TJ Monterde is feeling the pressure as the date of his first major solo concert is fast approaching this June 17.
"Kinakabahan ako na medyo excited. I feel a lot of pressure kasi the arrangement nung music is different, pero it's part of growth."
Used to playing acoustic-style, TJ will be performing with a full band in the Music Museum. His only guest will be Sassa Dagdag, another PolyEast Records up-and-coming singer.
He revealed that his girlfriend KZ Tandingan will not be performing.
"For the concert, gusto lang daw niya manood sa akin. Pero, sana, pwede siyang jumam. Pero gusto niya manood sa akin that night. Gusto daw niya ienjoy yung music."
They way he performs his songs in the concert will be different from what people have come to expect in gigs.
"Because of the full band, it will be different but all my new songs will be played here. It is going to be a showcase of original songs ko."
"Gusto ko dalhin yung audience sa musika ko and ito ma-offer ko."
If there will be covers, he says it will be songs from the '90s, "kasi kid ako of the nineties, so I will share my take on those."
Asked if he feels pressure to somehow catch up with what KZ has done, or if he feels insecure, TJ answers very candidly, "Maraming nagtatanong if I feel may pressure. Mas nauna siya, five years sa akin."
He says he is not insecure, in part because of KZ herself and how she relates to him, "Kapag magkasama kami, walang ganoon. We talk about music but we don't talk about work kapag kami magkasama. She is more of encouragement than comparisons, so good effect siya."
But when she has something to comment, she does it frankly, he shares, "She criticizes me, pagdating sa bosesan, straightforward, at agad siya magbibigay ng solution."
In this manner they avoid conflict, because KZ doesn't critique songwriting. In return, TJ comments on her songwriting, not her vocals, "Sa songwriting niya, doon ko siya medyo natutulungan. Balanced lang."
In a way, there is no "inggitan kasi he sees them as working together," TJ explains.
Being in the same industry actually helps their relationship, TJ confesses, "Creativity-wise, nagko-complement kami sa each other. KZ is a really good singer, bago ko ipasa sa PolyEast, pinaparinig ko sa kanya. She will say try mo eto."
It also allows them to be more understanding in their relationship, "Personally, sobrang laking bagay, naiintindihan niya, kasi yan din yung trabaho niya. So less conflict. She is my number one critic, she is free to say what she wants."