Regine Velasquez on the cover of her album Covers: Volume 2
|Genre(s)||Pop, Rock, r&b, Jazz, blues, Acoustic, Ballad|
Regina Encarnacion Ansong Velasquez (born April 22, 1970), also known as Asia's Songbird, is a ballad, jazz, pop, pop rock, and r&b singer, actress, sex icon, gay icon, model, entrepreneur, and record producer from the Philippines.
Outside the Philippines, she is known for the song "In Love with You" sung with Hong Kong's Jacky Cheung. She has also collaborated with international artists including Paul Anka, David Hasselhoff, 98 Degrees , Mandy Moore, Brian McKnight and Michel Legrand.
Early life and family, 1970–1983
Regine Velasquez was born to a poor family in Manila, Philippines on April 22, 1970, the first child of Teresita and Gerry Velasquez. They later moved to Hinundayan, Southern Leyte. There she studied at Henundayan Central School.
At six years old, Velasquez joined an amateur singing contest, singing Buhat Nang Kita'y Makilala. She did not know how to read at that time, so her father would sing it to her and she would memorize the lyrics. She lost that contest, but was given a special award for the brave performance. With the support of her parents, Velasquez joined various singing competitions in provinces around the country. Out of 200 competitions she entered, Velasquez won 67 of them. At nine years old, she and her family moved to Bulacan, where she continued her elementary education at Balagtas Central School. She later studied at St. Laurence High School, the school to which she attributes her good English diction. She also credits her singing talent to her father, who would submerge her in water up to her neck and have her do vocal exercises to strengthen her voice.
Early commercial success, 1984–1989
At the age of fourteen, Velasquez entered Bagong Kampeon, a television contest featuring the singing talents of Filipinos. She qualified with "Saan Ako Nagkamali", chosen by her father, and won with "In Your Eyes". The prize was a record deal from Octoarts. She recorded the single "Love Me Again" under the name "Chona Velasquez." Despite the flop of this single, Velasquez was invited to the talk-show Penthouse Live on February 16, 1986. Ronnie Henares, the show's producer, offered to manage her career; she accepted. Concert mogul Martin Nievera, a Penthouse Live co-host, suggested she change her name to the more glamorous "Regine." That same year, her father resigned from his job as a construction estimator to fully attend to his daughter's career. Velasquez earned the money to send her siblings to school.
In 1987 Velasquez released her self-titled debut album at the age of seventeen. The album contained tracks like "Kung Maibabalik Ko Lang", "Isang Lahi" and "Urong Sulong", anchoring her place in the Philippine music scene. Soon she released a string of successful albums such as Nineteen 90 and the award-winning Talaga Talaga, producing several hits.
Asian stardom, 1990–1998
Velasquez represented the Philippines in the Asia-Pacific Singing Contest held in Hong Kong. On December 23, 1989, she won the contest with her songs, "You'll Never Walk Alone" and "And I'm Telling You". The contest sky-rocketed her from Filipino celebrity to Asian music superstar; from then on, she was hailed as Asia's Songbird.
Velasquez's first pan-Asian studio album was the well-received Listen Without Prejudice, released in 1994. The album featured the hit "In Love with You" with Jacky Cheung, "Follow the Sun", "What Kind of Fool Am I", and "Reason Enough". Its sales totalled over 300,000 units throughout east Asia. Two further best-selling albums were released in the region: My Love Emotion, which doubled the success of her preceding album, and Retro, which contained covers ("revival cuts").
In 1990, Cameron Mackintosh Group, makers of Les Miserables and Miss Saigon auditioned Velasquez and others in New York, offering roles to Velasquez and Jamie Rivera. Velasquez, citing inadequate theatrical experience, declined the offer and stayed in the Philippines.
Velasquez's prominence blossomed during the 1990s. 1993 saw the release of her fourth LP Reason Enough, which attained platinum status. It featured songs such as "Sana'y Maulit Muli", "Babalikang Muli", and her duet with Gary Valenciano, "Slip Away". It also included a collaboration with music legend Paul Anka, called "It's Hard to Say Goodbye".
By 1996, Velasquez recorded her first Christmas album, entitled Love Was Born on Christmas Day. She then released her multi-platinum Drawn, which featured a hand-sketched self-portrait. The album comprised a mix of original and cover tracks. Hard-hitting songs like "How Could You Leave", "I'll Never Say Goodbye", and "Ikaw" celebrated her finesse and vocal power. The single "Emotion" was produced by Mark Feist, who later produced the Destiny's Child cover of the same song in 2001 with little variation.
Velasquez' career has not been without its share of intrigues. Early in her rise to fame she was rumoured to have undergone plastic surgery by having her nose redone; she denied this, saying that redoing her nose would have altered the sound of her voice. Talk about this issue continued to resurface, but has vanished over time.
In 2000, she was involved in a visa row, being accused of people smuggling after reports of unknown individuals not part of her U.S. Tour entourage were accompanied unbeknownst to her, to be then left behind in America. Her U.S. visa was revoked, and she would never be able to return to American soil. But in just under a year, the case was resolved through the help of immigration lawyer Michael Gurfinkel. It was in April 2005 when Velasquez gave the first interview about her plight five years before, on TFC's premiere of the show Citizen Pinoy, also hosted by Gurfinkel. She talked about how she should have been aware of every detail in her entourage, she was keen on the fact that she ought to be more cautious over her personnel and crew.
Velasquez was been criticized for imittating Mariah Carey's singing style and fashion sense including her butterfly trademark which was featured on her album cover of r2k showing it as a tattoo on her lower back. Her music video of her signature song On the Wings of Love was also been inspired of butterflies similar to what mariah has.
In mid 2000's, ABS-CBN news posted a rumor about Mariah Carey's deregatory mark on regine velaquez that's took place in an interview with Mtv asia's vj Donita Rose. According to the article, Mariah carey admires regine's vocal powess but later on quoted it "a brown monkey who can sing". It was later confirmed, however, no such interview ever occurred in the first place.
Music was only the first arena for her success. As a spokesperson, she helped increase the presence of American fast-food chains like KFC and Wendy's in Asia. As an actress, she appeared in a number of Filipino films that benefited greatly from Regine's popularity. She has also hosted various TV shows. She has also embarked on a successful series of reality singing constests. She has also done dramatic roles. She played the lead role in her own soap opera for primetime where she played a woman searching for her soulmate and is torn between two men vying for her love. She also started her own record label called Songbird Music where she helps budding singers start their own career. She has produced songs for Gabby Eigenmann, Roselle Nava and Sarah Geronimo. Her flair for fashion and her fashion icon status led her to embarking a successful line of elegant and chic clothings branded as Regine where she herself draws and conceptualises the designs. She recently published Regine: The Book, a coffee-table book comprising a five-year memento of her portraits.
The Philippine Department Of Tourism and partners Smart Telecommunications, Jollibee Food Corp., Shell Philippines and Pfizer has launched its biggest travel advocacy campaign calledI Love the Philippines, Biyahe Na. The latest scheme, with a new theme, slogan, and jingle, is being promoted mainly through print, radio, and television advertisements. Colorful drop banners domain thoroughfares of major cities and destinations across the Philippines. It has selected Regine Velasquez to record the song and serve as the official product endorser. The television advertisement paraded a montage of Philippine destinations with Velasquez in every backdrop.
Velasquez has molded a productive and rewarding career in music and commercial endorsement, but she wasn't delimited to that alone. Eventually, her status has paved the way for her successful crossover to film. She has carved her way into doing movies and has starred in a string of blockbuster movies which her star power alone was a force reckon with.
In 1987, she got her first movie role as the grand-daughter of a mafia clan involved in crimes in the film The Untouchable Family. It didn't showcase much of Regine's popularity as one of today's biggest and bankable actress, but it was an appropriate start. She soon ventured into comedy films where she got an extra boost as one of the leads. Her 1988 film Pik Pak Boom with contemporaries Dingdong Avanzado, Herbert Bautista and Bing Loyzayga was a "Friends"-like flick. She then co-starred with comedians Joey de Leon and the late Rene Requistas in the flick Elvis and James where she plays a nerdy music aficionado and the love interest of the two.
Her film career took a quick hiatus, but she returned to the big screen in 1996 for her very first lead role in the film Wanted Perfect Mother where she plays a feisty vagrant club-singer who becomes nanny to four children at the same time falling for their widowed dad. Her next movie in 1997 entitled Do Re Mi, is a musical comedy about three friends in the midst of their grueling and sometimes hilarious attempts to land a record deal and become a full-pledge singing group. She plays a radio disc jockey and the mediator for her two overtly different friends. 1998 was the release of Honey Nasa Langit Na Ba Ako where Regine plays a ghost, she was a soon-to-be-bride who dies in a car accident days before her big day. She desperately tries to tag her way into finding the perfect woman for her lonely husband.
1998 was her big team-up with matinee idol Aga Muhlach in the romantic film Dahil May Isang Ikaw which was well-received. With albums, concerts and television shows here and there, Velasquez still had room for doing enormously successful films. In 2000, she starred opposite bad boy of Philippine cinema, Robin Padilla in Kailangan Ko'y Ikaw, a film about a popular female star who falls in love with an ordinary fan of hers. She then reunited with Aga Muhlach in 2001 for their second romantic offering Pangako Ikaw Lang which spawned Regine the highly coveted Box-Office Queen award from the Guillermo Mendoza Memorial Scholarship Foundation, a prestigious award-giving body honoring the year's best.
Velasquez did two more romantic films in 2002 and 2003 called Ikaw Lamang, Hanggang Ngayon with respected and award-winning actor Richard Gomez and Pangarap Ko ang Ibigin Ka this time with another award-winning actor Christopher de Leon. It was on December 2003 when Velasquez debuted in her first Sci-fi, fantasy film Captain Barbell where she plays the love interest of the crime fighting Philippine superhero.
Velasquez' popularity showed no signs of ceasing, she ushered the new millennium when she sang the Philippine Millennium Anthem entitled "Written In The Sand" atop the Manila Peninsula, a famous hotel, which was broadcasted live all over the world. She then released an album entitled R2K which stand for Regine 2000, a fitting theme patterned from the symbol Y2K which was a massive cause of hysteria prior to the coming of 2000. The album consisted revival cuts from international artists and spawned a sixtuple platinum award, with hits such as "On the Wings of Love", "Fallin", "I'll Never Love This Way Again". and "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing". She then embarked on a major solo concert titled R2K Concert on back-to-back nights which was hailed as one of the greatest shows by an Asian performer in the last 25 years.
Two years later, with a couple of movies and several hit concerts in between, she returned to the studio and released an all original LP album befittingly titled Reigne, a play of letters from her name. The album also achieved enormous success with hits like "To Reach You", "Dadalhin", and "Sa Aking Pag-iisa"
She continued to juggle her singing, film, television, and advertising career, and has reaped numerous awards and accolades for it. In 2002, she was awarded a Best Actress award for television in her dramatic role of a troubled retarded thirty-year-old woman seeking acceptance and love. It was the same year where she staged her very first open-air concert called One Night with Regine set at the majestic stairs of the Philippine National Museum, the concert was recognized by a Malaysian tabloid as it's number one pick for the most promising concert event in Asia. For 2003, she reunited with concert king Martin Nievera to topbill in what was to be the mother of all back-to-back concerts. The Martin Nievera and Regine Velasquez World Concert Tour was a definite triumph, a fusion of two music royalties whom individually could sell-out "standing room only" arena concerts.
The first quarter of 2004 saw Regine and co-artist, singer-songwriter Ogie Alcasid in a much-anticipated back-to-back concerts simply tagged The Songbird and the Songwriter. People pretty much had an idea of what to expect from the singers since they have been constantly working on songs for Velasquez' soundtrack albums in the past.
December 2004 was Velasquez' return to major solo concert performance. She successfully staged another set of back-to-back concert performances regally titled Reigning Still. The show was triumphant amidst a series of typhoons that ravaged Manila and nearby provinces. Reigning Still wasn't a culmination of Velasquez' career, it was a bridge to a new level in her career – maturity – in performance and in work. She moved on with the event and for two consecutive nights, Regine conquered the coliseum again on her own. The concert was not full to its maximum capacity on the first night (considering that Manila's streets are still flooded at that time) but the second night was a real full house. Never mind since it has been declared Sold Out two weeks before the concert which means even if people didn't make it, tickets were already bought and sold. That's very important especially that Velasquez donned the hat of producer and director. The concert was a showcase of what Velasquez has learned in her craft through the years. It is a spectacle of her running concepts, ideas and style where you can see a Velasquez touch in every detail of it. The concert though was more pop in nature, high spirited, experimental and upbeat, following the trend of recent concerts by Britney Spears, Janet Jackson, and Christina Aguilera
Regine Covers, 2005–present
In 2005, Velasquez and singer Pops Fernandez teamed-up for a back-to-back concert entitled Queens On Fire, which was a pre-valentine presentation for Filipino fans because Regine and Pops had never staged a back-to-back concert in the Philippines, mostly they were tours abroad. As regularly expected, Regine and Pops brought the concert abroad for an eight-city U.S. tour. She also had her concert at Aliw Theatre in the whole month of November and December. Together with her special guest are Jonalyn Viray and the Comedy Concert Queen Ai-Ai Delas Alas.
She released another LP record and her latest revival album in four years which was aptly titled Covers. This time it featured OPM classics of male singers like Basil Valdez, Martin Nievera, Gary Valenciano, Ogie Alcasid, Side A, and Ariel Rivera. It redefined a female touch to songs only a male would dare sing and Velasquez masterfully created another pop-culture phenomenon. This album broke records when it reached platinum status barely five days after its release date. Velasquez, who also had her soundtrack album Kailangan Ko'y Ikaw in 2000 turned gold status in just two days of its release, continued to thrive to the line tagged to her which runs "everything she touches turns platinum", referring to all her records who have always attained platinum status.
After once more making pop music history a year ago with Covers: Volume 1, Regine Velasquez, pushes the envelop even further with her 14th album Covers: Volume 2. Her most ambitious production to date the album is made up of foreign pop favorites presented with innovative arrangements from rnb/hip-hop, jazz, pop rock, pop ballad, and blues showing her vocal versatility. Regine in the album is the superb interpreter who takes on well-established favorites and gives them her own twist. The album contains 16 cuts which are all revivals, her first single is Hold Me In Your Arms, which is originally popularized by Southern Sons. It also includes the song Head Over Feet by Alanis Morissette, Straight Up by Paula Abdul, Xanadu by Olivia Newton John and her own rendition of On The Radio by Donna Summer which is a big different from the original one.
2006 is a big bag for the Asia's Songbird, because after she released her album she will have her Valentine concert at the Araneta Coliseum entitled Foreverafter. It's a back-to-back concert with Ogie Alcasid, Rico Puno and the Comedy Concert Queen Ai Delas Alas.
Velasquez is credited as having a four-octave vocal range that requires head voice using her chest voice. She is skillfully adept in hitting very high notes and can reach from 6th to 7th octave when she shifts to falseto or rarely whistle register (This latter claim has been largely contested though). She is classified as a Lyric soprano. She is famous for her effortless and exceptional sustained belting while doing her vocal acrobatics in the key of her highest pitch. She has exhibited her belting and sheer lung power while singing onstage sitting in lotus position and even while being suspended up on a harness in mid-air and also while lying on bed. Her highest hit note so far in full voice is c6 on her live rendition of Whitney Houston's "I Have Nothing" when she pulled the word "arms" (stay in my arms if you dare) and also b5 f#5 (while singing Light in a million mornings), f6 (on the song more than words can say sung in whistle register). Her lowest is a2 ("come together" covers volume 2}. She credits this from her father's vocal training technique wherein she is submerged in neck-deep waters and she runs through her singing exrecises to strengthen her diaphragm and build up her vocal cords and lungpower. This paved the way for a genre of belting for female singers in Philippines music. Her vocal style has been heard in many female singers, and has influenced the likes of Kyla, Sheryn Regis, Sarah Geronimo, and Rachelle Ann Go.
- Velasquez sings Fantasia's "I Believe"
- Velasquez in her younger years — "What Kind of Fool"
- Reigning Memorabilia
- More Regine Live Performances
- Regine was discovered by Kuh Ledesma who guested her in a TV show where Regine appealed to song-writer Cecille Azarcon to make good music for her.
- Regine (VIVA, 1987)
- Nineteen '90 (Vicor, 1990)
- Tagala Talaga (Vicor, 1991)
- Reason Enough (Polycosmic, 1993)
- Listen Without Prejudice - Asian Release (Polygram, 1994)
- My Love Emotion - Asian Release (Polygram, 1995)
- My Love Emotion Japanese Release (Polygram, 1995)
- Retro - Asian Release (Polygram, 1996)
- Love Was Born on Christmas Day (VIVA, 1996)
- Very Special (Polygram, 1998)
- Drawn (VIVA, 1998)
- R2K (VIVA, 1999)
- Unsolo (Poly East, 2000)
- Regine Live! Songbird Sings The Classics (VIVA, 2000)
- Reigne (VIVA, 2001)
- Greatest Hits (VIVA, 2002)
- The Songbird and the Songwriter (VIVA 2003)
- Covers Volume 1 (VIVA 2004)
- Regine duets (VIVA 2005)
- Covers Volume 2 (VIVA 2006)
- Pik Pak Boom (1988)
- Separada (VIVA, 1995)
- Wanted Perfect Mother (VIVA, 1996)
- Adarna (Polycosmic, 1997)
- Do Re Mi (VIVA, 1997)
- Honey Nasa Langit Na Ba Ako (VIVA, 1998)
- Kailangan Ko'y Ikaw (VIVA, 2000)
- Pangako Ikaw Lang (VIVA, 2001)
- Pangarap Ko Ang Ibigin Ka (VIVA, 2003)
- Captain Barbell (VIVA 2003)
- Love Me Again (Octo Arts, 1986)
- Special Limited Edition (Vicor, 1990)
- My Love Emotion (Polycosmic, 1995)
- Fly/I Can't Help It (Polycosmic, 1996)
- Shine (VIVA 2005)
- 'Di Na Mag-Iisa (April 2005) (Darna Official Theme Song)
- The Untouchable Family (1987)
- Pik Pak Boom (1988)
- Elvis and James 2 (1988)
- Wanted: Perfect Mother (1996)
- Do Re Mi (1997)
- Honey Nasa Langit Na Ba Ako (1998)
- Dahil May Isang Ikaw (1999)
- Kailangan Ko'y Ikaw (2000)
- Pangako Ikaw Lang (2001)
- Ikaw Lamang Hanggang Ngayon (2002)
- Pangarap Ko Ang Ibigin Ka (2003)
- Captain Barbell played as Darna (2004)
- "Kenkoy and Rosing" (Sept. 1991) - played Rosing
- "Noli Me Tangere" (July-August 1995) - played Maria Clara
- SOP (Sobrang Okey Pare) (present)
- Forever in My Heart (2004–2005)
- Pinoy Pop Superstar (present)
- Search for a Star (2003)
- Star for a Night (2002)
- Mr Kupido — "Reason Enough" 1993, With Apa Ongpin and Jenine Desiderio
- Ober Da Bakod 1994
- Spotlight 1994, With Ariel Rivera
- Ikaw, Ako At Ang Awit December 22, 1996, With Gary Valenciano
- Mikee - "The Black Triangle" February 26, 1997, With Donna Cruz and Mikee Cojuangco
- Mikee Forever May 26, 1999
- Kool Ka Lang September 7, 1999
- Habang May Buhay - "Sa Puso Ko'y Ikaw" July 20, 2000, With Piolo Pascual
- Pwedeng Pwede September 13, 2000
- Larawan July 4, 2001, With Dingdong Dantes
- Beh Bote Nga August 22, 2001
- Maalaala Mo Kaya - "Lobo" November 8, 2001, With Piolo Pascual
- Huling Yakap Sa Tag-araw April 27, 2003, With Dingdong Dantes
- OK Fine Whatever, May 2003
- Idol Ko Si Kap, December 2003
- Sharon, (Varying Dates of Guesting)
- Tanging Ina, May 2004
Star Awards For Television:
- Best Actress (for her role on Maalaala Mo Kaya "Lobo") - 2002
- Best Female Host (for S.O.P) - 2005
MTV Asia Awards:
- Favorite (Philippine) Artist - 2003
- Favorite (Philippine) Artist - 2002
MTV Pilipinas Awards:
- Favorite Female Artist - 2001
- Best Performance by a female artist (for "Kailangan Ko'y Ikaw") - 2001
- Best Duet Performance (for "Habang May Buhay" with Jaya) - 2001
- Best Duet Performance (for "Forever" with Martin Nievera) - 1995
- Best Performance by a female artist (for "Sana Maulit Muli") - 1994
- Best Duet Performance (for "Muli" with Gary V.) - 1994
- Best Pop Female Vocals (for "You've Made Me Stronger") - 1996
- Best Major Concert Act - 2004
- Best Major Concert Act - 2003
- Best Major Concert Collaboration - 2003
- Best Major Concert Act - 2002
- Best Major Concert Female Act - 2001
- Best Major Concert Female Act - 2000
- Most Promising Entertainer - 1987
Guillermo Mendoza Foundation:
- Box-Office Queen for 2001
- Most Popular Female Entertainer for 2004
- Most Popular Female Entertainer for 2003
- Most Popular Female Entertainer for 2002
- Most Popular Female Entertainer for 2000
- Most Popular Female Entertainer for 1999
- Most Popular Female Entertainer for 1998
- Most Popular Female Entertainer for 1997
- Most Popular Female Entertainer for 1996
- Most Popular Female Entertainer for 1995
- Most Popular Female Entertainer for 1994
- Most Popular Female Entertainer for 1993
- Most Popular Female Entertainer for 1992
- Most Popular Female Entertainer for 1991
Album awards (local or Philippines only):
- "Regine" - gold
- "Regine Special Edition" - double platinum
- "Nineteen '90" - double platinum
- "Tagala Talaga" - gold
- "Reason Enough" - platinum
- "Listen without Prejudice" - platinum
total sales of 300,000 units in Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia
- "My Love Emotion" - platinum
- "OST of 'Wanted: Perfect Mother'" - platinum
- "Retro" - triple platinum
- "Drawn" - triple platinum
- "R2K" - 6X platinum
- "OST of 'Kailangan Ko'y Ikaw'" - triple platinum
- "Regine Live: Songbird Sings the Classics" - double platinum
- "OST of 'Pangako... Ikaw Lang'" - platinum
- "Reigne" - platinum
- OST of "Pangarap Ko ang Ibigin Ka" - gold
- "Regine: Greatest Hits" - platinum
- "The Songbird and The Songwriter" - platinum
- "Covers" - quadruple platinum