Here is Lea Salonga’s advice to Kumu’s ‘Sing for the Stars’ contestants

Published March 18, 2022, 2:47 PM

by Jessica Pag-iwayan

Free pro-tip for those who want to win in this competition

AWARD-WINNING Lea Salonga will be one of the judges in Kumu’s international singing competition, ‘Sing for the Stars.’

As a testament to its commitment to digital creativity, the Kumu multiverse has branched out into discovering musical talent with the launch of its new campaign “Sing For The Stars,” an all-digital international singing competition with participation from four-time Grammy award-winning singer and songwriter Michael Bublé, and Tony award-winning musical theater legend Lea Salonga as the star judges.

In an exclusive interview, Manila Bulletin Lifestyle talked with Lea about the competition, her tips to the contestants, and a lot more. 

Congratulations on being one of the judges for Kumu’s ‘Sing for the Stars,’ Ms. Lea. Is there anything that you anticipate will be different about this particular competition, given that it’s held almost completely in a virtual space?

That’s the thing… most of the competitions I’ve been part of in the past have never been in the virtual space. However, when the pandemic happened, Kumu seemed to really take off in providing an incredible platform for performers. I have a bunch of friends from the theater world that have themselves taken to Kumu to weather that storm—the arrivals of Malacañan Palaces and Miss Universe crowns have been nothing short of fabulous!—so it seems right that this contest takes place in this virtual world. It’s a celebration of what Kumu has come to signify for many people that are on it. And there are lots of wonderful singers there.


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A post shared by Lea Salonga (@msleasalonga)

As a multi-awarded actress and singer who’s worked on multiple media and various platforms, and has collaborated with different big stars, what do you think are the essential qualities that contestants should have or should develop in order to succeed in the music industry?

Oh goodness, I’m not even sure! However, as an audience member that loves watching performers, I find myself attracted not only to their talent (talent is a given), but to the joy they possess when they’re performing on stage. It goes without saying as well that hard work and perseverance are also qualities a performer must have to survive in this business, as it’s not always kind and is actually very fickle.

Apart from being able to get direct access from international artists like Michael Bublé and yourself, why do you think ‘Sing for the Stars’ is the competition to join right now? 

It’s safe! We’re not out of the woods yet as far as the pandemic goes, so joining this competition ensures that everyone involved is in a safe space. And why not? Anyone with access to the platform can join!

How do you see yourself as a judge—will you be the strict coach or the motivating stage mom?

You’ve seen me on other singing tilts, yes? I’m not always the nicest person on the panel, but I try to leave something for the performer to think about for next time. I assume the contestant already has a mom or mom-figure in their lives, so that’s not my space to occupy. That said though, I’ll be encouraging and fair.

Any advice you’d like to give to aspiring musicians who might just find their north star on ‘Sing For The Stars’?

Please sing well. Put your heart into the performance. Tell the story of the song. Fill that song with life.

And now, just for fun. Could you recommend a song, an artist, or an album that’s caught your attention recently, and why?

Besides my obvious love for BTS, I am so hooked on Silk Sonic (Anderson Paak and Bruno Mars). So many performers can just look to their performances to see how it’s done. So much swag and so much joy, but also a super high level of musicianship and performance. There was clearly a lot of work that went into making what they do look easy. And my gosh, they’re just magnificent.

The said competition is open to all aspiring singers. Top three contestants will win exciting prizes. The second runner-up will win $2,000 in cash, while the first runner-up takes home $4,000 in cash. And the grand champion will take home a whopping $10,000 in cash, a one-year record contract with Warner Music, and their own mini-concert inside the Kumu app, plus a one-on-one coaching session from Michael Bublé.

For those who are interested to join, click here for full the mechanics of the competition.