Aside from collaborating with one of the biggest brands in the world, Zack Tabudlo also got to fulfill his dream of making a hip-hop song.
It seems as if every other week, Zack Tabudlo is experiencing a major moment in his already red-hot career. Just recently, the OPM star surpassed one billion (as in with a b) streams on Spotify. “It was a surreal moment. My whole music kind of got recognized just around two years ago. And having that kind of platform to share my music, and then reaching a billion streams is just crazy,” shares Zack in an interview with NYLON Manila.
But the achievements don’t stop there as Zack had the honor of kicking off season seven of Coke Studio in the Philippines. Oh, and he also made history as the first-ever Filipino artist to be featured globally on Coke Studio, joining a roster of global stars like NewJeans. Just another W for Zack Tabudlo.
With a breakthrough career both in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia, songs that chart globally, musicality that transcends generations, and a voice that sounds like it comes from an angel, Zack Tabudlo is a no-brainer for Coke Studio. But the fact that he was up against stars from around the world and made it on the final roster is an achievement in itself. “That itself was just crazy for me,” he states.
When he was officially tapped by Coke for the project, Zack was tasked to make a collision of different kinds of music that bore a kind of magic only music could make. And topping it all off was that the OPM star was set to work with South African rapper Nasty C. So, Zack went to his trusty studio and began brewing that magic potion. “They asked me for some demos and some tracks that I can submit for the collaboration. They all liked it. And then we all just kind of sent emails to each other.”
Taking inspiration from movie soundtracks, particularly those with the vibe of Fast & Furious OSTs, Zack gave us another take on love with Fallin, a R&B and hip-hop banger about the feeling of falling in love for the very first time.
As a producer extraordinaire, Zack Tabudlo is no stranger to dropping bops left and right. But when it came to working on Fallin, what stood out to the artist was this sense of nostalgia because of how it harkened back to his early days making music. “I started making music at a very young age. I used to ghost-produce in LA. Making hip-hop and pop music as a main genre before was kind of my forte. I used to do that for years and then that’s when it led me to make my own stuff.”
A little research on Nasty C later, Zack and the rapper worked on the track online, which Zack admits can affect the feel of the song. They made it work though and were able to meet in London to film the performance video for the track. It’s a magical collaboration given how Zack wasn’t familiar with the rapper’s work. “I think I did kind of bump into one of his gaming videos because he’s a gamer. But I saw how different he is in terms of making music and how serious he is when he’s doing his part [on the song].”
It was the best kind of collision as Zack finally got to achieve his dream of making a hip-hop-inspired track all while making a friend with a rapper from halfway across the world. “He was this really cool guy, but really serious with his craft. I respect him a lot for that. Everything was just a vibe shooting with him, and it all just worked out in the end,” he reminiscences on his time in London shooting the video.
Getting to work with Nasty C also lengthened Zack’s list of global stars he’s worked with. So far, this 2023, he’s hopped on tracks with Johhny Orlando, joan, and Mae Stephens. “I feel I kind of get these jitters every time I accept these kinds of projects because it’s weird to me that it becomes a bit normal to me now that I get sent tracks from these big artists that I look up,” muses the singer-songwriter.
He adds, “Being able to release a track with them and having their fans listen to it all over the world, it’s crazy for me.” And if you thought he was done, Zack teased that he has even more international collaborations coming that he can’t spill just yet.
Zack isn’t the only Filipino musician to be featured in Coke Studio Philippines. With six seasons in, Zack is walking a path that has been trodden by the genre’s biggest stars. So, when it was his time on the stage, did he turn to his peers for advice? “Not really actually. But I did do a bit of research myself and looked for references and projects that they usually do in Coke Studio.”
OPM TO THE WORLD
At just 21 years old, it seems as if Zack has lived many lives with how his career has gone. To be the first Filipino to the featured globally in Coke Studio is an honor for any artist, and it’s also a career move to be expected from a trailblazer like Zack. Still, the achievement is one he is grateful for, even if the pressure is real. “I feel like there’s always pressure when it comes to projects, especially [Coke Studio]. At the same time, I just kind of go back to my roots and enjoy what I love to do, which is just making music and merging the Filipino scene with the global music market. That itself is just an honor.”
At the end of the day, Zack gets to do what he loves, all while helping OPM have a bigger platform and reach even greater heights around the world. That’s what he hopes for with this historic collision with Coke Studio. “Just being part of this global campaign is already a pride in terms of Filipino music and how I can help OPM reach that stage globally. Hopefully, everything becomes way bigger for OPM.” He continues, “I started music as a kid, trying to work with people and producers in LA, and now, having that flag to raise the Philippines for this campaign, that itself is just really surreal.”
Zack continues to go places, and doing so while showing what Pinoy Gen Z talent is all about. Hopefully, we’ll get to experience Fallin live soon (and see some of the global Coke Studio artists in the Philippines). And this interview can’t end without him answering the question that’s on everyone’s lips. “My go-to has always been Coke Zero.”
Continue Reading: Even With All His Success, Zack Tabudlo Is Still An Ever-Evolving Artist