Mr. & Ms. Magazine, Dec. 26, 2000
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
BARRY MANILOW hits.
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
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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