Even With All His Success, Zack Tabudlo Is Still An Ever-Evolving Artist

A peak into the mind of the man behind your fave OPM songs.

In between making hit songs and getting noticed by BTS’ Jungkook, Zack Tabudlo is still on that journey of musical discovery.

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Every decade brings with it new trends and stars in the world of OPM. And when looking at the 2020s, one name that will be remembered long after the decade is done is Zack Tabudlo. Just a few years ago, Zack was another young artist looking to make a career in the industry. A slate of chart-topping hits later, Zack is one of OPM’s newest stars and a leading figure in the new generation of solo acts dominating the local music scene. But even with tracks that have ingrained themselves in modern OPM, Zack isn’t one to rest on his laurels as his love of music continuously pushes him to new avenues.


Before Zack Tabudlo became the Gen Z prince of OPM, he started somewhere. And that first step came when he competed in the first season of The Voice Kids Philippines. If you weren’t aware of this fact, we don’t blame you as Zack only made it to the battle rounds under the team of Coach Bamboo. Still, years after competing on the show, Zack sees his time in the competition as the leap he needed.

“The Voice Kids was basically a really big start with my whole journey,” he tells NYLON Manila. “At a very young age, I started the whole music thing, but I didn’t have any knowledge when it comes to performing on stage and having that feeling in front of a crowd. [The Voice Kids] gave me that opportunity to still learn from it. And I think the thing that I got most out of it was just building my connections with a lot of people.” 

At the time, Zack was a kid who mainly played acoustic songs and did covers. Competing on The Voice Kids unlocked that inner spark for him to explore his musicality further, something that hasn’t stopped since. That was the beginning note of his musical career as it led him down a path of success. 


In the late 2010s, Zack signed with a record label and broke into the mainstream in 2021 with Binibini. Since then, the young artist has made a name for himself as one of the new superstars of modern OPM love songs and heartbreak anthems. His honest lyrics and piercing vocals make for a deadly combo that will quickly get people in their feels. Such is the case with his latest solo single, Diba. While ZACK: FOR ALL, his sophomore album, featured a more funk and uptempo sound, Diba sees the crooner go back to his roots of penning heartbreak tracks. 

In typical Zack Tabuldo style, he narrates the pain of letting go and the irony of feeling sorrow even after suffering from lies and unfulfilled promises in the song. But what’s interesting about Diba is that unlike most of his releases, which take inspiration from the here and now, Zack reflected on a years-old breakup. “It’s different for me to kind of dig deep into a relationship from the past.” Naturally, this self-reflection required Zack to go in on his inner thoughts, an admittedly tough task for the musician. “It was a challenge for me just going back to it and kind of realizing a lot of things personally when it comes to that relationship.” 

However, there was a silver lining in tapping buried emotions. As he shares, “At the same time, I kind of saw a big growth in me when it comes to how I deal with my everyday life.” He adds, “How I did Diba is definitely something that I can do in future releases where I can dig deep into past happenings in general.”

When it comes to a Zack Tabudlo song, many parts to it make it work. But one of the most significant is the lyrics. Zack’s pen game is some of the best among the new generation as he knows how to put into words universal feelings. But, despite having lyrics that consistently hit, Zack doesn’t have a secret recipe for writing the perfect line. Instead, he goes by feeling. “I feel like it kind of just goes down to how personal it is to you. When you feel it yourself and it hits you hard, most definitely some people would feel the same way.”

Zack Tabudlo Diba

Understandably, given his love for the craft, music is personal to Zack. His music takes from his own life experiences, and it is distilled in a way that speaks to many. But this honestly also comes with a bit of uncertainty as he admits that there are times when he feels that his music is too real to be put out to the world. “It does kind of go into this breakdown where I still feel out which [song] I should release be giving out to the people who listen to me.” 

But while writing and making music will always be special to Zack, he realizes the communal experience it has. “In a certain period, when you write your music, you kind of have this feeling that you should be writing for the people, not just for you. If you write for yourself, there’s going to be a lot of hindrances when it comes to connecting to people.”


At 21 years old, Zack Tabudlo is at that stage of his life where the world is his oyster. But his career so far has been one most musicians would work a lifetime to achieve. In just the past two years, Zack has released songs that have garnered hundreds of millions of streams and even charted in other countries. Zack has gone on to play in shows around the world and work with a growing stable of international musicians, with his recent duet with Diego Gonzalez being a prime example. 

“I’ve always reflected on that every time I get certain breaks with making music and doing shows,” says the OPM star on his breakout success. “I was just chilling and setting up my studio again. It kind of felt like heaven, honestly. Having to see where I was a few years ago and seeing now is just amazing.”

People across all four corners of the world are listening to Zack Tabudlo, and that includes Jungkook as the K-pop superstar recently set social media ablaze when he listened to Give Me Your Forever during one of his livestreams after a Pinoy ARMY suggested the track. At the time, Zack wasn’t on his phone. When he went to check it, that’s when he saw his mentions blow up. 

Zack Tabudlo

“I had like 30 missed calls from my team. I saw like thousands of tweets on Twitter and stuff. I had no idea what was going on,” recalls Zack. Needless to say, the moment was a big one for him that also scratched off an entry on his bucket list. “It’s funny, one of our dreams me and my dad have is to be noticed by BTS in particular. We’ve always had a vision of me like having BTS hear my songs.” 

The co-sign from Jungkook is just one of the many whirlwind events Zack has gone through in a short period. But while the wind is on his back, this fast-paced and chart-topping lifestyle can also be a lot to take in. Zack has so much on his plate, much more than most people in their early 20s. It’s a palpable pressure as the world has its eyes on him. Making music that comes from a vulnerable place can take its toll. 

As such, Zack knows well that being the next big thing has its downfalls and understands the trappings of burnout. As a young creative, he makes the time to take care of himself physically, mentally, and emotionally. For Zack, self-care means giving himself space from the hustle and bustle of work. “I usually just take a break, I just go out of town. I go to some place really far from my workplace. And that just calms me down and gives me an idea to kind of just feel everything in,” he shares. 

Zack Tabudlo in his studio

Just a few years ago, Zack was at the bottom of the totem pole. So, his fast rise to the top necessitates a breather now and then. “Doing shows and making music is a big grind. It kind of takes most of your time. Take a breather and take a step back and just do your thing.”


After starting 2023 with a new album, a heartbreaking single, and a couple of international collaborations, among other career moves, Zack is ready for more. “Definitely more music to come,” he teases. And if fans want to know when exactly Zack is dropping new bangers, all they have to do is look if the OPM star got a new haircut, as exemplified by him going from curly hair to bleach blonde. “It kind of, honestly, became a coincidence because it wasn’t really planned, changing haircuts, and then making music. So it just kind of goes into the music itself.” 

Most OPM artists dream of making it big and seeing their name in the limelight. Zack Tabudlo was once such artist who turned that into a reality. And for those looking to follow in his footsteps, Zack had this to say. “You’re gonna commit your whole life to it if you want to do it. And just be true to who you are when it comes to making your music. Be vulnerable as much as you can. It’s gonna take a while to make music you really love and you’re really comfortable with and a lot of people would love as well. But the technique is just to keep on making music until you make it. So just enjoy the ride.”

Continue Reading: 6 Times Zack Tabudlo Rubbed Shoulders With International Musicians