Kuh Ledesma (born March 16, 1955) is a popular Filipino pop and jazz singer. Kuh Ledesma has been performing for 25 years in the musical industry which encompasses more than 300 concerts, numerous awards in the Philippines, and 18 albums in the Philippine recording industry. She was the first Filipino singer to become a recipient of the Salem Music Awards in London in March 1989. In 1997 she released her international debut album Precious in collaboration with the best American and Filipino songwriters, arrangers and musicians.
Kuh Ledesma was born Maria Socorro Ledesma on March 16, 1955 in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, Philippines. She has a daughter named Isabella Gonzalez.
Philippine and international music industry - Ledesma's career in music began when she joined the Lastiko band (formerly known as Ensalada band) in Bacolod while she was still a Nursing student in college. Ledesma and her bandmates Toto Gentica and Jet Montelibano later went to Manila to form the Music & Magic band which became pivotal for her career. She later received the lead role in the pop ballet Rama Hari by Alice Reyes. She eventually went solo with Dito Ba?, Ledesma's first hit song.
1980's - In the 1980s, Ledesma has performed during solo concerts at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), the Araneta Coliseum, PICC and the Philippine Folk Arts Theater.
In 1982, Ledesma launched an all-Filipino concert, Ako ay Pilipino (I am a Filipino) at the Cultural Center of the Philippines that featured a repertoire of ethnic sounds, classic kundimans and beautiful pop songs, tapping into the rich node of indigenous art and contemporary pop music to produce alternative approaches to songs. Her show eventually became a television special followed by two albums. This was immediately followed by another production at the CCP, Inspired Madness in 1983, which was created in collaboration with Philippine film director Peque Gallaga and musical director Ryan Cayabyab.
During the political ambience of the 1980s, Ledesma paid tribute to Ninoy Aquino at the end of one of her shows at the CCP by singing her a cappella rendition of Impossible Dream and You'll Never Walk Alone (Hindi Ka Nagiisa). From 1984 to 1986, Ledesma joined the Apo Hiking Society in Ang Pinoy Nga Naman (1, 2, and 3) at the Folk Arts Theater.
In March 1989, Kuh Ledesma was chosen as the first Philippine singer to be the recipient of the Salem Music Awards after competing against other top singers from Asia at the Royal Albert Hall in London
1990's - In the 1990s, Ledesma had a series of concerts with foreign artists Noel Pointer, Jack Jones, Kenny Rankin, The Platters and Michel Legrand followed by other concerts with popular Philippine song artists such as Regine Velasquez (U.S. tour, 1999), Pops Fernandez and Jaya (Power of Two, 1999). After Ledesma's four-night concert with the jazz violinist, Noel Pointer, she released the album, The Voice, The Violin. In February 1994, Ledesma had the Two of Hearts concert with balladeer Jack Jones. During 1995's Valentine's season, she performed with Kenny Rankin. Ledesma started the new millennium in a Valentine show with The Platters. In 2002, Ledesma had Valentine presentation with Michel Legrand.
Ledesma has her own production company Headline Concepts and built concert venues such as the Music Museum (a combined theater-restaurant built in 1988 at Greenhills, Manila) and the Republic of Malate. The Republic of Malate is a facility located along Mabini Street in Manila, which houses a restaurant, a bar, a watering hole, a game room, a tobacco area a dance club and a theater. However, The Republic of Malate was destroyed by a fire in November 2001. Ledesma has plans of rebuilding the facility.
Kuh Ledesma had a regular monthly television special called Akuhstic Café which is a musical travelogue that presented viewers the urban night life of Metro Manila by visiting clubs, lounges and concerts. Akuhstic Café was a grand finalist in the Asian Television Awards in Singapore for best musical program.
In April 1997, Ledesma became the featured artist of the ‘’Muling Aawit ang Pasig’’, a benefit concert of former Philippine First Lady Ming Ramos for the restoration of the Pasig River.
In 1998, the centennial year of Philippine Independence, after producing a Valentine concert at Fort Santiago, Manila, Ledesma was commissioned by the National Centennial Commission to stage a three-night centennial concert of the year, Lahi…Kami ang Pilipino which was held the Expo Center at the former Clark Airforce Base.
2000's - Ledesma also owns Bravo Records, a music recording studio. Ledesma is known for building careers of new talented singers.
Ledesma celebrated her 25th year in the music industry by holding a series of shows at the Captain's Bar of the Mandarin Oriental Manila (Kuh Ledesma Presents). Ledesma has a goal of publishing a book of photographs to chronicle her career.
Kuh Ledesma is also a member of the Artista Para Sa Pagbabago (Artists for Change), an organization comprised of artists, environmentalists and businessmen. She was also the president of the Restaurant Owners Association of Malate.
During the 2001 Philippine national elections, Ledesma was chosen by the PINATUBO (Pinag-isang Lakas Tungo sa Pagbabago) Party as a first nominee for congress. The PINATUBO Party has the goal of alleviating poverty in the Philippines through grass-roots development.
Apart from performing and producing concerts and special shows, Ledesma also travels widely in the Philippines and abroad to deliver values formation lectures, and inspirational and motivational talks.
Philippine cinematography - Ledesma has appeared in films such as Oro, Plata, Mata, Tinimbang ang Langit, The Year of Living Dangerously.
Philippine theater - Ledesma performed in Rama Hari and Kapinangan
Philippine television - Ledesma produced several TV specials including the award-winning program, Kuh by Special Arrangement. She was also a co-host in the Sunday variety show A.S.A.P. Mania.
International performances - In March 1990, Ledesma appeared as a guest performer in a Gilbert Becaud's television show in Paris where she sang Bulaklak (The Rose) in three languages (Filipino, English and French). In July 1990, she was the Philippine's representative-performer at the international television special, Earth 90 in Tokyo, Japan. Earth 90 was a show that celebrated the importance of the environment and was aired simultaneously around 80 countries. Ledesma was then on stage with artists such as Olivia Newton-John and John Denver. On the same year, Ledesma also joined the NHK-KAYO parade in Tokyo.
In 1991, Ledesma accepted the invitation to become a member of the panel of judges during the Miss Universe Beauty Pageant in Las Vegas, U.S.A.
In 1984, Ledesma was chosen by international director Peter Weir to play the role of Tiger Lily in the film, The Year of Living Dangerously, to work with actors Mel Gibson and Sigourney Weaver.
After becoming a model for Lux soap in the Philippines from 1984 to 1990, Ledesma also appeared in a series of print ads and television commercials for Lux in Singapore from 1988 to 1989, and in Indonesia in 1992.