Sheryn Regis returns to her roots

(The Freeman) - June 16, 2021 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  Power belter Sheryn Regis has had her share of racial discrimination against Asian Americans, including when she flew back to the United States in 2019. She recalls an incident with a U.S. Customs officer who mistook her to be a Chinese national.

“December, noong umuwi ako doon [U.S.] kasi nagstart na ‘yung COVID, may haka-haka na about COVID [na nanggaling sa China] at naka-mask ako. Pina-stop ako sa Customs at sabi niya ‘Wait, wait’ kasi sobrang puti ko at maliit ‘yung mata ko, akala nila sa China ako galing,” she recalled.

“They said, ‘Are you Chinese?’ ‘No I’m Filipino’ ‘Okay go’. Akala nila Chinese ako. Nag-start sila [Americans] na Chinese people made the virus. Kaya natatakot ako sa ating mga kababayan, hindi lang para sa mga Chinese, sa mga Asians, lahat.”

The surge of Asian hate crimes was one of the reasons why Sheryn decided not to return to the U.S. After a 10-year showbiz hiatus, the 31-year-old singer marked her return to Star Music with the single “Tulad ng Dati,” which talks about the pain of being “ghosted,” of pondering on one’s experience of rejection, and trying to find answers after she is left hanging on to the feelings without apparent warning.

The singer, hailed as the Crystal Voice of Asia, said she does feel regret in leaving the Philippines at the height of her career.

“Sobra, kasi parang feeling ko when I left the Philippines, okay na, simpleng buhay, or ayoko mapagod. Pero nakakapagod pala kapag hindi ako kumakanta sa Pilipinas kasi akala ko okay ‘dun [sa America], magko-concert ako ‘dun. Nagtuturo ako pero iba pa rin ‘yung mag-perform para sa aking mga kababayan dito sa Pilipinas at mag-record ng mga singles ko.”

Having resided in Texas for a decade with husband Earl and daughter Sweety, the Carcar native has imbibed the singing styles of her environment including the yodeling of the country genre, R&B, and hiphop. She also explored gospel songs. As she slowly makes her presence felt in the Philippine music scene anew, will acting be also in the cards?

“Acting is so welcome for me. I don’t know if i-we-welcome nila ako but I know that ABS-CBN Music can lead me to that acting career because I can always do that, I want to go back to that also. Kasi nagawa ko naman ‘yung acting before.”

Sheryn rose to fame after finishing first runner-up in “Search for the Star in a Million” in 2003 that had Erik Santos winning and had Christian Bautista also in the batch. After almost two decades, Sheryn remains good friends with her former competitors.

“Minsan nagkaka-unite kami sa KUMU app, nagstre-stream kami so nagkakausap kami. Like Erik, February 28 last year, nag-concert ako, isa siya sa mga guests noon so talagang nandiyan pa rin ‘yung suportahan namin. Pero nakaka-miss talaga, iba pa rin ‘yung yung batch namin.”

Sheryn, who has lent her voice for various ABS-CBN teleserye theme songs and has four multi-platinum awarded albums and five gold record awards under her belt, currently hosts “Kalderoke: The Singing and Cooking Showdown” on Kapamilya Channel. — NIEL ANTHONY LAJOT, Silliman University Intern

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