Student to release debut singles under Bell Tower Music

Miguel Zarzoso, who makes pop music in both English and Tagalog, will release two songs on April 26.

Miguel Zarzoso will release his two debut singles on April 26. | FERNANDO GAXIOLA / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Miguel Zarzoso — also known by his stage name Miza — isn’t seeking fame or a hit song. All he wants is to be proud of the music he makes and connect with listeners.

“I don’t wish it or need it to blow up,” said Zarzoso, a junior health professions major and Bell Tower Music’s newest artist. “But rather, if I can put out music that I’m proud of, and that other people can listen to and relate to the lyrics, relate to the story and just enjoy it, overall I’d feel accomplished in my musical effect.”

Zarzoso signed with Bell Tower Music this Spring semester and will release two new singles, “Cherry Blossoms” and “Never Go,” on April 26. He creates music that blends the genres of folk and pop and writes in both English and the Filipino language Tagalog.

Bell Tower music engineer Cobi Goldberg pitched Zarzoso to the label after seeing him perform in 2022 at a talent show hosted by Temple University’s Asian Student Association. Goldberg was blown away by his vocal performance.

“The emotion he’s able to put into his vocals as well as just his singing abilities really impressed me just like from first hearing it, and I’ve kind of been a fan ever since,” said Goldberg, a senior media studies and production major.

Before Goldberg asked Zarzoso if he wanted to be considered for the label, Zarzoso had only considered his music a hobby; he regularly performed at events for the clubs he’s a part of, but had not recorded any songs yet. 

A large number of artists are considered by Bell Tower music, so Zarzoso didn’t expect to be offered a deal. But as weeks passed, Goldberg kept Zarzoso updated on the status of the decision, until Jack Klotz, director of Bell Tower Music, reached out to offer him the deal.

“Soon enough, I got an email from Jack Klotz saying, ‘Here’s the contract, we love your music, we’d love to work with you,’ and I was ecstatic, I was really, really excited to hear that news,” Zarzoso said.

Zarzoso has been surrounded by music his entire life. Both of his parents are musicians, but he’s never considered his writing or singing as a career, instead choosing to focus on his passion for physical therapy. Now signed to Bell Tower Music, Zarzoso is seriously focusing on music for the first time.

“Physical therapy is what I want to do,” Zarzoso said. “I always thought of music and my passion for music as like a side thing, but having it take forefront in my life for once is definitely a change, I’m definitely getting used to it still but I’m excited.” 

Zarzoso is inspired to write music by his personal experiences and the media he consumes. He most often writes as an emotional outlet, using his words as a way to make sense of his emotions.

An adept writer in both Tagalog and English, Zarzoso performed a song in Tagalog at Temple University Philippine American Counsel and Asian Students Association’s Pan-Asian Cultural Festival on March 23, one of his largest performances yet. 

Although he feels more confident with his English lyrics, Zarzoso hopes to continue strengthening his skills in Tagalog and eventually release songs in both languages. 

“I think physically singing Tagalog is a lot easier, I think it kind of rolls off my tongue a little bit, a lot more smoothly,”  Zarzoso said. “But when I’m writing, and I’m emotional and I just want to write stuff down, it’s all in English. I think my English songs carry a little more weight.”

Hannah Park, a close friend of Zarzoso since high school, sees him bring intense passion and emotion to his music. 

“There were a lot of times where either he would come back from a vacation or kind of be in like a tough time or something, and he would come to me and show me the new song that he wrote and I can just tell how much he puts into it,” said Park, a junior health professions major. “How much he pours into his work his music, it’s very apparent whenever he gives me a listen.”

The latest products of Zarzoso’s efforts include his two upcoming singles. On “Cherry Blossom,” Zarzoso’s smooth vocals float over a backing track of violin and soft percussion; “Never Go” leans more R&B as Zarzoso laments on love lost.

Along with the two singles, the artist has recorded a “Live From Studio G” session with Bell Tower Music, which is set to release this semester. He is excited to continue to develop his artistry and make new music with the label.

“At times I still don’t see that I’m really worthy of position that I’m in, but I’m thankful for Bell Tower and the opportunity they’re giving me and and for putting their trust in me to be one of their artists because they’ve produced for some amazing artists in the past,” Zarzoso said.

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