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VP/Cover | Diving Deep into TJ Monterde’s ‘Sariling Mundo’

VP/Cover | Diving Deep into TJ Monterde’s ‘Sariling Mundo’

In a world filled with voices, there are few that hold the power to pierce the depths of the soul. Among these chosen ones stands TJ Monterde, one of the Philippines’ premier balladeers. His mastery lies not just in his calm voice but in his talent for using words and sounds to evoke emotional experiences. 

Now, taking everyone to a deeper level, prepare your hearts as he lets us take a glimpse of his ‘Sariling Mundo’ this coming May 5 and 6 for his sold out solo concert happening at the New Frontier Theater.

A staple in OPM history

Debuted in 2013, TJ Monterde is a no-stranger in the local music scene. In his 12-year career, he has a number of hits on his discography. He is the charming voice behind the songs ‘Dating Tayo,’ ‘Tulad Mo,’ ‘Mahika,’ and the latest hit ‘Palagi’. Moreover, he remains one of the most streamed artists on Spotify Philippines. But his love for music did not only start 12 years ago; he shares that music has become his life in every sense.

“Everything I do revolves around it—I make songs for a living, my wife is a singer, most of my friends are musicians, and I write songs to find myself.”

TJ on what music means to him. 

TJ sees himself more as a songwriter than a singer—through music—he gets to communicate and immortalize moments in his life that transcends well with the audience’s hearts. With genuineness as his secret potion, the music he releases never fails to resonate with Filipinos. He just knows the right words to reflect our stories of love, pain, and yearning. But for the groundwork of his music, he values time and inspiration in creating his masterpieces. 

“First, you try to wait for it. If it comes, it comes. If not, that’s when you pursue inspiration. You find ways to get inspired—you go back in time, talk to friends, watch movies, smell a certain perfume you used to like, [or] go to a place you’ve never been. Inspiration is everywhere.”

TJ on his songwriting process. 

‘Sariling Mundo’ Concert

Who said that ice cream was the only thing that could beat the summer heat? It’s been a long time coming, but it’s now TJ’s time! Enough with the humidity, and treat yourself to a breezy, cheesy night with TJ Monterde. As he gears up for his 2-day sold out concert this May, TJ shares some of the preparation he does for this show. 

“I’ve worked hand in hand with my bandmates on this, doing our best to give the fans what they want to hear. It’s a mix of giving them new arrangements yet still letting them hear what they hear online.”

TJ said about his preparations for his show. 

More than a showcase of his awe-inspiring discography, he emphasizes that this concert is dedicated to his fans. A celebration of all his songs throughout the years, their back stories, and new songs that fans will surely love. He assures fans that he is doing his best to give them a spectacular show. While the special guests for this concert remain unrevealed, TJ shares that there will be a duet of originals.

Even though he has already been nurtured in the industry, TJ shares he still feels butterflies when performing. He points out that it only feels like a playground after one or two songs. The first stage always gives him the jitters. Additionally, he highlights that every performance is never the same, and the excitement is never the same.

The latest hit song, ‘Palagi’

His latest chart-topping song, ‘Palagi’, gained recognition for its message and melodies. With 51 million streams on Spotify to date, TJ adds another massive song to his collection of bops. Dedicated to his wife, KZ Tandingan, this song came from a special place in his heart. 

“It all started with the idea of celebrating this particular milestone with KZ, the 10th anniversary of the day we met. I want to express how much I value her and am grateful for her sticking around. Despite all the hardships, we’re still here and will always be here.”

TJ on the inspiration for Palagi. 

When asked about what makes him choose someone palagi, he notes that his profound love and respect for KZ as his wife and friend make him choose her every day.

“Palagi” is the banner track of his independently produced album with the same title “Sariling Mundo”. The album comes with eight equally heart wrenching and remarkable tracks such as “Nowhere”, “Little Paradise”, “Buong Gabi”, “Plano”, “Sandali”, “Huling Luha”, the album title track “Sariling Mundo” and the phenomenal hit “Palagi” that crowned TJ as one of the most streamed male artists in the music land.

Undeniably, the song appealed to the public because of how innately romantic Filipinos are. Apart from its heartfelt lyrics, the endearing beats also instantly touch our emotions. For him, this song completely encapsulates the seamless blend of lyrics and melody, something that embodies the very essence of love.

The rise of OPM

In this new decade, we witnessed the rapid development of OPM. With the emergence of PPOP groups and increased spotlight given to underground artists, more of our life stories are featured. Furthermore, the shift of music from physical formats to streaming has exponentially exposed the genre to every corner of the world. As huge fan and a cornerstone of OPM, TJ feels delighted by the love our local music is currently receiving. 

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“I think what we have now is a result of all the collaborative efforts of past and present artists who have worked hard to push and promote OPM to everybody. As they say, a rising tide lifts all boats.”

TJ on the popularity of OPM

Talking about the OPM hype, TJ stated that he is working on a couple of collaborations to be released by the end of the year. Mostly known to be a balladeer, TJ expressed his desire to do a track with a hip-hop artist. Though this possibility is still a blur, the general public will surely eat this up! 

He also expressed his hopes for bringing music from different Philippine languages to the mainstream. He notes that by crashing down language barriers, we will be introduced to more profound and fascinating stories

TJ behind the melodies

Despite the buzz and hectic schedules, TJ finds solace in the sanctuary of music—his true haven. Even on his rare days off, he retreats to the studio, letting creativity flow flawlessly without the weight of expectation. It’s imperative for him to treat music for its purpose, which is self-expression. 

For now, TJ Monterde devotes his time to perfecting his solo concert and eagerly anticipating interaction with fans. No worries, as this is just the beginning; stay tuned for more as he sets his sights on touring with his latest album.

“I took a leap of faith and moved to Manila 12 years ago to chase a seemingly impossible dream, so for me to be where I am today despite everything I went through is nothing short of a miracle. I am grateful for where I am today and the people who helped me get here.”

-TJ Monterde

PublisherRichie de Quina & Gwynn Crisostomo
Editor-in-Chief | John Luke Chica
Senior Editor | Achilles Bamba
PR & Advertising Manager |  Josh Austria
Digital Manager | Allen Esteban
Words by Lei Sedero


Photographer | JL Javier

Grooming | Posh Torres
Hairstylist | Jaymar Lahaylahay
Stylist | Aaron Manasat
Assistant Stylist | Carvey Samonte

President | Erickson Raymundo
Vice President | Jeff Vadillo
Handler | Pherlouie Moya
Ad & Promo Head | Caress Caballero

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