Regine Velasquez

Regina Encarnacion Ansong Velasquez (/rɪˈɪn vəˈlæskɛz/ REE-jeen VEH-las-KEZ) (born April 22, 1970) is a Filipino singer, actress and record producer. She came to prominence after winning the 1984 Ang Bagong Kampeon and the 1989 Asia Pacific Singing Contest. Velasquez signed with OctoArts International under the name Chona in 1986 and released the single "Love Me Again", which was commercially unsuccessful. After adopting the stage name Regine Velasquez, she signed a recording contract with VIVA Records in 1987 and released her eponymous debut album containing the singles "Kung Maibabalik Ko Lang" and "Urong Sulong".

Regine Velasquez
Close-up image of Velasquez singing.
Velasquez performing at the Mall of Asia Arena in January 2013
Born
Regina Encarnacion Ansong Velasquez

(1970-04-22) April 22, 1970 (age 50)
Occupation
  • Singer
  • actress
  • record producer
Years active1986–present
Spouse(s)
(
m. 2010)
Children1
AwardsFull list
Musical career
Genres
InstrumentsVocals
Labels

After being signed to Polygram Records, Velasquez gained recognition in Southeast and East Asia with her albums Listen Without Prejudice (1994) and My Love Emotion (1995), the first of which became her best-selling record and produced "In Love With You", her most successful single in the 1990s. She followed this with 1996's Retro, a cover album incorporating rhythm and blues, jazz and disco. After parting ways with Polygram Records, she signed a joint deal with Los Angeles-based producer Mark Feist and VIVA Records, and released Drawn (1998). Velasquez was then given full creative control as executive producer to R2K (1999). The album became the highest-selling by a female artist in the Philippines. During this period, Velasquez ventured into acting, playing leading roles in the romantic comedy film Pangako Ikaw Lang (2001), for which she received a Box Office Entertainment Award, and the drama series Maalaala Mo Kaya (2002), which earned her a Star Award for Best Actress. She expanded her career into reality talent shows serving as a presenter in Star for a Night (2002-2004), Pinoy Pop Superstar (2004-2007), and The Clash (2018); and as a judge in StarStruck (2015) and Idol Philippines (2019).

Having sold more than 7 million records domestically and a further 1.5 million in Asia, Velasquez is the best-selling music artist of all time in the Philippines. Aside from her commercial accomplishments, Velasquez has received various awards, including two Asian Television Awards, two MTV Asia Awards, 21 Awit Awards, 22 Box Office Entertainment Awards, 15 Aliw Awards, and 10 Star Awards for Music. Referred to as "Asia's songbird", she is regarded for her vocal range and belting technique, and has been consistently credited with inspiring a generation of Filipino singers.

Early lifeEdit

"We were very poor but we were happy. My parents made sure that we ate on time and that was enough for me. [My father] had scoliosis and he was working at a construction site; he wasn’t earning enough. My mom was good with money. She was able to stretch whatever little money we had."

—Velasquez, on her childhood[1]

Regina Encarnacion Ansong Velasquez was born on April 22, 1970 in Tondo, Manila,[2][3] to Teresita (née Ansong) and Gerardo Velasquez.[4][5][6] The singer has three sisters named Cacai, Diane, and Deca, and a brother, Jojo.[6] The family moved to Hinundayan, Southern Leyte where Velasquez spent the early years of her life.[7][8] At age three, Velasquez became interested in music from listening to songs her father sang to lull her to sleep.[9] She recalled that she would listen to her mother play the guitar and piano while her father sang,[9] and referenced Sharon Cuneta's "Mr. DJ" as one of the first songs she learned.[10]

Velasquez started singing at age six,[9] initially undergoing intensive vocal training with her father who immersed her neck-deep in sea water and had her go through vocal runs.[11][12] She credits the unorthodox method in strengthening her core and stomach muscles, and developing her lung endurance.[13] Velasquez placed third in her first singing competition on Betty Mendez Livioco's The Tita Betty's Children Show.[14]

When Velasquez was nine, her family moved to Balagtas, Bulacan where she attended St. Lawrence Academy and competed for her school at the annual Bulacan Private Schools Association competition.[3] At fourteen, Velasquez auditioned for the reality television series Ang Bagong Kampeon in 1984.[3] She qualified and became the show's senior division winner defending her spot for eight consecutive weeks.[3] Velasquez went on to win the competition and was signed to a record deal with OctoArts International.[3]

Music careerEdit

1986–1989: Career beginnings and RegineEdit

Velasquez initially took the stage name "Chona" and released the single "Love Me Again" in 1986,[3] which was commercially unsuccessful.[15] At the behest of another OctoArts recording artist, Pops Fernandez, she was invited to appear on her late night television show The Penthouse Live![15] While rehearsing for the show, Velasquez caught the attention of Ronnie Henares, a producer and talent manager who signed her to a management deal.[15][16] At the suggestion of Fernandez's husband and the show's co-host, Martin Nievera, Velasquez adopted the stage name "Regine".[3]

In 1987, Velasquez signed with VIVA Records and released her debut album Regine.[17] Henares served as one of the executive producers and enlisted songwriters Joaquin Francisco Sanchez and Vehnee Saturno.[18] Three singles were released throughout 1987: "Kung Maibabalik Ko Lang", " Urong Sulong", and "Isang Lahi".[3] During this period, she made appearances on ABS-CBN television shows Triple Treat and Teen Pan Alley.[19] Two years after the release of her debut album, Velasquez represented the Philippines in the 1989 Asia Pacific Singing Contest in Hong Kong.[3] She went on to win the contest performing the songs "You'll Never Walk Alone" from the musical Carousel and "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" from the musical Dreamgirls.[3]

1990–1993: Nineteen 90 and Reason EnoughEdit

In 1990, Velasquez released her second studio album Nineteen 90.[15] She worked with Louie Ocampo for the album's lead single "Narito Ako",[20] which was originally recorded and performed by Maricris Bermont and written by Nonong Pedero for the 1978 Metro Manila Popular Music Festival.[21] Later that year, she headlined her first major concert at the Folk Arts Theater.[22][23] She recorded "Please Be Careful With My Heart" with Jose Mari Chan on his album Constant Change,[24] and contributed backing vocals for Gary Valenciano's "Each Passing Night" on his album Faces of Love.[25][26] In 1991, Velasquez made her North American concert debut at the Carnegie Hall in New York City,[27] a first for an Asian solo artist.[28] Soon after, British theatrical producer Cameron Mackintosh invited Velasquez to audition for the West End production of the musical Miss Saigon.[29] She received a letter from the production offering to train her in London, but she declined citing inadequate musical theatre experience as one of the reasons.[29]

Velasquez's third studio album, Tagala Talaga, was released in October 1991.[30] It included cover versions of recordings by National Artist for Music recipients Ryan Cayabyab, Lucio San Pedro, and Levi Celerio.[31][32] The album's lead single, titled "Buhay Ng Buhay Ko", was originally recorded by Leah Navarro and written by Pedero,[33][31] who Velasquez previously worked with on Nineteen 90.[20] Other notable singles from the album include "Anak and "Sa Ugoy Ng Duyan".[31]

In July 1993, PolyGram Far East announced its joint venture licensing deal in the Philippines with the formation of its subsidiary PolyCosmic Records.[34] Velasquez recorded a duet with Canadian singer Paul Anka titled "It's Hard to Say Goodbye", which became the newly formed label's maiden release.[34][35] The single was later included in her fourth studio album Reason Enough.[35] David Gonzales of AllMusic described the album as "more attuned to international ears" and felt Velasquez's vocals were "thin and unimpressive."[35] One of its singles, "Sana Maulit Muli", won the Awit Award for Best Performance by a Female Recording Artist in 1994.[36]

1994–1998: Listen Without Prejudice and My Love EmotionEdit

In 1994, Velasquez released her fifth studio album Listen Without Prejudice.[37] She worked with songwriters, including Glenn Medeiros, Trina Belamide, and John Laudon.[38] The album was released in several countries in Southeast and East Asia, including China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand.[37][39] The album's lead single, "In Love With You", featured Cantonese singer Jacky Cheung.[39] AllMusic's David Gonzales called the record "adventurous," but felt "Cheung's presence on the duet had much to do with the overseas success".[37] The album had sold more than 700,000 copies regionally, including 100,000 in the Philippines,[39] making it the best-selling album of her career to date.[28]

 
Velasquez at a press launch 1996

Velasquez's sixth studio album, My Love Emotion, was released in 1995.[40] Among the Japanese songwriters she enlisted during the production include Mariya Takeuchi and Kazufumi Miyazawa.[41] The title track, written by Southern Sons' vocalist Phil Buckle,[41] was heralded "a triumph" by AllMusic editor David Gonzales, describing it as "an outstanding vehicle, containing a strong melody and hook in the chorus."[40] The album made a combined regional and domestic sales of 250,000 copies.[39]

For her seventh studio album Retro (1996), Velasquez recorded cover versions of singles in the 1970s and 1980s from artists, including Donna Summer, Foreigner, and the Carpenters.[42] The album's only original track, "Fly", credited Earth, Wind & Fire members Maurice White, Al McKay, and Allee Willis, because the song interpolates the melody of their single "September".[42] In 1998, Velasquez parted from PolyCosmic and signed a six-album contract under the MJF Company.[43][44] That year, her ninth studio album, Drawn, was released.[44] MJF head Mark Feist wrote and produced majority of the tracks, including the lead single "How Could You Leave".[44][45] Drawn sold more than 40,000 copies and earned a platinum certification within two weeks of its release.[46][a]

1999–2003: R2K and ReigneEdit

R2K, produced mainly by Velasquez,[47] was released on November 27, 1999.[48] She recorded covers that include Jeffrey Osborne's "On the Wings of Love", Dionne Warwick's "I'll Never Love This Way Again", Aerosmith's "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing", and ABBA's Dancing Queen.[47] AllMusic editor David Gonzales criticized the record's "infatuation with Western popular music," while calling Velasquez's singing "self-assured" albeit rather "unimpressive."[49] Commercially, R2K sold more than 40,000 copies in its second week of release and earned a platinum certification.[48][a] A year after its release, the album was certified 4× platinum.[50] R2K has since been certified 12× platinum becoming the highest-selling album by a female artist in the Philippines.[8][51][52] On December 31, 1999, Velasquez was a featured musical act in 2000 Today,[8] a BBC millennium television special that attracted a worldwide audience of more than 800 million viewers with its core broadcast beginning with the Kiribati, Line Islands and culminating in American Samoa.[53][54][55]

Velasquez headlined and directed the R2K Concert at the Araneta Coliseum in April 2000,[56] which won her Best Female Major Concert Act at the 13th Aliw Awards.[57] Ricky Lo from The Philippine Star described the production as "electrifying" and complimented Velasquez's "boundless energy and creativity."[56] She also performed a concert at the Westin Philippine Plaza that year and spawned the release of her first live album, Regine Live: Songbird Sings the Classics, in December 2000.[58][59] Despite being criticized for the technical mixing,[59] the album was certified 6× platinum.[60][a] The following year, Velasquez worked with Filipino songwriters for material on her eleventh studio album Reigne.[61] The album and its lead single "To Reach You" were released in December 2001.[62][63] AllMusic's David Gonzales heralded the album as "an adventurous set" and praised the song writing's "high quality".[61] Two other singles, Tats Faustino's "Dadalhin" and Janno Gibbs' "Sa Aking Pag-iisa", were released from the album.[64]

In February 2002, Velasquez won the inaugural MTV Asia Award for Favorite Artist Philippines.[65][66] She performed "Cry" with Mandy Moore to promote the theatrical release of the latter's film, A Walk to Remember.[67] In March, Velasquez hosted the first season of Star for a Night, a format based on the British talent show of the same name.[68] In April, she headlined a benefit concert, One Night with Regine, at the National Museum of the Philippines, a collaboration with ABS-CBN Foundation to benefit Bantay Bata Foundation's child abuse response fund.[69] Later that year, the show won Best Musical Program at the 7th Asian Television Awards.[70]

At the 2003 MTV Asia Awards, Velasquez won her second consecutive award for Favorite Artist Philippines.[71] In May 2003, she embarked on the Martin-Regine World Concert Tour with Nievera.[72] The following month, Velasquez returned to host the second season of Search for a Star.[73] That year in November, she had a concert residency at Makati's Onstage Theatre named Songbird Sings Streisand, a tribute to American singer and actress Barbra Streisand.[74]

2004–2007: Covers Vol. 1 and Vol. 2Edit

In February 2004, Velasquez released a compilation album with Ogie Alcasid titled The Songbird & The Songwriter.[75] Later that month, the duo performed a concert at the Araneta Coliseum to promote the album,[76] and embarked on the Songbird & the Songwriter Tour in North America that April.[77] At the 17th Aliw Awards, she won Best Female Performance in a Concert and was nominated for Entertainer of the Year.[78] Velasquez hosted the reality talent show, Pinoy Pop Superstar, which began airing on GMA Network that July.[79] In October 2004, she released "Forevermore", the lead single from her twelfth studio album Covers, Vol. 1.[80][81] It contained tracks originally recorded by Filipino male artists and was her most expensive cover album to produce due in part to the cost of securing licensing rights for songs by local songwriters.[80][81]These include among others, Ariel Rivera's "Minsan Lang Kita Iibigan", Basil Valdez's "Say That You Love Me", and Nonoy Zuñiga's "Araw Gabi".[80][82] The album has since been certified 6× platinum.[60][a]

In November and December 2005, Velasquez had an eight-day concert residency, named Reflections, at the Aliw Theater.[1] The sequel album Covers, Vol. 2 was released in February 2006.[83] Unlike its predecessor, the record contained foreign tracks, including Alanis Morissette's "Head Over Feet", Blondie's "Call Me", and Elvis Presley's "Blue Suede Shoes".[84] Manila Bulletin's Jojo Panaligan was generally impressed with Velasquez's "versatility" and the album tracks' "jazzy and blues-y interpretation".[83] In October 2006, she performed a concert, titled Twenty, at the Araneta Coliseum which won her Best Female Major Concert Act and Entertainer of the Year at the 20th Aliw Awards.[85][86] In 2007, she became co-host of the reality show Celebrity Duets, an interactive music competition based on the original US show.[87]

2008–2012: Low Key and professional hiatusEdit

 
Velasquez performing at The Main Event Tour in 2008

Velasquez developed other television projects in 2008. She appeared in Songbird, a weekly late night musical television show which featured performances by a musical guest,[88] and was featured in the musical television special The Best of Me, which was filmed at her residence in Ayala Hills Estate, Quezon City.[89][90] Velasquez signed a deal with Universal Records and released Low Key in December 2008.[91][92] The album, as with Covers, Vol. 2, contains cover versions of international songs which she described as "more relaxed, laid-back and restrained".[91] It included tracks such as Billy Joel's "She's Always a Woman", Dan Fogelberg's "Leader of the Band", and Janis Ian's "At Seventeen".[93] The Philippine Daily Inquirer praised the album's maturity and wrote that "[Velasquez] no longer shrieks and shouts as much as she used to."[94] Commercially, the album sold more than 25,000 copies within two months of its release, and was certified platinum.[95][b] In May 2009, she appeared in the television special Roots to Riches, a biographical documentary and musical that chronicled her personal and professional struggles, and included musical performances filmed in her hometown of Malolos, Bulacan.[97] Later that month, she hosted the reality talent show Are You the Next Big Star?.[98]

Fantasy was released in December 2010 as a double CD set.[99][100] The first, a disc of OPM recordings, while the second included covers of international singles such as Madonna's "Papa Don't Preach", Toronto's "What About Love", and the Eagles' "Love Will Keep Us Alive".[101] The Philippine Daily Inquirer called the album "vocally sumptuous" and was generally impressed with Velasquez's vocals and range.[99] Fantasy received a platinum certification[c] and earned three nominations at the 3rd Star Awards for Music.[100][103] After receiving the Magna Award at the Myx Music Awards 2011,[104] Velasquez took a hiatus from public engagements following the confirmation of her pregnancy.[105]

On October 6, 2012, Velasquez returned to television with Sarap Diva, a weekly lifestyle talk show.[106] On November 16 2012, she performed a concert, titled Silver, at the Mall of Asia Arena, which was cut short after Velasquez lost her voice from a viral infection.[107][108]

2013–2016: Silver Rewind and Hulog Ka Ng LangitEdit

 
Velasquez at an event for Jollibee in 2015

Following Silver's cancellation, Velasquez restaged the concert on January 5, 2013.[109][110] The concert received generally favorable reviews; Manila Bulletin's Jojo Panaligan called it a "redemption of reputation",[111] while Dolly Anne Carvajal of the Philippine Daily Inquirer mentioned that Velasquez did not fail to make up for the initial cancellation of the show.[112] The following month, she co-headlined in Foursome alongside Alcasid, Fernandez, and Nievera.[113] For both of these shows, Velasquez received four nominations at the 5th Star Awards for Music,[114] winning Best Female Major Concert Act for Silver, and Concert of the Year for Foursome.[115] In November, Hulog Ka Ng Langit was released,[116] and received a platinum certification with two-week sales of 15,000 copies.[117][d] Velasquez won Best Inspirational Record for "Nathaniel (Gift of God)" and Best Christmas Recording for "Hele ni Inay" at the 27th Awit Awards,[119] while Hulog Ka Ng Langit won Album Cover of the Year at the 6th Star Awards for Music.[120] In 2014, she also worked with Nievera for a one-night show titled Voices of Love,[121] with Gloc-9 on "Takipsilim",[122] and with Vice Ganda on "Push Mo Yan Teh".[123]

In February 2015, Velasquez appeared alongside Nievera, Valenciano, and Lani Misalucha for a concert, titled Ultimate, at the Mall of Asia Arena.[124] She received accolades at the 47th Box Office Entertainment Awards,[125] 7th Star Awards for Music,[126] and 5th Edukcircle Awards for the production.[127] In the same year, Velasquez served as a judge on the sixth season of the reality talent show, StarStruck.[128] In November 2015, Velasquez headlined a four-date concert residency that featured a repertoire of songs from musicals, called Regine at the Theater.[129]

For the third straight year, Velasquez appeared in a co-headlining concert at the Mall of Asia Arena in February 2016.[130] The two-night show, Royals, reunited her with Nievera alongisde Angeline Quinto and Erik Santos.[131] Due to the concert's positive critical reception,[132] Velasquez won Best Female Concert Performer at the 48th Box Office Entertainment Awards and Most Influential Concert Performer of the Year at the 6th Edukcircle Awards.[133][134] In May, she embarked on the Timeless US Tour visiting the cities of Chicago, Englewood, Pasadena, and San Diego.[135][136] In December 2016, People Asia magazine included Velasquez on their annual People of the Year list.[137]

2017–present: R3.0, The Clash and Idol PhilippinesEdit

Velasquez hosted the late-night sketch comedy and variety show Full House Tonight,[138] which ran from February to May 2017.[139] The following month, she announced her return to VIVA Records and that she had begun production of her studio album R3.0.[140] In August 2017, a cover of Up Dharma Down's 2010 song, "Tadhana", was released as a promotional single.[141] An original track, "Hugot", was released as the album's lead single the following month.[142] In November, she headlined the R3.0 Concert at the Mall of Asia Arena and played a four-date US concert series with Alcasid, titled Mr. and Mrs. A, two months later.[143][144][145] In 2018, she hosted the reality talent show The Clash, served as a judge on ABS-CBN's revival of the Idol franchise series Idol Philippines, and hosted the musical variety show ASAP Natin' To.[146][19] In November 2018, Velasquez staged a three-date concert residency at the Newport Performing Arts Theater titled Regine at the Movies.[147]

In October 2019, Velasquez co-headlined a concert with Sharon Cuneta titled Iconic.[148] For the show, she won Best Collaboration in a Concert and was named Entertainer of the Year at the 32nd Aliw Awards,[149] having previously won the top honor in 2007 and 2009.[150][151] The following month, Velasquez released a collaborative single with Moira Dela Torre called "Unbreakable" for the soundtrack of the film of the same name.[152] She was confirmed as the 2019 face of Australian beauty brand BYS and released the promotional single "I Am Beautiful" for the brand's "Be Your Own Expert" campaign.[153][154]

In 2020, Velasquez curated a televised virtual benefit concert titled One Night with Regine, a collaboration with ABS-CBN to benefit Bantay Bata Foundation's COVID-19 response fund.[155][156]

Acting careerEdit

Velasquez made her cinematic debut in January 1988, beginning with a brief appearance in the action comedy film The Untouchable Family.[157] Its soundtrack contained her single "Urong Sulong".[158] She continued to appear in a series of supporting roles in comedies that included Pik Pak Boom (1988) and Elvis and James 2 (1990).[147][158]

In 1995, Velasquez began working with composer Ryan Cayabyab for the musical theater production of José Rizal's Noli Me Tángere, where she played the female lead, María Clara.[159] Vic Del Rosario, head of VIVA Entertainment's film production arm, saw Velasquez in one of her performances and offered her a starring role in a film.[147][159] Following this, she was given her first leading role as a music teacher in the romantic comedy Wanted: Perfect Mother (1996).[140][160] Nievera and Ocampo co-wrote the single "You Are My Song" for the film's soundtrack.[140][161] Later in 1996, she starred alongside Donna Cruz and Mikee Cojuangco in the musical comedy Do Re Mi.[160][162] Velasquez continued to play leading roles in romantic comedies, appearing in Honey Nasa Langit Na Ba Ako (1998) with Janno Gibbs and Dahil May Isang Ikaw (1999) with Aga Muhlach.[160] Her first television role came in 2000 in an episode of the IBC-13's weekly drama series Habang May Buhay, as Piolo Pascual's cancer-stricken love interest.[160]

A key point in Velasquez's film career came when Joyce Bernal cast her as the lead in the romantic comedy Kailangan Ko'y Ikaw (2000) opposite Robin Padilla.[57] Film critic Noel Vera criticized the film's formula as "nothing really new" and calling it the "nth variation of Roman Holiday", but wrote that Velasquez "brings her own public persona and charisma and sense of humor to the role."[163] Her next film role was in the romantic comedy Pangako Ikaw Lang (2001).[8][164] The film reunited her with Bernal and Muhlach.[164] Vera was impressed with the film's direction and writing, and described her performance as "sunny good nature", played with a "light comic touch".[165] Pangako Ikaw Lang became the highest-grossing Filipino film of 2001.[8][166] Due to the film's commercial performance, Velasquez was the recipient of the Box Office Queen title at the 32nd Box Office Entertainment Awards.[166] Her next television appearance was in an episode of ABS-CBN's weekly drama series Maalaala Mo Kaya (2001),[167] playing a woman with autism.[168] The role won her the Best Actress award at the 16th Star Awards for Television.[169] In 2002, she starred in Ikaw Lamang Hanggang Ngayon with Richard Gomez.[170] Filmed entirely in Manila City,[171] her performance of a disenchanted postal clerk earned her a Young Critics Circle nomination for Best Actress.[160][172] Pangarap Ko Ang Ibigin Ka (2003) reunited her with Christopher de Leon of Wanted: Perfect Mother.[173] The film premiered at the Manila Film Festival in July 2003.[173] In December, Velasquez next starred alongside Bong Revilla in Mars Ravelo's Captain Barbell.[174]

Velasquez did not make any film appearances in 2004, but made her prime time television debut in the drama series Forever In My Heart.[175] In the series, she reunited with Gomez and worked alongside Ariel Rivera and Dawn Zulueta.[175] She next starred in romantic dramas reuniting with Padilla in Till I Met You (2006) and with Pascual in Paano Kita Iibigin (2007).[176][177] For the latter film, Velasquez received FAMAS and Luna nominations for Best Actress.[178][179] In 2008, she returned to television playing the titular character in the comedy series Ako Si Kim Sam Soon, an adaption of the South Korean television show.[180] Velasquez also voiced the eponymous character in the animated film Urduja (2008).[181] In 2009, she made cameo appearances in the comedies Kimmy Dora, OMG (Oh, My Girl!), and Yaya and Angelina: The Spoiled Brat Movie.[182][183] In March 2010, Velasquez appeared in the musical television series Diva, as a facially disfigured ghost singer.[184][185] The following year, she teamed with Dingdong Dantes in the television series I Heart You, Pare! (2011).[186] She later dropped out of the show for health reasons and was replaced by Iza Calzado.[187]

Of All The Things (2012) saw Velasquez work with Bernal and Muhlach for the third time.[188] Philbert Dy of ClickTheCity called the film a "tedious, unfocused mess that forces chemistry where none really exists".[189] Despite the film's critical failure, Velasquez's performance won the 10th Golden Screen award for Best Actress.[190] She next starred in the independent film Mrs. Recto (2015), a comedy-drama set principally on Recto Avenue.[191] She then portrayed a socialite stripped of her wealth in the television comedy series Poor Señorita (2016).[192] Her only acting appearance in 2017 was a supporting role in the sequel to the 2004 television series Mulawin, tilted Mulawin vs. Ravena.[193]

Velasquez played a widowed woman smitten by a pop star (played by Rayt Carreon), in Nigel Santos' independent film Yours Truly, Shirley.[194] The film premiered at the 2019 Cinema One Originals Film Festival.[194] In January 2020, she appeared briefly in the iWant web television series and the Jodi Sta. Maria comedy My Single Lady.[195]

ArtistryEdit

InfluencesEdit

Musicians such as Barbara Streisand and Mariah Carey have influenced Velasquez.

As a child, Velasquez enjoyed listening to classic songs. She would wait for her father's return from work and ask him to sing her the "old songs" he knew until she fell asleep.[9] She was drawn to traditional songs instead of nursery rhymes because of this routine.[9] Velasquez has said that from childhood she has considered Sharon Cuneta a role model and credits the singer as a key inspiration to pursue a musical career.[196]

Velasquez's music is influenced by artists such as Sheena Easton, Angela Bofill, Whitney Houston, and Mariah Carey in her early years.[1][197] She admires Houston for her "style and R&B influence," and was impressed with Carey's songwriting.[197] On several occasions, Velasquez has cited Barbra Streisand as her main influence and musical inspiration, explaining, "I look up to her not just because of her enormous talent, but because of her fearlessness and dedication to excellence, her willingness to take risks and to be different."[198] Streisand's music has been heavily featured in Velasquez's repertoire throughout her career, including a series of concerts paying homage to the singer which she described as "a pleasure" to perform.[198][199] Velasquez has also been influenced by many Filipino artists. Early in her career, she has cited Kuh Ledesma, Joey Albert, Gary Valenciano, Martin Nievera, and Pops Fernandez as her role models.[1] She has also paid tribute to Filipino songwriters like George Canseco, Rey Valera, Basil Valdez, Ryan Cayabyab, and Willy Cruz.[200]

Musical style and themesEdit

Velasquez's music contained elements of traditional OPM love songs early in her career.[201] She described how she developed her musical style, saying "I was only 16 and people didn't know what to do with me. When they want me to sing love songs, they had to explain to me what it meant because I didn't know the feeling yet."[202] Her debut album, Regine, incorporated ballads and bubblegum pop love songs.[201] The themes of the album revolve around feelings of "excitement and uncertainty" as well as "missed chances and regrets".[201] Elvin Luciano of CNN Philippines wrote: "During her [initial] phase, she proved that Filipino love songs don't have to come pre-packaged in the kundiman-rooted love ballad."[201] Her later releases, including Nineteen 90 and Tagala Talaga, capitalized on her popularity and themes dominated by Filipino love songs.[203] Velasquez began working with foreign songwriters with her first regional album Listen Without Prejudice.[37] AllMusic described the record as "oriented towards easy-listening love songs with adventurous, contemporary touches". The album features tracks with syncopated backbeats and hip-hop influences.[37]

During the mid-1990s to early 2000s, Velasquez's albums consisted primarily of cover versions of international material because of its commercial viability, and Filipinos' preference for American music.[49][201][204] According to CNN Philippines, "Regine has a knack for choosing songs which at first, may not fit her, but eventually become her own."[201] Many of her songs, particularly in Retro, Drawn, and R2K contained R&B, soul, and hip-hop elements.[44][49][204] Velasquez's eleventh studio album Reigne is an OPM album that she described as "songs influenced by the music, artists, and genres that I enjoy listening to,"[201] and included tracks that are melancholic, sensual, and poetic.[201] Her crossover to film saw significant use of contemporary love ballads in her catalog of soundtrack themes, describing the music as "straightforward, earnest, and lyrically simple".[201][205][206]

Voice and timbreEdit

Velasquez is known for her use of vocal belting.[207] She was ranked first in a 2011 FemaleNetwork countdown of the 25 Best Filipina Singers,[208] and is listed as one of the Ten Most Admired Female Singers in Asia by Malaysian magazine Top 10 of Asia, with other female entertainers, including Lea Salonga, Siti Nurhaliza, and Tata Young.[209] Velasquez credits the vocal training she received from her father as a child:

That was in Leyte. A long time ago. I must’ve been 7 years old. It didn’t feel like training; [my father] didn’t force me to do it. He just took us to the beach for a picnic. We lived near the ocean. While I was swimming, he would ask me to sing ... I think he got the idea from Rocky Marciano, the boxer. He read that Rocky practiced, shadow-boxed in the water. [In the ring] there’s no pressure so it’s easier… but in the water, you have no choice but to punch harder. My Papa merely applied the same principle to singing.[13]

Velasquez is a soprano and is often praised for her range and technical ability.[28][210][211] Elvin Luciano of CNN Philippines complimented her "trademark and sometimes melismatic vocals",[201] while AllMusic's David Gonzales adds her singing is "strong, emotive, and confident".[40] However, she has often been criticized for excessive usage of belting and oversinging.[207] Gonzales described her timbre as "thin, unimpressive and unappealing at times" and observed her singing as "aiming for a higher [note], [which] she did all too often."[40] Velasquez explained, "I don't mean to make any songs hard. It's just that when I'm on stage, with the adrenaline rush and all, you get excited. I do try to hold back [because] otherwise I'd be screaming the whole show, that's not good."[212]

Legacy and influenceEdit

 
Velasquez performing "Songbird" during her fragrance launch for clothing brand Bench in 2009

Velasquez's vocal style and singing ability have significantly impacted Philippine popular and contemporary music. Referred to as Asia's songbird by critics,[28][213] she is often cited as one of Filipino music's most influential artists.[214][215] As entertainment writer Allan Policarpio of the Philippine Daily Inquirer wrote, "Regine needed only to open her mouth and that celebrated voice would come out. She could sing seated, lying down or hoisted up in the air with a harness—no problem. And even when she was so sick she couldn't speak, she could still sing."[214] Velasquez has also been recognized for playing a pivotal role in creating the "blue print" of becoming a "singing icon".[216] Many critics complimented her work, often singling out Velasquez's influence: Elvin Luciano, writing for CNN Philippines, described her "legitimacy" as "enough to secure a space in pop culture", and remarked that her musical career "continues to influence generations of OPM patrons and songbird wannabes up to this day,"[201] while The Philippine Star added, "If one were to go by records and distinctions made, Regine Velasquez would win, hands down."[28] She has often been regarded as a powerhouse for her performances and musical content.[217]

Despite her vocal prowess, Velasquez's use of vocal belting has been subject to scrutiny because young singers such as those on talent shows have been imitating her singing technique. Critics have commented: "The popularity of 'birit' [belting] started here with the amateur singing contests.[207] Then came Regine Velasquez, who also launched her own singing career the 'birit' way. Trouble is, Regine's belting became so popular that her successors ... imitated her."[207] The Manila Bulletin also added that "Most of our top selling new female singers are still and mere parrots of her in terms of vocal acrobatics and predilection to show off her high range."[218] As writer and publicist Boy Abunda noted, "Most of the young female singers currently making waves in the industry are cut from the same biritera [belter] cloth as Regine Velasquez."[219]

Among the pop, hip-hop and R&B artists in the Philippines who have cited Velasquez as an influence are Aicelle Santos,[220] Charice,[221] Erik Santos,[222] Jona Viray,[220] Julie Anne San Jose,[220] KZ Tandingan,[223] Kyla,[223] Maricris Garcia,[224] Mark Bautista,[225] Morissette Amon,[220] Toni Gonzaga,[226] and Yeng Constantino.[223] Velasquez's music has broadly influenced a younger generation of performers, Sarah Geronimo has stated how the singer made her realize the value of hard work,[227] while Rachelle Ann Go and Angeline Quinto have both mentioned her as an inspiration in their early years as aspiring singers.[228][229] American Idol finalists Ramiele Malubay, Thia Megia, and Jessica Sanchez have all expressed desire to emulate her.[230][231][232]

Velasquez has also been credited for her work and performances with international artists, including 98 Degrees, Alicia Keys, Coco Lee, Peabo Bryson, and Stephen Bishop among others.[28] French composer Michel Legrand described working with Velasquez, saying "It's tough to sing a song after Barbra Streisand, I will tell you. But to sing with Regine is, I'm in heaven. She sings so well, she has such an extraordinary technical voice ... sensitive voice and talented expression."[233] American singer Brian McKnight who co-headlined a concert with Velasquez has complimented her singing, stating: "I got to sing onstage with Regine and it was one of the best experiences ever because she's one of the best singers I've ever heard."[234]

Other activitiesEdit

PhilanthropyEdit

Velasquez has been involved with several charitable organizations. She became associated with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in 2001, and worked on a documentary produced by MTV Asia, titled Speak Your Mind.[235] The organization sought to encourage broadcasters to play a more active role in promoting and protecting children's rights.[236] The documentary featured the plight of homeless children in Payatas, Quezon City, one of the Philippines' largest open dumpsites.[235] It explored issues concerning children's welfare with an in-depth focus on hazardous working environment risks and child abuse.[235] The production was nominated for the UNICEF Child Rights Award.[236]

One of Velasquez's highest-profile benefit concert appearances was on ABS-CBN's 2002 television special One Night with Regine,[69] during which she performed at the National Museum of the Philippines in support of the Bantay Bata Foundation, a child welfare organization.[69] In 2005, Velasquez appeared in an episode of the lifestyle talk show Mel and Joey and donated proceeds from her auctioned gowns to the GMA Kapuso Foundation's Christmas Give-a-Gift project.[237] In 2009, Velasquez headlined a benefit television special, After The Rain: A Hopeful Christmas, from the aftermath of Typhoon Ketsana (Ondoy).[238] In October 2010, Velasquez became an ambassador for Operation Smile,[239] a nonprofit medical service organization that provides cleft lip and palate repair surgeries to children worldwide.[240][241] She recorded the theme "S.M.I.L.E.", which was written for the project, and appears on her fifteenth studio album.[239] In November 2013, proceeds from the sales of her album Hulog Ka Ng Langit were donated to the Philippine Red Cross in support of the Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) relief.[242]

Product endorsementsEdit

Velasquez has been involved in brand marketing initiatives for American fast food restaurant chains, Wendy's and KFC.[243] She has also signed advertising deals with several brands, including, Digitel, Lux, Nestle Philippines, Nokia, and Smart Telecommunications.[243] Throughout 2005, she appeared as the face of the Department of Tourism's travel promotion campaign.[243][244] In August 2009, Velasquez released her line of women's fragrance for clothing brand Bench, called Reigne and Songbird.[245] In February 2020, she collaborated with beauty brand BYS and launched her own line of makeup called Reign.[246]

Personal lifeEdit

Velasquez confirmed her relationship with singer and songwriter Ogie Alcasid in June 2007 in an article published by Yes! magazine.[247] On August 8, 2010, the couple announced their engagement,[248] and in December the couple married in Nasugbu, Batangas.[249] On November 8, 2011, she gave birth to their son, Nathaniel James via caesarean section.[250]

Velasquez is a born again Christian.[251] In March 2016, she revealed that she had suffered a miscarriage prior to her marriage to Alcasid and cited it as her reason for converting.[251] She has stated that she has been attending Victory Christian Fellowship.[251]

Awards and achievementsEdit

Throughout Velasquez's career, she has collected many honors and awards, including MTV Asia's Favorite Artist Philippines in 2002[66] and 2003,[252] and the Aliw Awards' Entertainer of the Year in 2007, 2009, and 2019.[149][150][151] She has been the recipient of lifetime achievement award, including the Awit Awards' Dangal ng Musikang Pilipino,[253] the Star Awards for Music's Pilita Corrales Lifetime Achievement,[254] and Natatanging Alagad Ng Musika,[255] FAMAS Awards' Golden Artist,[256] and Myx Music's Magna Award.[104]

In a career spanning more than 30 years, Velasquez has sold more than seven million records in the Philippines and a further 1.5 million in Asia, making her the biggest-selling Filipino artist of all time.[28][257] Eight of her albums have tallied sales exceeding of 200,000 copies each.[257] Velasquez was ranked first in Female Network's 2011 countdown of the "Top 25 Best Filipina Singers"[208] and was included in Top 10 Asia magazine's list of "Ten Most Admired Female Singers in Asia".[209] Aside from her music career, Velasquez has received recognition for her work in television and film; she was given the Box Office Queen award in 2002,[166] the Star Awards for Television's Best Actress in 2002,[169] and the Golden Screen Awards' Best Actress in 2013.[190] As well, she has received a total of 21 Awit Awards,[258] 22 Box Office Entertainment Awards,[259] 15 Aliw Awards,[260] and 10 Star Awards for Music.[261] In December 2007, Velasquez was honored with a star on the Philippines' Walk of Fame.[262]

DiscographyEdit

FilmographyEdit

ConcertsEdit

Headlining concertsEdit

  • Narito Ako! (1990)
  • In Season (1991)
  • Music and Me (1993)
  • Isang Pasasalamat (1996)
  • Retro (1997)
  • Drawn (1998)
  • R2K The Concert (2000)
  • Songbird Sings the Classics (2001)
  • R-15 (2001)
  • One Night with Regine (2002)
  • Reigning Still (2004)
  • Twenty (2006)
  • Silver (2013)
  • R3.0 (2017)

Co-headlining concertsEdit

Concert residenciesEdit

  • Regine at the Movies (2001; 2018)
  • Songbird Sings Streisand (2003)
  • Songbird Sings (2002)
  • Reflections (2005)
  • Regine at the Theater (2015)

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d For music certifications between 1990 to mid-2000s, PARI's threshold for an album to receive Platinum certification was 40,000 units shipped.[48]
  2. ^ For music certifications as of 2008, PARI's threshold for an album to receive Platinum certification was 25,000 units shipped.[96]
  3. ^ For music certifications as of 2011, PARI's threshold for an album to receive Platinum certification was 20,000 units shipped.[102]
  4. ^ For music certifications since 2013, PARI's threshold for an album to receive Platinum certification was 15,000 units shipped.[118]

ReferencesEdit

CitationsEdit

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Book sourcesEdit

External linksEdit