began her career in 2000 with OctoArts EMI Philippines and rose to prominence with the release of her second single "Hanggang Ngayon" (English translation: "Until Now"). The song went on to win the MTV Viewers' Choice at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards, making Kyla the only Filipina and one of only three Filipino artists (Eraserheads and Parokya ni Edgar being the other two) to ever win an award at the VMAs. Kyla has released a total of eight studio albums to date, all of which were certified Platinum albums. In Asia, the R&B royalty, has sold over 1 million albums since her debut in 2000.
Kyla has collaborated with many international artists including American R&B singers Brian McKnight and Keith Martin, British boy band Blue, Irish musician Ronan Keating, Norwegian band Fra Lippo Lippi, Indonesian R&B singer Joeniar Arief, and Malaysian artists Too Phat, Noryn Aziz, Ferhad, and Hazami. Kyla is currently managed by EMI Philippines (PolyEast Records), ALV Talent Circuit, and Tarra Group (Indonesia).
Her work has earned her several achievements, including a star on the Walk of Fame in the Philippines, one MTV Video Music Award, eleven Awit Awards, four MTV Philippines Music Award, and four MYX Music Awards. She has also been honored by the Philippines Society of Composers, Singers and Publishers for her contributions to music as one of the first pioneers of R&B music in the Philippines. In 2009, the RX 93.1 Awards also recognized her as the "OPM Female Artist of the Decade".
Early life and discovery:
Born on January 5, 1981, she was named Melanie Hernandez Calumpad in Tondo, Manila. Weaned on her parent's old school soul and jazz records--Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and Aretha Franklin-- Melanie soon developed an affinity to singing, hugging the mic every single chance she gets. By her 10th birthday, Melanie was already joining over prestigious TV singing contests. "Tanghalan ng Kampeon" was her first singing contest but on DZRH "Hamon sa Kampeon" was her first win in 1991. She was lording "Tanghalan ng Kampeon" for six straight weeks, and with her powerful interpretation of Jennifer Holiday's "I Am Changing," became the show's grand champion in 1993.
Veteran director Al Quinn saw her potential, encouraging her to join the immensely popular Wednesday group of That's Entertainment, an afternoon variety show on GMA Network using her real name, Melanie, as her screen name.
Melanie represented the country in the Fourth Yamaha Music Quest on August 1995 in Japan, where she interpreted the Vehnee Saturno original, "Only World".
In 1997, she brought home the third prize trophy in the Metropop Young Singers' Competition (later renamed Metropop Star Search). Soon GMA's Infiniti Records offered Melanie, along with fellow Metropop Star Search winners Carmela Cunta and Jonard Yanzon, to wax a couple of songs for a compilation album entitled "Kung Umiibig Na". She recorded two solo tracks: "I Wish You Love"" and the folksy love song, "Kung Magkikita Tayo Muli", which would later re-emerge as a Vina Morales signature hit, "Muli".
Armed with a Raymund Ryan composition, "One More Try", Melanie once again joined the Metropop Song Festival in 2000. The song failed to make it in the Top 12. It did, however, make it to EMI's A/R Manager Francis Guevarra's consciousness. Guevarra immediately signed her to a recording deal with EMI Philippines on April 2000 and was given the stage name "Kyla" meaning princess.
She graduated high school at San Sebastian College - Recoletos and earned her Bachelor degree of BS Mass Communication in Philippine Christian University.
2000-2003: Debut Albums, Early Success, and International Work:
Way to Your Heart:
Kyla made her big debut in 2000 with Way To Your Heart with its hit carrier single, "Bring It On." The album brought out the realization that yes, the country's first honest-to-goodness R&B has arrived. Comparisons to R&B super stars Brandy and Aaliyah began to surface.
However, it was her second single, the piano-driven ballad "Hanggang Ngayon" that turned out to be Kyla's breakthrough hit, topping a host of FM radio charts. The song's music video, which was directed by Lyle Sacris, further boosted the song's popularity. The video won for Kyla an award at the MTV Video Music Awards and two big honors trophies at the 2001 MTV Pilipinas Awards: Best New Artist and Video of the year. Her video even went on to win the MTV Southeast Asia Video Music Award. Along with Lea Salonga and Regine Velasquez, Kyla was listed as Best Female Singer in a survey held by popular teen magazine Meg in her first full year in the music business alone. Kyla also has six Awit Awards, including Best New Female Artist. FM Radio station KF FM even hailed her as Breakthrough Artist of the Year.
Kyla opened 2002 with a bang, receiving the award for Female Artist of the Year from two of the country's most popular radio stations Magic 89.9. and Monster Radio RX 93.1. She was also invited to perform at the MTV Asia Awards with popular boy group Blue. Kyla's self-titled album was released in 2002 which marked Kyla's debut as a songwriter, penning two compositions: "I'm Into You"" and "This Day". It is with her sophomore offering that Kyla was given the opportunity to collaborate with popular recording artists like Freestyle and Gary Valenciano. She also collaborated with Malaysian R&B artist, Ferhad for his single "What More"
I Will Be There:
Kyla's third album, I Will Be There became one of her most respected albums to date. Aided by the country's most popular and respected artists, the album showcased Kyla's versatility with R&B tracks "Bounce" and "I Will Find You" to ballad songs such as "I Will be There" and "Bakit Wala Ka Pa". The title track is penned by Mr. Ogie Alcasid, while "Naghihintay Lamang" is written by Janno Gibbs and "Feel So Good" by Rhada. There are a couple of reunions in "I Will Be There", as well. First is with Mr. Pure Energy Gary Valenciano as they do a duet with "Sana Maulit Muli". After their performance at the MTV Awards, British boy band Blue collaborated with Kyla with the funky "Flexin'".
In 2001, Kyla joined the Himig Handog Sa Makabagong Kabataan song contest as one of the interpreters for Jonathan Manalo's song "Tara Tena" with Kaya and V3. The entry was eventually proclaimed the winner.
She joined the noontime variety show SOP as a regular host on April 24, 2002.
On November 29, 2002, Kyla reunited with Jonathan Manalo and made a return to the Metropop Song Festival to interpret "Buti Na Lang" which eventually finished in third place.
In 2003, Kyla performed with British boy band Blue at the MTV Asia Awards in Singapore. Irish singer Ronan Keating of the Boyzone also performed with Kyla at the Araneta Coliseum on February 13, 2003.
Kyla made special appearances in sitcoms and made her acting debut in the telenovela Narito Ang Puso Ko.
2004-2006: Not Your Ordinary Girl and Beautiful Days:
She co-hosted GMA Channel 7's defunct Sunday variety show SOP. She opened 2004 with her birthday celebration at SOP with a surprise duet from American singer-songwriter and producer, Keith Martin. Kyla had included one of his songs in her Perfectly Acoustic compilation album released December 2003.
In November 2004, Kyla released her biggest-selling album to date, Not Your Ordinary Girl. Its first single, "Human Nature". The song is one of the few covers in the album including Clair Marlo's "Till They Take My Heart Away'"", as well as Gary Valenciano.'s "What More Can I Say?", and Ella Mae Saison's "If The Feeling Is Gone".
Collaborations with Keith Martin and Jay-R make Kyla's album a fun and funky album. From R&B to pop to a bit of hip hop and the good ol' ballad, Not Your Ordinary Girl demonstrates Kyla's versatility as a singer and performer. Kyla's conquest to stardom paid off as her latest album attained its Platinum status the same month. Her concert, Kyla "Not Just Your Ordinary Girl" at the Araneta Coliseum on November 12, 2004, was a certified sold out concert as well.
The same year, she opened for Alicia Keys Live in Manila at the Araneta Coliseum.
From 2006 to 2007, Kyla hosted Popstar Kids, a talent search for potential kids aired on QTV that produced teen singing sensation Julie Anne San Jose.
In June 2006, Kyla's blend of singer-songwriter sensitivity and a big voiced R&B have proven more as she released her fifth album under EMI Phils entitled Beautiful Days where each track takes you to the emotional high of love to return and the lows of a love unrequited in five covers and nine original singles.
The album features the first single "Ngayong Wala Ka Na", a sumptuous combination of soul and heart with the song's composer, arranger and producer is R&B hit maker himself, Keith Martin. This song is also written by Jason Balibay and Diana Dayao.
2007-2009: Heartfelt and Heart 2 Heart:
In 2007, she released her sixth album, Heartfelt. Her first album of remakes, Heartfelt contained 17 tracks, 16 of which are remakes including "I Don't Want You to Go" and "It's Over Now" and an original composition, "Someone"
Kyla and Jay R also were given their own segment at SOP Rules called "Souled Out" which aired on GMA Network every Sunday.
On October 10, 2007, Kyla sang the Philippine National Anthem in Manny Pacquiao versus Marco Antonio Barrera fight at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Also, she acted as Sarah Geronimo in her life story at Magpakailanman.
After Heartfelt, she released and co-produced her seventh album, 2008's Heart 2 Heart. The album produced the 2009 singles "Old Friend" and "Back in Time", written by Jay-R. The song "You Make Me Feel", written by Kyla and Jay R, won "Best R&B song at Awit Awards while "Back in Time" won "OPM Song of the Year" at the RX 93.1 Awards and "Best Collaboration Award" at the Wave 89.1 Urban Music Awards. In 2010, "Back in Time" also won "Favorite song" at the MYX Music Awards . Along with these awards she also won "OPM Female Artist of the Year" and "OPM Female Artist of the Decade" at the RX 93.1 Awards late 2009.
Kyla also played a lead role on Dear Friend's episode, "The Three Bachelors", starring opposite longtime music partner Jay R.
2010-2013: Private Affair, International Acclaim and Collaborations, and Hiatus:
On February 14, 2010, Kyla joined fellow R&B artists Jay R and Billy Crawford and Nikki Gil for a special Valentine's Day concert. Kyla received nominations at 2010 MYX Music Awards including Favorite Female Artist, Favorite Mellow Video for Old Friend, Favorite Collaboration and Favorite Song for Back in Time with Jay R, and Favorite Remake for the album Heart 2 Heart In celebration of a 10-year prominence in the music industry, PolyEast Records released 27 of the "R&B royalty's" biggest hits in a two-CD compilation: Essence of Soul: The Hits Collection along with a new song, "Hanggang Wakas". "Hanggang Wakas" is a duet with Malaysian pop-R&B artist Hazami, who first wrote the song in Bahasa entitled "Tekad". Kyla is a regular performer-host of GMA's Sunday variety show Party Pilipinas. On November 29, 2010, Kyla and longtime music partner Jay R held a concert at the Music Museum, entitled "Soulmates". At that time, the two had also signed a contract with Terra Group in Indonesia.
While recording an album in Indonesia and Malaysia Kyla's album Private Affair was released on November 30, 2010 under EMI and PolyEast Records. Its first single is "Mahal Kita (Di Mo Pansin)". Its second single, "Don't Tie Me Down", written by Kyla, Jay-R, Kris Lawrence, Billy Crawford, and Jimmy Muna, was released in January. Kyla was also a featured artist in Indonesian R&B artist Joeniar Arief's new album Melayang Tinggi. The official music video for his third single "Indah Cinta Kita" featuring Kyla was released on first week of August 2011 and became a big hit in Indonesia.
Michael Bolton and David Foster conveyed their admiration for Kyla's singing prowess upon hearing her sing "I Will Always Love You". Michael Bolton commented that Kyla was "super amazing!"Brian McKnight also expressed his desire to work with Kyla, referring to her as his "new favorite female vocalist". He wrote a song for her entitled "My Heart", which Kyla performed for the first time on November 6, 2011 at Party Pilipinas.
Before marrying Rich Alvarez, Kyla held a concert at Teatrino, Greenhills on November 11, 2011 entitled "Depidida de Soltera" (translated as, "Farewell to spinsterhood / single-hood", in English).
Kyla was one of the cast of GMA Network's Primetime Time of My Life, the first ever dance themed series on Philippine Television. On December 11, 2011, Kyla sang the Philippine National Anthem in Brian Viloria versus Giovanni Segura boxing match at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig, Philippines. Kyla was one of the guests of Ogie Alcasid and Regine Velasquez concert at Araneta Coliseum, Philippines on February 14, 2012 entitled "Mr. and Mrs. A". She sang Regine Velasquez's hit "Narito Ako".
On March 16, 2012, Brian McKnight performed with the song How do You Keep the Music Playing with Kyla at his concert at the Araneta Coliseum.
Kyla also recorded a song entitled "Huling Sayaw" with rock band Kamikazee for its new album Romantico. The single was released in 2012.
On June 1, 2012, Christian Bautista and Kyla joined Vietnam's pop singers Tung Duong and Thanh Lam as they performed together at the White Palace Convention Center in Ho Chi Minh City. Christian and Kyla were received warmly by the mostly Vietnamese members of the diplomatic corps, government officials and the private sector. Christian sang I Believe I Can Fly and Can't Take My Eyes Off You, and Kyla sang Emotions and a Barbra Streisand medley. Then, they did a duet of We Could Be In Love before singing We Are The World with Tung Duong and Thanh Lam. Kyla and Jay-R showcased the Filipino's world-renowned musicality when they performed at the Philippine National Day of World Expo 2012 held in Yeosu, South Korea on July 22, 2012.
Kyla interpreted the song "Be My Everything" originally written by Jessa Mae Gabon during A Song of Praise (ASOP) Music Festival 2012, the Philippines' first praise song competition on television. It was held at The Araneta Coliseum on September 24, 2012. ASOP music festival was an anticipated biannual event at MCGI and is in continued search for best praise songs from composers within the organization alongside ASOP TV. Kyla was also a guest performer at Rachelle Ann Go's "Rise Against Gravity" concert at the Music Museum on October 26, 2012.
South Korean idol singer Jun.K of the boy band 2PM also expressed his wish to meet Kyla referring to her as "his favorite singer" during his visit to the Philippines in March 2013, .
On October 28, 2012, Kyla and husband Rich Alvarez announced that they are expecting their first baby at Party Pilipinas stating that they have "received the most beautiful blessing." At the time of the announcement, Kyla was three months pregnant She remained a regular host and performer at Party Pilipinas until March 2013.
2014-present: Comeback with Journey and Philpop 2014:
Shortly after her return in late 2013, Kyla began recording a new album. On March 2014, Kyla renewed her contract with EMI Philippines/PolyEast Records. Kyla performed her new single "Kunwa-Kunwari Lang" on the April 8th episode of Myx Philippines's Myx VJ Search. On April 10, PolyEast Records released a lyric video of the single. On April 24, PolyEast announced that Journey will be released on May 10, 2014.
Kyla performed on MYX Live! on May 21. During a guest appearance at DZMM on May 22, Kyla revealed the already popular track "Dito Na Lang" as the second single of the album.
On May 29, it was announced that she would be taking part on the third Philippine Popular Music Festival as the interpreter for composer Jungee Marcelo's song entry entitled "Salbabida". The festival will take place recently last July 26 during which interpreters will perform and a grand prize winner will be selected from the 12 composers. Her song Salbabida won as Grand Prize Winner in the 2014 PhilPop Song Festival together with winning composer Jungee Marcelo.
While Kyla still regularly performs at Sunday noon-time variety show Sunday All Stars, she is no longer an exclusive artist for GMA Network. On July 21-22, Kyla made a guest appearance at Kris TV. Aside from Myx, this was her first guest appearance at the ABS-CBN network since Morning Girls with Kris and Korina in 2004. In addition to promoting her new album Journey, she performed with Erik Santos and longtime music partner Jay R. Kyla was invited back to Kris TV on August 1 and performed "Dance with My Father" and "Because You Loved Me" in the show's tribute to the late Corazon Aquino and Benigno Aquino, Jr. as well as its August 20-21 episode. Kyla made a guest appearance at ABS-CBN's Umagang Kay Ganda on August 4th.
Music and voice:
Kyla remains one of the most prominent singers in the Philippines due to her "very distinct voice". She is known for the "airy and raspy" quality of her singing voice, her soulful and R&B style of singing, her vocal acrobatics, her head tone and wide range, her use of Category 5 vocal style known as melisma, her versatility, and her ability to scat. In 2010, Kyla sung Ella Fitzgerald's version of "How High the Moon" where she scats for 7 minutes. Her voice has often been described as a blend of Beyonce's voice and Mariah Carey's raspy singing voice. She has also been compared to R&B singers Aaliyah and Tamia. Locally, she has often been deemed as Regine Velasquez's heiress.
Kyla's music is generally contemporary R&B that also incorporates jazz, ballad, funk, hip hop, and soul as well as pop belting songs. However, Kyla is often praised for her ability to adjust to any genre and "blend in" with any artist she collaborates with. Her versatility is evident in her performances with musical theatre singers such as Isay Alvarez and Dulce, OPM/pop singers such as Martin Nievera and Gary Valenciano and even a collaboration with rock band Kamikazee in the hit single "Huling Sayaw" (English translation: "Last Dance").
Kyla is classified as dramatic coloratura soprano with a vocal range spanning more than 4 octaves (C3 to C7) hitting F5 chest voice in her songs such as "Buti Na Lang" and "Atin Ang Walang Hanggan" (English translation" "Forever is Ours") and G#5 in her live cover of Aretha Franklin's version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow".
As a songwriter, Kyla is also known for writing inspirational and female-empowerment themed compositions taken from personal experiences, as well as her friends' experiences. Kyla also co-produces most of the songs in her album as well as other records in which she has been involved.
Kyla credits Mariah Carey and Beyonce Knowles as her major musical influences. Kyla also named Regine Velasquez as another one of her influences because "she's an all-around entertainer: a great actor, a good singer, and a beautiful, elegant woman. She's one of the few singers able to cross over into really good movies." Kyla cites Whitney Houston as another idol saying she "inspired her to get up there and do what she did."
Other musical influences include Ella Fitzgerald, Tina Turner, Kelly Rowland, Rihanna, Lauryn Hill, Sade Adu, Aaliyah, Mary J. Blige, Janet Jackson, Destiny's Child and Rachelle Ferrell.
With more than 10 years of prominence in the music industry, Kyla has accumulated numerous awards from many critically acclaimed music award giving bodies, surpassing many of her contemporaries. Dubbed as "The Philippines' R&B and Soul Princess", Kyla is one of the most awarded singers in the Philippines. Her hit music video "Hanggang Ngayon" won Kyla the MTV Viewer's Choice for Southeast Asia award at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards, making her the only Filipina to be so honored. She has amassed estimated sales of one million albums in Asia. Her work has earned her several achievements, including a star on the Walk of Fame in the Philippines, one MTV Asia Award, four MTV Philippines Music Award, four MYX Awards and eleven Awit Awards where she also holds the record for the most wins for a female act. She also been honored by the Philippines Society of Composers, Singers and Publishers in variety show SOP for her contributions to music as one of the first pioneers of R&B music in the Philippines.
Artists have cited her as an inspiration include South Border and Freestyle as well as Philippine icons Regine Velasquez, Gary Valenciano, Martin Nievera and Ogie Alcasid and international superstars such as Brian McKnight.
Kyla graduated from Philippine Christian University with a bachelor's degree in Mass Communications. Her father is a lawyer and, she has three siblings. Known for her humble and wholesome personality, she has maintained a relatively low-key life away from the controversies of show business, although her relationship with basketball player Rich Alvarez was especially followed by the media.
In 2005, Kyla began dating PBA player Rich Alvarez. After six years of dating, the couple announced their engagement on February 10, 2011. During her announcement at Party Pilipinas, Kyla performed her song "Beautiful Days". Upon revealing their engagement video in July Party Pilipinas, Kyla performed the song "Another You". On October 23, Kyla and longtime music partner and "love team" Jay R did their last duet together before Kyla was to get married.
On November 6, 2011, Kyla sang a song written for her by Brian McKnight. Entitled "My Heart", it has since become her wedding song.
Engagement and Wedding:
Though Kyla and Rich were both very much involved in the wedding preparations, the couple preferred to keep the wedding itself and the details at a very low key
On November 9, 2011, it was revealed that Kyla's wedding dress was designed by friend-couturier Cocoy Lizaso She also mentioned that she will not be singing on her wedding as she wants her friends in the music industry to sing for her this time. It was revealed that Ogie Alcasid, Gary V, Martin Nievera, Jaya, and Janno Gibbs would sing at her wedding. Due to their busy schedules, according to speculations, will take place sometime in June 2012.
Following the release of their engagement video in Party Pilipinas on July 2011, Kyla revealed that the wedding will take place on November 28, 2011.
The wedding took place on November 28, 2011 at Santuario de San Antonio, a well-known church for weddings between Forbes Park and Dasmariñas Village in Makati City. Among the attendees are the executives of the three top commercial television networks in the Philippines: Felipe Gozon (GMA Network), Ms. Cory Vidanes (ABS-CBN), and Mr. Manny V. Pangilinan (TV 5) who all served as principal sponsors of the wedding.Ogie Alcasid was also a principal sponsor. Close friends of Kyla from the industry, Karylle, Christian Bautista, Erik Santos, Rachelle Ann Go, and Jolina Magdangal also attended the wedding.
During the church rites, La Diva, Kris Lawrence, Yosha Honasan, and Opera performed. For the reception, Kyla invited fellow singers from Party Pilipinas, Janno Gibbs and Jaya. Mr. Gary Valenciano and Martin Nievera both from the rival show variety show ASAP also crossed network lines to sing at the wedding as well.
A day after the ceremony, a church wedding video was released featuring the song Beautiful Days, the song Kyla wrote for Rich five years ago.
GMA network aired "A Beautiful Day: Kyla & Rich Alvarez Wedding Day TV special" on December 10 and 11, 2011 that included the couple's personal story.
On March 13, 2014, Kyla admitted to marrying Rich in secret prior to their November 2011 wedding. The two originally tied the knot in April 2011 through a civil wedding ceremony.