Melanie "Kyla" Alvarez (b. January 5, 1981), better known by her stage name Kyla, is a Filipino R&B singer-songwriter, occasional actress and presenter. She is a member of Filipina four-piece girl group DIVAS with Yeng Constantino, KZ Tandingan and Angeline Quinto.
Kyla began her career in 2000 under OctoArts EMI Philippines and rose to prominence with the release of her second single "Hanggang Ngayon" (English translation: "Until Now"). The song won the MTV Viewers' Choice for Southeast Asia at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards making her the first East Asian female artist to win at the MTV Video Music Awards.
Known in the Philippines as "the Queen of R&B", her work has earned her several achievements, including a star on the Walk of Fame in the Philippines, an MTV Video Music Award, twelve Awit Awards, four MTV Philippines Music Award, and six MYX Music Awards. She was honored by the Philippines Society of Composers, Singers, and Publishers for her contributions to music as one of the first pioneers of R&B music in the country.
In 2015, Kyla signed with Cornerstone Talent Management Center and transferred to ABS-CBN after over 15 years with GMA Network. Kyla signed a contract with Star Music after 16 years with PolyEast Records (EMI Philippines) on December 6, 2016.
Born Melanie Hernandez Calumpad in Tondo, Manila, she was weaned on her parent's old school soul and jazz records — Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and Aretha Franklin — Melanie soon developed an affinity for singing, hogging the mic every single chance she gets. By her 10th birthday, Melanie was already joining many prestigious TV singing contests. "Tanghalan ng Kampeon" was her first singing contest but on DZRH "Hamon sa Kampeon" was her first win in 1991. She was lording over "Tanghalan ng Kampeon" for six straight weeks, and with her powerful interpretation of Jennifer Holliday's "I Am Changing" became the show's grand champion in 1993. She graduated high school at San Sebastian College - Recoletos and earned her bachelor's degree of BS Mass Communication in Philippine Christian University.
Veteran director Al Quinn saw her potential, and encouraged her to join the immensely popular Wednesday group of That's Entertainment, an afternoon variety show on GMA Network using her real name, Melanie, as her screen name. Melanie represented the country in the Fourth Yamaha Music Quest on August 1995 in Japan, where she interpreted the Vehnee Saturno original, "Only World".
In 1997, she brought home the third prize trophy in the Metropop Young Singers' Competition (later renamed Metropop Star Search). Soon GMA's Infiniti Records offered Melanie, along with fellow Metropop Star Search winners Carmela Cunta and Jonard Yanzon, to wax a couple of songs for a compilation album, Kung Umiibig. She recorded two solo tracks: "I Wish You Love" and "Kung Magkikita Tayo Muli", which would later re-emerge as a Vina Morales signature hit, "Muli".
Armed with "One More Try", composed by Raymund Ryan Santes, she again joined the Metropop Song Festival in 2000. The song failed to make it in the Top 12m but did make it to EMI, whose manager, Francis Guevarra, signed her to a recording deal with EMI Philippines in April 2000. She was given the stage name Kyla.
2000–2003: Debut, early success, and international work
Way to Your Heart
Kyla made her big debut in 2000 with Way To Your Heart with its hit carrier single, "Bring It On." The album brought out the realization that yes, the country's first honest-to-goodness R&B has arrived. Comparisons to R&B super stars Brandy and Aaliyah began to surface.
However, it was her second single, the piano-driven ballad "Hanggang Ngayon" that turned out to be Kyla's breakthrough hit, topping a host of FM radio charts. The song's music video, which was directed by Lyle Sacris, further boosted the song's popularity. The video won for Kyla an award at the MTV Video Music Awards and two big honors trophies at the 2001 MTV Pilipinas Awards: Best New Artist and Video of the year. Her video even went on to win the MTV Southeast Asia Video Music Award. Along with Lea Salonga and Regine Velasquez, Kyla was listed as Best Female Singer in a survey held by popular teen magazine Meg in her first full year in the music business alone. Kyla has six Awit Awards, including Best New Female Artist. FM Radio station KF FM even hailed her as Breakthrough Artist of the Year. On 21 October 2001, she joined the Himig Handog Sa Makabagong Kabataan song contest as one of the interpreters for Jonathan Manalo's song "Tara Tena" with Kaya and V3. The entry was eventually proclaimed the winner.
On April 27, 2016, it was announced that Kyla will be a member of the girl group DIVAS, along with Yeng Constantino, KZ Tandingan and Angeline Quinto (Rachelle Ann Go was originally intended to be part of the group, however, she was removed from the group due to international commitments). On November 11, 2016, the group performed at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, staging a concert entitled DIVAS Live in Manila. On December 15, 2018, the DIVAS returned to the Smart Araneta Coliseum, through a concert with Boyz II Men entitled Boyz II Men with DIVAS.