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This article was published 23/12/2009 (4289 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A Filipino-Canadian singer, born and raised in Winnipeg, was bestowed with two prestigious music awards in the Philippines this month.
Chris De Guzman, who goes by the stage name Zacariah, took home the people's choice best new male recording artist and people's choice favourite male artist awards at the 22nd Awit Awards, the Philippine version of the Grammy Awards.
"I'm shocked. As a new artist, I can't believe I won the favourite male award," De Guzman said. "I'm lucky to have such great fans and supporters."
De Guzman, 25, said he has been a performer since childhood. "I've been serious (about singing) my whole life. My parents are both singers."
He recently left optometry school in Philadelphia to pursue a serious rhythm and blues career, but he's not giving up on academia forever.
"I made a promise to my parents I will go back to school when my career ends," he said. "That was my childhood dream, to be a doctor and a singer."
De Guzman released his first CD last year and is well-known in the Philippines. He says his English songs have enjoyed more airtime in Canada since he received his awards. While De Guzman keeps a home in Winnipeg, where his parents reside, he spends most of his time in the Philippines. He credits much of his success to his fan base in the Nueva Ecija province, from which his family hails.
"If it wasn't for them and their support, I probably wouldn't have won my awards."
De Guzman participated in Canadian Idol contests in 2005 and 2008. He has a bachelor of science degree from the University of Manitoba.
To listen to samples of his music, visit zacariah.net.