Not another Z-grade Beyoncé

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By Harvey I. Barkin

Three days after she was born, her parents were still figuring out what her name would be. Since her three sisters had names beginning with “Z”, they settled on Zeyonce.

Little did they realize little Zeyonce would someday step up to the mike with her own booty call.  When mom Linda (from San Andres Bukid in Manila) and dad Alex Brown (from Virginia Beach, VA) first met in Austin, TX, they both realized they love to sing.  So, when Zeyonce started singing at 6, it was like, it’s destiny, child.

Now 18 and just graduated from Milpitas High School last June, Zeyonce Brown works with her mom as an essential worker saving lives at Eugene’s Villa Carehome facility.

A far cry from previous years when Zeyonce was the life at some social events at the Consulate in San Francisco,  the open act at concerts (Arnel Pineda, Gary V and  Maja Salvador last year) and easily the stand-out set of pipes in a number of singing competitions and entertainment segments in private engagements.

Zeyonce can cover Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera, Aretha Franklin, and Kelly Clarkson. Her fave genre are Pop, R&B and Soul, natch. But her favorite singers are Doja Cat and Kiana Lede.

Courtesy of Rey Del Fierro photography

These days when the pandemic brought the curtains down on concerts and masks over singers, Zeyonce performs live on Facebook, Viva online and does the round of live radio interviews. She also guested in a tribute to Bay Area frontliners and first responders to do her bit.

She counts herself fortunate COVID-19 did not put a stop to her career as it did to a lot of people.

It seems like the voice lessons at Bytes and Notes until she was 13 was a long time ago. The time when Pamela Serrano at PnC Music Company and Miriam Pantig were her voice coaches.

She now has an artist and record contract with the Viva Agency. Bay Area concert promoter Joanne de Leon introduced her to Viva Records boss Vic Del Rosario who watched a couple of Zeyonce’s videos and was duly impressed.

Courtesy of Rey Del Fierro photography

She’s extending her repertoire to include OPM. She already recorded Dapat na Ba, composed and written by Vehnee Saturno.

Thankfully, she  was able to record Labo Mo, words and music by Marcus Davis and Mikee Misalucha, and managed to get the video (directed by Carlo Alvarez) out in February before the pandemic shut down everything.

The silver lining is that she sings a lot of Sarah Geronimo songs and would love to collaborate with her someday.

And she’s at the threshold where a talented singer begins the search for her real voice. No more cover gigs. The rinky-dink acoustics in make-shift halls was not enough to muffle her performance. Even in an ersatz video, her talent could not be denied. She got the record contract, didn’t she?

But the great transformation would be when she becomes the song. Right now, she wants to write her own songs instead of vocalizing somebody else’s. When the singer becomes the song-writer, then she would have reached it.

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