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Article 11



June 2, 1999

Songbird in Celluloid
by Ramil Digall Gulle

VINDICATION is sweetest after you've been put down in an extreme way. Not
that Regine Velasquez has ever been put down except the one or two
controversial love affairs she had in the past, which are better not talked
about here (what with politician-singers like Dingdong Avanzado screaming
libel at the Manila Standard).

Okay let's rewind back to the '80s, when the young singing sensations were
Bing Loyzaga, Lilet, Jamie Rivera, Mariz and, of course, Regine Velasquez.
Regine recalled how, during a Coca-Cola-sponsored concert tour, people would
come up to them and greet them.

Here's the rub: when people came up to Bing, Lilet, et al., they would say
"Ang ganda mo naman!" but when they came up to Regine, all they said was
"Naku, Regine, ang galing-galing mong kumanta!"

This rankled a bit, especially since Regine didn't do any singing before
that comment. She was just sitting there, smiling and greeting people. Of
course, she appreciated the praise for her singing but still....

But times change, and nowadays it's not unusual to hear Regine exclaim
something like, "Ay naku, sorry na lang kayo. Isa akong diyosa." Yes, she
has transformed from plain-looking newcomer to a goddess. In Taiwan. In Hong
Kong. In Singapore. In Korea, for Chris sakes.

Regine talked about her Taiwanese fans with a kind of giddy, giggly
excitement that showed how surprised yet pleased she was at this development
in her career.

"When I first got there [in Taiwan] nagulat ako kasi may mga Taiwanese fans
sa airport, na may dala pang banner welcoming me," Regine said. She first
felt surprise, then suspicion. Did someone actually pay these Taiwanese to
welcome her?

Eventually, she did find out that her fans in Taiwan as well as those in
Malaysia, Korea, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Singapore and China were the real thing.

Perhaps Regine shouldn't have been that surprised. Her album, Listen Without
Prejudice, went double-platinum status in Taiwan, platinum in Indonesia, and
gold in Malaysia, China, Hong Kong and Singapore.

The tremendous response to Listen Without Prejudice prompted Polycosmic
Records Regine's record company back then to take Regine on a promotional
tour in those countries.

And her fans' reaction?

"'Day, gandang-ganda sila sa akin. Diyos ko, puro 'You're so beautiful!' ang
sinasabi nila sa akin. Pati mga lalaki," Regine said. Male fans even lined
up for her to sign autographs on their bare chests.

Regine had to work from 7 am till as late as 11 pm during the tour, hopping
from one TV show to another, radio stations, record stores, the works. And
dig this: most of the TV people couldn't believe how someone as pretty as
Regine could sing so well.

So they asked her to sing with a minus one and then sing again in a cappella
this was just to make sure that she wasn't lip-synching to someone else's
voice. One cannot help but wonder if Regine felt insulted by this. But in
any case, she still indulged the disbelief of her hosts and proved the
extent and authenticity of her talent.

Regine also found out that in those countries, her album was positioned in
the "International Music" section. She has also discovered that as of
Regine's last count there are eight Regine Velasquez Web sites, put up by
devoted fans for her. There are chatrooms where fans converge and chat
about Regine.

And of course, by now everyone knows about Regine's duets with the likes of
Paul Anka, David Hasselhoff and Hong Kong artist Jacky Cheung. Do we notice
a trend here? Is Regine on her way to becoming one of our few certified
international stars?

To do that, any artist with the ambition should inevitably break into the US
market. Still, Regine isn't rushing into the prospect. According to her, it
will take a great deal of hard work, not to mention a lot of luck, to
penetrate the extremely competitive music scene in the US.

"It takes more than just talent and beauty to make it there. Kung mahirap
dito, mas mahirap doon ten times over to make it. Nandoon nga lahat ng
ginagaya natin, eh," she said.

Besides her successful singing career, Regine is also busy with her acting.
Her latest movie, Dahil May Isang Ikaw under Viva Films, is coming soon in
theaters. The film pairs her for the very first time with Aga Muhlach.

In the movie, she plays a struggling young businesswoman who, unfortunately,
has a family background that narrow-minded prudes would stick their noses
at: her mother and grandmother were former bar girls.

Still, this fact doesn't stop fate from arranging her rendezvous with Cebu's
most eligible bachelor, a rich, handsome guy played by Aga Muhlach. Regine's
character literally bumps into Aga's she backs up her van into his
sportscar. After the necessary twists and turns in the story, their
characters eventually become drawn to each other and fall in love and live
happily, wait, wait a minute!

Aga's character happens to be engaged to another rich, lovely girl played by
Ailleen Damiles. So what ever will happen next? To find out, why not check
out Dahil May Isang Ikaw when it opens?

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" Let another man praise thee,
and not thy own mouth;
a stranger, and not thine own lips."

-Regine Velasquez Articles-