American OPM singer and recording artist Sahara is ending 2021 on a festive note, thanks to the release of her very first Christmas single, “Tanging Hiling” written by Dennis Quila, Sahara’s co-producer and Tagalog mentor. Available online on Spotify, YouTube Music, Apple Music, and other major digital music platforms, this song is a dream come true for Sahara saying, “This is an early Christmas gift for all of you.”
“Tanging Hiling” is a perfect kick-starter for the onset of the Yuletide season, which started with the ‘Ber’ months in the Philippines.
“My co-producer Dennis surprised me one day and brought a demo of an unreleased Christmas song to the studio to play for the team (me, Dennis and Michael). I instantly fell in love with the music and message, and I knew we had to record it.”
Asked about the actual meaning of the song, Quila explained that the song is “about how love is more important than anything else, and why it's always a perfect gift instead of material things.”
He shared, “I wrote this song way back on Aug. 11, 1999, that was 22 years ago. I was in Japan at that time working as a pianist in a hotel, and it was my first time being so far away from my family during Christmas time.”
“After the release of ‘DBSK’, we were brainstorming for a follow-up song. So I searched my treasure chest of original compositions and happened to review this Christmas song. It has never been recorded before and I never even tried presenting ‘Tanging Hiling’ to other artists. But when I presented this song to Michael and Sahara, I was blown away by their reaction. So Sahara put all her effort into studying ‘Tanging Hiling’ and then I hurried right away with the areglo, live guitars (done by Ricky Topacio) and the recording process since it's getting close to ‘Ber months. This a dream come true to me since Christmas songs are only played on the last quarter of every year,” Quila proudly beamed.
Asked what Christmas means to her, Sahara exclaimed, “Love, togetherness, and creating fond memories with the people I love. And being reminded that our life on earth is a blessing.”
She also revealed some of her favorite Christmas songs, including her favorite Christmas traditions and Christmas meals. “My favorite Christmas songs are ‘Jingle Bell Rock,’ ‘Feliz Navidad,’ and I have a soft spot for ‘Santa Baby.’ To be honest, I usually listen to the Vintage Christmas playlist on Spotify.”
“My mother is Native American and Mexican, so one of our traditions is making homemade tamales for Christmas. They smelled so good and it was so much fun. And I love to eat! These days, I really look forward to decorating the Christmas tree with my husband and our cat.”
Meanwhile, Sahara’s “Tanging Hiling” this Christmas is “I like life to return to normal - safely - for everyone. But more so, for everyone to be blessed with another year of good health.” She also expresses a strong desire to tour the Philippines, meet her new fans, and visit the beach.
Prior to this newest music release, the American Anthem Diva dropped her “Dahil Ba Sa Kanya” cover in August, which officially marked her debut as a solo artist in the Philippines.
When asked about her goals and plans for the New Year, Sahara pondered for a while before answering.
“To be honest, it’s been a hard couple of years for everyone. But I’ve learned a lot about myself, and how to stay grounded and stay focused on a project, a goal, and a dream. I just want to keep being a better, more positive person, and share positive energy, love, joy, emotion, etc. with my fans and the world through music.”
Sahara is also gearing up for something big, due next year. “Yes, we have a small album (EP) of original OPM songs planned for the beginning of next year. I work with my team every day towards that goal.”
“Right now I’m not planning on recording another cover. But I’m combining my love of opera and OPM and I am learning a classic Kundiman song that I can’t wait to share with my fans. I’ve also mastered ‘Sayang na Sayang’, to perform live and on a future tour.”
For more news and updates on Sahara, follow Sahara on Facebook (www.facebook.com/voiceofsahara), on Instagram (www.instagram.com/voiceofsahara) and on YouTube: (www.youtube.com/channel/UC1P0taQw6Xm6gcV_rwvHRyQ).