As Zack Tabudlo sings: Why do I keep crawling back to you?
Over the weekend, Zack Tabudlo celebrated the anniversary of Episode, the album which he says started it all for him—and we have to agree. On October 15, 2021, Zack Tabudlo released the album that shot him into stardom; a billion streams later, it’s one of the top albums in the Philippines.
So to celebrate Episode and what’s come since, Zack held a concert at Fifth Avenue, BGC, performing for thousands of fans on a Saturday night. After countless hours of listening to his work online, fans finally experienced what it was like to see the 21-year-old musician perform live.
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“It’s a nostalgic feeling,” Zack tells us right before the #ZackTabudloLiveAtThe5th concert. “This album got me to where I am today. A lot of people in the world—especially South East Asia—they discovered me because of this album. It’s a really special thing; it has a special place in my heart.”
But while nostalgia is well and good, Zack knows how far he’s come since. Going back to his older tracks and performing them live (some tracks for the first time), the artist is able to see how he’s matured, both musically and personally. He says, “Going back to it and now celebrating this milestone…It’s a big feeling.”
With this growth has come a slew of collaborations, the most recent one was with Violette Wautier for Turn Back Time. Zack describes her as a good friend, and the timing to work together finally felt right. “We’ve been friends for a while, but we never got to really hang out,” he explains. “So working on Turn Back Time specifically, the magic came out. She wrote her verse, and then her perspective came out.”
With the heart that Zack puts into each one of his songs, he admits that digging deep into himself gets difficult, challenging and sometimes even depressing—but that’s how it works. He’s come to understand that being genuine with his music means being vulnerable, whether that’s with himself or the other artists he’s worked with. Zack even recalls a time when he had a crush on a girl who was “really older” than him back when he was 10 or 12 years old. He admits that his understanding of love was a little shallow, and the music he made showcased as much. “Petty,” he describes.
“Now it’s just releasing songs that I know has a lot of meaning to me,” explains Zack. “At the same time, when I make music now, a lot of people connect to it in a really deep way. Some people go through a lot and when they hear the music, they get past these problems.” And that, to Zack, is the best thing about being a song writer. To be able to connect with and help people, to be able to get them through a tough time by laying his own cards out on the table.
Zack Tabudlo has had years in the industry, and they’ve resulted in millions of fans across the world and dozens of hits under his belt. But you know from speaking with him—even from just listening to his music—that there’s so much more he has to say.
Art Macky Arquilla