AT A TENDER age of two, Kirby Asunto already had an inkling of what she loves to do.
While children her age were playing kids’ stuff around the neighborhood, the girl who traces her roots to Inopacan town in Leyte and Davao, was inclined toward mimicking songs being played through a compact disc player at home.
She subsequently joined a number of singing competitions in school where she honed her skills and improved her craft.
Asunto won every singing contest — a streak disrupted only when her family migrated to the United States in 2006.
She got her first shot at fame after she was personally handpicked by Filipino boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao to sing the Philippine national anthem during the boxing match between the people’s champ and Timothy Bradley in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2012.
Asunto later raked in numerous guestings both in the Philippines and in the United States, and reaped multiple awards and recognitions, including being an Outstanding Filipino-American in New York, for her exceptional talents at a young age.
At the Access Broadway Contest in Connecticut, Asunto emerged as the Regional and National Champion, and became the Philippine Fiesta Grand Idol Singing Champion in Secaucus, New Jersey.
She was also remembered in her role as Basilio in the national classic Noli Me Tangere the Opera in New York which was based on the novel of Dr. Jose Rizal.
Her seamless performance earned praise from The New York Times whose theater critic said the young girl “demonstrate(ed) a clear, attractive voice as the altar boy Basilio.”
BEST MUSIC VIDEO
Last October 20, 2016, Asunto won the Best Music Video at the 6th International Film Festival Manhattan for her first original song “Exist.”
The song about a girl longing for her dream guy was written by
Cebuano composers Jude Gitamondoc and Therese Marie Villarante, and arranged by Anjelo Calinawan.
The music video was directed by Kurt Fick and shot in Cebu City.
Asunto, now residing with her family in Linden, New Jersey, bested two other contestants who made it to the top three from among several entries worldwide.
“It was a tough competition, and winning such a prestigious award made me feel very honored as a Filipino,” she told Cebu Daily News through Messenger.
“The song means a lot to me because it was my first ever single and it has opened many doors in my singing career,” she added.
One can view Exist on Youtube through https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=hDRYwZPLKLM
The song is available in iTunes and could be listened to on Spotify and viewed on YouTube.
‘WAY OF LIFE’
The petite but excellent singer is known for her clean and powerful voice.
For her, singing isn’t just a passion. It is her way of life.
“I think I was given this special gift from God to bring joy and inspiration to as many people as I can. The best thing about singing is being able to meet a lot of fans who I adore because without them, I wouldn’t be where I am now,” she said.
Being a Lea Salonga fan, Kirby naturally is inclined to Broadway songs but is entertaining other music genres like pop and RnB.
Endowed with a beautiful voice, Asunto uses her talent to raise funds for communities stricken by calamities and grief, including victims of the powerful 7.2-magnitude earthquake that jolted Bohol in October 2013.
She also raised funds for children with cancer housed at Bahay Aruga in Manila.
Asunto entered as a fourth grader at Number 9 Deerfield Terrace Elementary School in Linden. She enrolled at Myles J. McManus Middle School to continue her education but opted to be homeschooled when her singing career became in demand.
She said she intends to return to the Philippines to finish her studies.
Asunto was born to Filipino parents Liberato and Shirley. The singing sensation was just eight years old when she, her brother, and parents migrated to the U.S.
The family, however, was not able to petition Asunto’s two siblings.
Her mother Shirley had to quit her job to be with her. As much as
possible, Shirley said she wanted to raise her children up with the right values.
“I had to guide her. I was afraid she would be influenced by unpleasant practices in the U.S. We live and breathe our Filipino values and traditions,” the feisty but loving mother said.
At 19, Asunto could have lived on her own and manage her thriving
career. The law in the U.S. also grants her the go signal to get married without her parents’ approval.
But the teenage singing sensation chose to stay with her family, remaining to be the same affectionate and obedient daughter who abides by her parents’ decisions.
“I entrust Kirby’s career to the Lord alongside doing what is expected of us,” Shirley said.
Asked about her future career plans, Asunto said she would rather enjoy everything she has at present.
“I like to concentrate on what is happening in the present, not the
future. But I would very much like to see myself as a successful singer
because it has been my passion and it is what I love to do the most,” she said.
As a person, Asunto said she likes being unique and persistent.
“I’m rather pleased to be me. I’m not afraid of failure. In fact, I think it is an essential part of the process that gets you to success,” she said.