“When we got the news, my manager said that she’s ok with winning just 1,” Zion Aquino begins in a post, referring to his nominations in the recent Awit Awards. “I actually agreed. 5 nominations, 1st album. Sabi na namin, bonus na if we win. (We said that it will just be a bonus if we win.)

“During one of my prayer times, bigla kong naisip na, ‘Wait! Hihingi na lang ako kay God, bakit isa lang? He is a big God.’ The next time, I saw Trina, I said, ‘I’m believing to win AT LEAST sa 3 categories.’ Ask and you will receive. Ito na nga.”

(During one of my prayer times, I suddenly realised,‘Wait! If I’m going to ask God to let me win, why ask for just one award? He is a big God. The next time, I saw Trina, I said, ‘I’m believing to win in AT LEAST 3 categories.’ Ask and you will receive. Here we have it.)

Zion Aquino at the 30th Awit Awards | Photo courtesy of Zion Aquino and Trina Belamide

Indeed, as he resolutely believed in and claimed, the singer-songwriter and two-time cancer survivor was declared as winner in three out of five categories he was nominated for at the 30th Awit Awards ceremonies, which were held on November 26 at the Kia Theatre. He won Best Ballad Recording for “Ever My Only Love”, Best R&B Recording for “Really Over You”, and Best Performance by a New Male Recording Artist for “Defenseless”.

He also received nominations for “So Grateful” in the Best Inspirational Recording category (won by Quest’s “Higher”) as well as Best Performance by a Male Recording Artist (won by Gabby Alipe for “Visions”) for his current single “Brave For You”.

In the same previously mentioned post, the bright-smiled crooner went on to thank everyone who took that leap of faith with him: his Star Music family, his biological family, those who supported him during his battle with cancer, and other friends who also happen to serve as his “Creative Team”. First on that long list is Trina Belamide, his manager and record producer. “Trina Belamide, it is crazy how you gambled on me. Even I wouldn’t have done that,” Aquino gratefully expresses.

The two received the Awit Awards trophies together onstage, where Aquino shared how the veteran songwriter is such a fan of his voice to the point that she wrote an entire ten-track album (So Grateful) especially for him. Belamide affirms this in a statement: “My wish is for everyone to give him a listen. He truly has such a special voice. Anyone who hears him for the first time is almost always blown away by that rich texture. Now that he has been noticed by the industry, hopefully he wins over the general public, too.”

Zion Aquino is just starting, but he definitely hit the ground running and is set to go to greater lengths with a loud roar. The “lioncalledzion” is more than just a witty rhyme being used by the singer as a handle in his social media accounts. “For me, a lion is a symbol of strength, courage, and leadership,” he explains. “In the Bible, it’s also the mightiest beast. If there’s a Lion of Judah, I’m the Lion called Zion.”

Zion’s lion-sized pride for his craft reflects in his heartfelt music, but his feet remain firmly planted on the ground and he never forgets to recognise the pride that took that leap of faith with him. Now, he passes that same strength and courage he received onto his listeners.

Listen to Zion Aquino’s Awit Awards-nominated recordings here: