The “Not your ordinary girl” singer turns 34 years-old today, so here at thedigitalspy.com we thought that we would celebrate the Princess of Filipino R&B singer-songwriter milestone with some of our favorite moments from her long career.
Melanie Hernandez Calumpad also known as Kyla was born on January 5, 1981 in Tondo, Manila.
Dubbed as the “R&B and Soul Princess” and occasionally, the Philippines’ “Queen of R&B“, Kyla is one of the country’s most recognized and awarded singers. She started her career in 2000 with OctoArts EMI Philippines and rose to fame with the release of her second single “Hanggang Ngayon” (“Until Now”).
That song went on to win the MTV Viewers’ Choice at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards, making Kyla the first East Asian female artist to win an MTV Award and the only Filipina and one of only three Filipino artists (Eraserheads and Parokya ni Edgar being the other two) to ever win an award at the VMAs. Kyla has released a total of eight studio albums to date, all of which were certified Platinum albums.
In Asia, the R&B royalty, has sold over 1 million albums since her debut in 2000. Kyla made her big debut with Way To Your Heart with its hit carrier single, “Bring It On.” The album brought out the realization that yes, the country’s first honest-to-goodness R&B has finally arrived. Comparisons to R&B super stars Brandy and Aaliyah began to surface.
“Hanggang Ngayon” turned out to be Kyla’s breakthrough hit, topping a host of FM radio charts. The song’s music video, which was directed by Lyle Sacris, further boosted the song’s popularity. Kyla bagged an award at the MTV Video Music Awards and two big honors trophies at the 2001 MTV Pilipinas Awards for that music video: Best New Artist and Video of the year. Her video was also recognized internationally and brought honor to the country for winning the MTV Southeast Asia Video Music Award.
Kyla joined the Himig Handog Sa Makabagong Kabataan song contest in 2001 as one of the interpreters for Jonathan Manalo’s song “Tara Tena” with Kaya and V3. The entry was eventually proclaimed the winner.
Kyla received an award in 2002 as Female Artist of the Year from two of the country’s most popular radio stations Magic 89.9. and Monster Radio RX 93.1. She currently holds the most number of Female Artist of the Year award on Monster radio RX 93.1 having won in 2002,2004, 2009, 2011, 2014. She performed at the MTV Asia Awards with popular boy group Blue.
Kyla’s self-titled album was released in 2002 which marked Kyla’s debut as a songwriter. Kyla was given the opportunity to partner with popular recording artists like Freestyle and Gary Valenciano. She has done collaboration with Malaysian R&B artist, Ferhad for his single “What More“.
She joined the noontime variety show SOP as a regular host on April 14, 2002.
Kyla’s third album, I Will Be There made her the country’s most popular and respected OPM artists, the album featured Kyla’s versatility with R&B tracks “Bounce” and “I Will Find You” to ballad songs such as “I Will be There” and “Bakit Wala Ka Pa“.
2004–2006: Not Your Ordinary Girl and Her Beautiful Days
In 2005, Kyla began dating PBA player Rich Alvarez. After six years of dating, the couple announced their engagement on February 10, 2011. During her announcement at Party Pilipinas, Kyla sang her song “Beautiful Days”. Upon revealing their engagement video in July Party Pilipinas, Kyla performed the song “Another You”. On October 23, Kyla and longtime music partner and “love team” Jay R did their last duet together before Kyla was to get married.
On November 6, 2011, Kyla sang a song written for her by Brian McKnight. Entitled “My Heart“, it has since become her wedding song
Kyla released her biggest-selling album to date, Not Your Ordinary Girl. Its first single, “Human Nature” in 2004. The song is one of the few covers in the album including Clair Marlo’s “Till They Take My Heart Away”, as well as Gary Valenciano’s “What More Can I Say?”, and Ella Mae Saison’s “If The Feeling Is Gone”. Collaborations with Keith Martin and Jay-R make Kyla’s album a fun and funky album.
November 12, 2004 Kyla held the “Not Just Your Ordinary Girl” concert at the Araneta Coliseum. It was a certified sold out concert as well.
2007–2009: Heartfelt and Heart 2 Heart
In 2007, she released her sixth album, Heartfelt. Her first album of remakes, Heartfelt contained 17 tracks, 16 of which are remakes including hit singles “I Don’t Want You to Go“, “Love Will Lead You Back“and “It’s Over Now” and an original composition, “Someone“.
Kyla and Jay R also were given their own segment at SOP Rules called “Souled Out” which aired on GMA Network every Sunday.
On October 13, 2007 (October 14 in the Philippines), Kyla sang the Philippine National Anthem in Manny Pacquiao versus Marco Antonio Barrera fight at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada.
After Heartfelt, she released and co-produced her seventh album, 2008’s Heart 2 Heart. The album produced the 2009 singles “Old Friend” and “Back in Time“, written by Jay-R. The song “You Make Me Feel“, written by Kyla and Jay R, won “Best R&B song at Awit Awards while “Back in Time” won “OPM Song of the Year” at the RX 93.1 Awards and “Best Collaboration Award” at the Wave 89.1 Urban Music Awards. In 2010, “Back in Time” also won “Favorite song” at the MYX Music Awards . Along with these awards she also won “OPM Female Artist of the Year” and “OPM Female Artist of the Decade” at the RX 93.1 Awards late 2009.
2010–2013: International Acclaim and More Collaborations
In celebration of a 10-year prominence in the music industry, PolyEast Records released 27 of the “R&B royalty’s” biggest hits in a two-CD compilation: Essence of Soul: The Hits Collection along with a new song, “Hanggang Wakas“. “Hanggang Wakas” is a duet with Malaysian pop-R&B artist Hazami, who first wrote the song in Bahasa entitled “Tekad”. Kyla is a regular performer-host of GMA’s Sunday variety show Party Pilipinas. At this time, Kyla’s tandem with Rachelle Ann Go (collectively known as “ShinKy”) became popular at Party Pilipinas.
On October 28, 2012, Kyla and husband Rich Alvarez revealed to the public that they are expecting their first baby at Party Pilipinas stating that they have “received the most beautiful blessing.” At the time of the announcement, Kyla was three months pregnant. She remained a regular host and performer at Party Pilipinas until March 2013. Kyla gave birth to a baby boy, named Toby Elsiah Alvarez, on May 5, 2013.
2014–present: Comeback with Journey and Philpop 2014
On July 26, Kyla joined and performed at the Third Philippine Popular Music Festival as the interpreter for composer Jungee Marcelo’s song entry entitled “Salbabida”. The song eventually took home the grand prize winner.
Her album #KylaJourneyRepackaged is still out in your favorite record bars.
Let’s take a moment to honor R&B Princess music throughout the years! With her ups and downs, she’s never failed to keep us entertained, and we love her for it. Happy birthday Kyla! Cheers to more years of love, happiness and beautiful music!