For over three years, Kumu has been connecting content creators and digital artists to audiences all over the Philippines and around the world. They’ve hit some major media milestones most recently in the form of TV collaborations and a film launch and now, the fast-growing social entertainment app is shaking things up in the music space with Sing for the Stars, an international singing contest that will be conducted entirely via livestream—the first of its kind.
The competition features four-time Grammy winner Michael Bublé and Tony Award-winner Lea Salonga. In a global press conference held last March 11, 2022, the two celebrity judges sat down with TV personality KC Montero, who’s also Kumu’s Vice President of Content, to talk about the role of social media in staying connected, their advice to aspiring stars, and their first dip into competitions on an entirely virtual panel.
Montero, no stranger to hosting with various television and radio shows under his belt, kicked off the press conference by introducing Kumu as a virtual venue of creativity that values the culture of authenticity, highlighting its Filipino roots and primary goal of attracting creatives and fostering content from around the world, with the added benefit of amplifying local voices on an international platform. Kumu already has the advantage of several established subsections and features a vast sea of digital podiums in its league: “You’ll find a buffet of genres,” says Montero, “like gaming, cooking, lifestyle, financial tips—everything under the stars.” One genre of the Kumu-nity that’s rapidly progressing is music: “We’ve always had people jamming in their livestreams—like an online busking corner—and now it’s one of the biggest categories on the platform.”
After a short video detailing exactly how much the music crowd has grown on the app, he introduced Kumu’s Senior Vice President for Strategy and International Affairs, Anand Roy.
“Thanks to technology, geography is now history,” quips Roy. “Kumu is at the forefront of bringing down barriers between people.” Montero and Roy went on to discuss the revolutionary nature of a completely virtual competition, and the part that music plays in the success of the app. “Every day on Kumu feels like a multi-stage music festival,” recalls Roy, “and as [a social network] for musicians, by musicians, we feel that it’s only right that we create an opportunity that enables [all artists] to really shine.”
By coming together and conducting an entire season of a musical face-off, Kumu, Warner Music Philippines, and the judges hope to help fulfill the social entertainment platform’s primary goal of creating meaningful connections, regardless of location or distance, and to foster inclusivity in creative spaces. “I know so many artists who gravitated to Kumu in particular,” says Salonga. “It’s such a natural fit, and kind of a godsend, really, so that artists can keep doing what they love.”
“[I’m sure] we’re going to find someone who makes us just go, ‘Wow,’” predicts Bublé. “I bet you, in five years’ time, when the winner is topping the charts, we look back on [Sing for the Stars] and we can say, ‘They came from this, we discovered that.’ I cannot wait for these artists to enter my life.” With the judges giving both local and international perspectives on their work in the music industry and advice on performing in general, this project with Kumu is a first, even for them—proving even the most seasoned artists can still do something new and surprise audiences!
As for advice to the contestants (and any singer), Salonga has this to say: “A good artist is a good storyteller. Technical ability and the way you convey emotion have equal weight, to me. So bring your A game.” Bublé goes on to add, “Music is such a pure connection, like the greatest romance with something that will never let you down; if you’ve fallen in love with it, you’re already a winner.” So between breaking borders and finding the next generation of stars, Sing for the Stars is the thing to watch right now—or, at least, starting March 19 at 9PM PHT, when the judges will be finalizing the last four of 15 hopefuls and officially setting off the tuneful tournament.
Ready to see some future stars in action? Download Kumu for free from the App Store, Huawei App Gallery, and Google Play. And who knows? Next season, it could be you streaming to stardom.