Mr. & Ms. Magazine, Dec. 26, 2000

Holiday Spells... Family Fun!
by Marie Anne I. Fajardo

We have all heard how Regine Velasquez broke out in the music scene 
via winning countless singing contests all over town, including her 
career-making "Bagong Kampeon" triumph in the early '80s. It was that 
unmistakable belting voice which set her apart, plus the talent honed and 
the discipline instilled by her father, Mang Gerry, who diligently trained 
her daughter to sing while submerged in neck-deep waters. By the time 
Regine was 16 (then going by her other nickname, 'Chona'), she was an 
undisputed singing champion. Now, nearly 15 years in the business, 
she's ready to take on more challenges.

Spurred on by the success of her "R2K" album and concert (which she 
directed herself) and a recent hit movie with Robin Padilla ("Kailangan 
Ko'y Ikaw"), Regine has many things to thank for this year, and is excited 
at the prospect of doing more movies in 2001. Maybe a few more romantic 
comedies, "Kasi 'yun pa lang yung kaya kong gawin," Regine notes 

"I enjoy doing films. I know that I have so much to learn - ang daming 
puwedeng mangyari sa pelikula, roles that I have yet to try."

The sting of that much talked about incident at the U.S. embassy, which 
rocked her life mid-year, is behind her but Regine doesn't hide the fact 
that situations and bad publicity like those can still affect her. "I 
can't say that before I entered the business na prepared ako. Actually, 
hindi ako masyadong prepared kasi taga-probinsya ako. 'Di naman from 
showbiz ang parents ko. I started [in showbiz] when I was 16, lumaki rin 
ako dito," notes Regine, having to grow up fast in the entertainment biz.

Regine admits that public perception is quite important in the playing 
field that she is in, and that's why she is careful in giving out 
statements. She'd still like to try other markets outside the Philippines 
but for now, she says, "'Di naman ako yung tipong pipilitin ko yung 'di 
talaga." Everything has been rosy since. She has recently launched her 
1st live album, "Songbird Sings the Classics" under Viva Records. It has 
always been her dream to produce a live album, which took off from a
Westin Phil. Plaza concert she staged in October and includes cuts such
as "Songbird," "You Will Be My Music," "If You Go Away," "What are 
You Doing the Rest of Your Life" and medleys of Henry Mancini and 

Does she remember how all of this started? Regine recalls that when she 
began joining those singing contests at age 6, she didn't worry too much 
about her chances of winning. "Basta alam ko lang, gusto kong 
kumanta. And that's how it started, nagjo-join lang ako ng mga amateur 
singing contests. Most of the time I would lose, so hindi ko alam na 
magaling ako."

But it didn't take Regine long to build on her dream. It is foremost fun 
for her, and she relished the thought of someday emulating her 1st role 
models, among them: Imelda Papin, Eva Eugenio and Claire Dela Fuente. 
Now, thanks to a string of hits and a successful crossover to the movies, 
she is getting her fair share of fame. Regine says it still feels 'weird' to be 
recognized and approached by people on the street, especially if she 
goes out wearing no make-up. "Dati, 'di naman ako nakikilala,
and I look different on T.V."

Regine's star is also shining abroad, having released 3 international 
albums for the Asian market, but it is really here where she wants to make 
her mark and stay: "There are so many things I have yet to do before I can 
establish myself (around Asia), unlike here... dito ako nakatira. Marami 
rin kasing sacrifices na kailangang gawin."

That includes living abroad and away from her family, which she doesn't 
want to leave behind because they have stuck with her through the 
beginning. "My family has been behind me all the way. They have kept me 
grounded. They're the reason why I did this, because I wanted to help my 
family. We were very poor and I wanted to help them out. Gusto ko lang 
mapag-aral yung mga kapatid ko, that was my dream before. Now, I am able 
to do that and more. This business has really helped me a lot."

Till now, she is very close to each of her siblings, she is the eldest of 5 
children, and the love obviously extends to her nieces and nephew (kids of 
her sisters, Cacai and Diane): 2-yr. olds Hannah Mitra and Tristan Troy 
Roque and 4-month old Alliyah Roque, who joined her for this shoot. Hannah 
is the daughter of singer, Cacai Velasquez and theater veteran, Raul Mitra 
while Troy and Alliyah are Diane and lawyer, Omar Roque's pride and joy.

Every free time she has, she would try to take them out shopping 
(which she absolutely loves to do) or to the movies.

Regine says that while her interest in doing movies has increased, she 
isn't laying low on doing concerts. She will be bidding the year goodbye 
with a bang in a concert at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City this Dec. 
30, where she re-teams with Gerard Salonga as her musical director, and 
hopes to replicate the success of "R2K" next year.

Adjusting to the contrasting paces of movie-making and concert production 
takes some work but Regine is up to the challenge - realizing where she 
needs to be patient (at location shoots) and where time is money (in front 
of an immediate, active audience). She agrees that there are similarities 
between acting out a scene and interpreting a song, only that in singing, 
"You have only 3 minutes to convince everybody how you really feel - 
that you really feel the message of the song."

Regine certainly has quite of a feel where her career is going. She views 
her venture into concert directing as "evolving as an artist."

"As you become more aware of what you do, you want to be more involved 
in your career. I know what I can do and cannot do," says Regine. While she 
has directed a concert of good friend, Jaya, a few months back, she says 
that she doesn't really see herself directing other artists in the 
future. She recalls that ideas just started to pour in, and she was 
very glad to get asked to handle the show.

With the success of her concerts, she is invariably compared to other 
crowd-drawing concert performers, notably the Concert Queen herself, Pops 
Fernandez. She isn't keen on taking titles from established colleagues, 
though she feels flattered to be mentioned in the same 
breath. "Nag-uumpisa pa lang ako, 'Pops Fernandez' na siya. I don't 
deserve that (comparison). I'm just really working hard. I'm glad that 
people are watching my concerts. Nakaka-pressure rin. For us, it's 
another 'trophy.' It's a big responsibility because people tend to believe 
(what they read). I'm just working. I happen to love what I do and I'm 
happy with my career. I'm happy where I am now. I'm quite happy 
with my name."

More than sheer talent, Regine who is also known as Asia's Songbird, 
believes that it's hard work that has made a difference in her career, 
especially in a very competitive field. She didn't think that she'd be in 
the business this long but is quite happy that people have remained very 
supportive. "I've always worked hard in everything that I do. I believe 
that to achieve something, kahit sekretarya ka lang - to be good at what 
you do - you really have to work hard. Love your craft, first of 
all. Hindi nagbago yung posisyon ko sa anumang meron na ako ngayon.

"I really love doing this. I love singing. I always say that I have the 
coolest job. I love what I do and I am getting paid for it."

She adds that she doesn't play favorites anymore when choosing her 
repertoire but it takes her a little bit more time to study dance tunes, 
admitting that she isn't a natural dancer.

And as we see her growing affection towards her cute pamangkins,
we asked her if having a family of her own has crossed her mind. She says 
'yes' but knows fully well that time hasn't allowed it yet. "I don't think  
there is such a thing as a perfect man for you. It's up to me
para makita ko siya kung ga'no siya ka-perfect para sa akin."

In the meantime, she is bent on concentrating on her career. Regine is 
studying the possibility of doing a Broadway-inspired show where she will 
be doing hits from Broadway musicals. Or maybe do movies again with the 
likes of Christopher de Leon, Cesar Montano or Robin Padilla ("It's a blast 
working with him. He's a perfect gentleman.") One thing is for sure: 
Regine is committed to work even harder, agreeing that she has become a 
perfectionist in many ways.

"Once you get to a certain age or stage of your career, you tend to be more 
specific or nitpicky about things. Now that I am producing my own albums, 
I have become more nitpicky about things I never really thought about 
before. Every little detail napapansin ko."

Meeting people's expectations (perhaps including her own) serves as a good 
motivation. "You want everything to be as close to perfect, if not 
perfect, the closest you can get to being perfect."

But off work, Regine describes herself with another 'p' word - that of 
being 'plain.' While she enjoys treating her family out, Regine says she 
relishes the few times that she's given a chance to rest - staying home 
when she's done fulfilling engagements. Those moments won't be too many 
since she has been very busy promoting her live album and upcoming 
year-ending concert. She may have to put off vacation plans for a while 
but what's important for her this Christmas is spending it with the people 
she cares most about, her family.

Date originally posted:
Sat, 23 Dec 2000

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