With his debut album Grateful Soul garnering an impressive 5 nominations in the 30th Awit Awards, Zion Aquino is poised to become the Pinoy soul singer everyone will be talking about.
But who exactly is this artist who seemingly came out of nowhere to shake up the scene?
Far from an overnight success, Zion has been honing his talent over many years. His rich, textured tone brings to mind singular artists who sound undeniably unique, like John Legend, Amy Winehouse, and Paolo Nutini.
This inimitable quality in Zion’s vocals led him to win numerous singing competitions like Star World’s Filipino-American Idol in 2005 and MTV’S Search for The Next R&B Star in 2007. Despite these achievements, Zion chose to quit music and focus on his advertising career.
Then in 2012, he found his way back to music in a profoundly life-changing way. Diagnosed with Stage 3B colon cancer, Zion’s friends from the music industry including Yeng Constantino, Julianne, and Meryl David, organized a fundraising event for him.
This outpouring of love and support reawakened Zion’s soul to the unifying, healing power of music. He resolved to use his voice to inspire and uplift those who face similar battles with illness.
One of his first projects was the independent release of “Liwanag”, a duet with Yeng Constantino, which served to raised funds for two children suffering from bone marrow diseases including cancer.
In 2015, with an array of songs crafted by multi-award winning songwriter and producer Trina Belamide, Zion began recording his first full-length album. In September 2016, the aptly entitled Grateful Soul was finally released to universal praise.
Just as he was riding the high of his reignited passion, cancer crept into Zion’s life again, with a metastasis to the abdominal wall signaling a Stage 4 progression. In spite of this, he’s remained unyielding, bravely facing it with the help of his friends and family.
His passion and vision clearly hasn’t gone unnoticed, with nominations in the following Awit Awards categories: Best Performance By A Male Recording Artist, Best Performance By A New Male Recording Artist, Best Ballad Recording, Best R&B Recording, and Best Inspirational Recording. With each of these nods granted to 5 different songs from Grateful Soul, Zion has the distinction of scoring the most number of track nominations from a single album.
With his cancer once again in remission, Zion is more focused than ever on fulfilling his life’s mission: touching more people with his music.
Grateful Soul is available now on Spotify, iTunes and Astro Stores nationwide.