Regine still Asia’s songbird

LIVE FEED - Bibsy M. Carballo (The Philippine Star) - December 24, 2014 - 12:00am

If one were to go by records and distinctions made, Regine Velasquez-Alcasid would win, hands down. We remember her from the early years when her dad, the late Mang Gerry would be her teacher and manager all rolled into one. We recall how he would train her, bringing her to the sea near their home and give her breathing and singing lessons right there on the water. We don’t exactly know how this contributed to her singing prowess, but pretty soon she would win praises for her performances.

Soon enough, she became widely known for possessing an extensive vocal range, hailed by the Philippine Association of the Record Industry (PARI) as the country’s Best Selling Artist of All Time with more than seven million albums sold in the Philippines and 1.5 million in Asia. She got to be known as Asia’s Songbird.

In 1994, Polygram Records produced her first Asia-released album, Listen Without Prejudice, considered as her most successful album to date, selling more than 700,000 copies in Asia. At the age of 21, she became the first Asian artist to stage a solo concert at Carnegie Hall in New York, as part of Carnegie’s centennial-year concert series. In 2002, she was also the first Filipino to win the title of Favorite Artist in the MTV Asia Awards. In 2003, she was the first Filipino artist to have a CNN Talk Asia special interview with Lorraine Hahn.

She has performed and collaborated with other international artists such as Paul Anka, 98 Degrees, Alicia Keys, Brian McKnight, Stephen Bishop, Jim Brickman, Peabo Bryson, Jacky Cheung, Grasshopper, Coco Lee, Michel Legrand, David Pomeranz, the Singaporean vocal band Skritch. 

There seemed to be no stopping her as she performed in international events such as MTV Asia Awards, UNICEF Benefit Concert in China, Perfect 10 Music Awards, Asia Live Dream Concert in Japan, SEA Games, Asian Music Scene, Miss Universe Preliminaries in the Philippines, Lunar New Year Parade and Festival in the USA, Asian TV Awards and Mosaic International Music Festival in Singapore.

She has also embarked on TV and film projects, receiving a Best Actress award for her portrayal of a mentally-challenged woman in a Maalaala Mo Kaya episode titled Lobo, and another Best Actress award for her film Of All The Things. Her movie Pangako Ikaw Lang earned her Box-Office Queen title.

Nowadays, Regine is still adjusting to having gotten married and given birth that she has to slowly return to her regular singing schedule. “Iba pala talaga ang may asawa,” she told when we got a chance to speak with her. We presume this has to do with getting used to having a partner in singer-composer and comedian Ogie Alcasid.

One thing that keeps her busy, however, is Sarap Diva, the cooking and talk show on GMA which airs every Saturday morning. Each episode features celebrity guests for the host to chat and cook with. In this show, Regine displays her love for food (Tinola is a personal favorite), and music in a family setting. The show has spawned an offer to come up with a cookbook, the prospect of which excites Regine. Sarap Diva also includes the special participation of her son, Baby Nate, and their pet dog, George. We asked her if she is a pet lover to which Regine replied that she has three cats and three dogs.

We went on to other matters including her giving birth which she said was not difficult at all. Life with Ogie, she shared, has been wonderful, adding that they had been together for four years before getting married, since that is how long it took for Ogie’s annulment to be approved. What is it that she likes most in Ogie, we pried. “He makes me laugh, until I find myself crying,” Regine shared.      

(E-mail your comments to bibsyfotos@yahoo.com or text them to 0917-8991835.)

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