The Internet caters to numerous talents that are often unheard of. With its power to create celebrities out of YouTube and other social media platforms, cyber fame has shown its magic in jumpstarting an artist’s career; proving that cyberspace is definitely a goldmine of talents. Take Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes, and Troye Sivan for example. They all started from YouTube.
In the Philippines, meanwhile, rising balladeer TJ Monterde sets out an example how from being a virtual unknown YouTuber can dominate mainstream music scene. TJ recently dominated the Billboard Philippine top 20 with his four original tracks namely “Dating Tayo,” “Tulad Mo,” “Ikaw At Ako,” and “Ikaw At Ako Pa Rin,” which features longtime girlfriend, KZ Tandingan.
With his songs’ captivating lyrics complemented by his soulful voice, TJ charmed his way to the hearts of netizens, earning him a massive 1.5 million following on his social media account. He started uploading his videos on YouTube back in 2011 and now, six years later, his channel has 37 thousand subscribers while his signature track “Ikaw at Ako”, which debuted as the original soundtrack for YouTube’s viral film entitled My Super Fan Girl , has amassed more than 33 million views.
Like many other singers, the road to TJ’s newfound fame wasn’t that smooth as anyone could imagine. Leaving his career as a radio personality and a local TV host for ABS-CBN’s regional show MagTV, the 27-year-old singer-songwriter from Cagayan De Oro braved the concrete jungle of Manila to find a record label that’s willing to shelter his talent. He auditioned as a VJ for Myx but didn’t make it.
His experience, however, paved way for unexpected opportunities. He met key people from the music industry and started doing voice-overs for television commercials. It was also around the same time when he first uploaded his videos online.
Although most of his tracks are certified chart-toppers, TJ’s still has minimal exposure on television that’s why people still ask who he is when someone mentions his name. The singer doesn’t mind that though, instead, he expresses that it actually gives way for some amusing encounters with fans. He also shares his contentment about having a quiet relationship with KZ Tandingan.
TJ wrapped up his sold-out first solo concert entitled Ikaw at Ako: The Concert a few months ago at the Music Museum where he also launched his third album Kahit Kunwari. His latest album consists of five all-original acoustic ballads with “Mahika” as the title track. He is currently signed under PolyEast Records, which also released his newest record.
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