"Reigne: The Book"
Beautiful, intriguing and fabulous photographs of Asia's Songbird Regine Velasquez are contained in "Reigne: the Book," which was launched recently by Viva Foundation for the Arts at The Podium in Ortigas Center to coincide with the opening of the exhibit of photographs of the singer taken by ace and award-winning lensman Jun de Leon.
Regina Encarnacion Ansong Velasquez also known affectionately as "Asia's Songbird" around the globe is a true story of rags to riches. Few people who have heard her amazing voice can claim they have never heard her equally inspiring life story. Much like a fairy tale, her story begins in humble beginnings, be it far from over; it spans an incredible career of 15 plus years in the music industry! Uncountable awards and honors later we find that her charms and graces have all blossomed along with her voice, but her talents do not stop there. Spreading her wings even farther; Regine has lit the silver screen numerous times as well as hosted regular gigs such as S.O.P., Pinoy Pop Superstar, and even a Soap Opera entitled Forever In My Heart; all of which she had a huge creative hand involved. Is there anything this proud Bulakena? can't do? Probably not, as her legions of fans; not only in the Philippines, but around the world would agree.
Regine was born in Manila, Philippines on April 22, 1970. She came from a poor family. The family was so poor that her mother would not eat so she can give it to her children. They didn't have any TV so they would go to their neighbor to watch - the neigbor was very rude to them, they also didn't have water so they would shower under the rain with soap!
They moved to Leyte where she was trained by her father in the sea of Henundayan Southern Leyte. At age 9, Regine and her family moved to Bulacan. She has a younger sister named Cacai (married), a younger brother named Jojo, and twin sisters, Diane and Deca(married..not sure).
Regine credits her parents for getting her involved in the music business when they let Regine join singing competitions in remote provinces, and to undergo intensive singing lessons led by her father.
Regine was submerged into the water up to her neck and was singing. She also sacrificed eating ice cream until 15 yrs. old.
There were a lot of singing in Regine's house. At two to three years of age, Regine's dad would sing lullaby to get her to sleep and the songs usually her dad would sing was, "You'll Never Know." That was the reason why she doesn't know any nursery rhymes.
At the age of three to four, Regine can interpret a whole song. She sang songs of Carpenters like "Close To You," and songs from Imelda Papin like "Bakit." ("Why") It was one of Regine's favorite as a child, and now her over all favorite singer is Barbara Streisand.
Regine had so many ambitions, she wanted to be a nun, nurse, doctor, but by the age of six, she finally decided that she wanted to sing, so she joined in amateur singing contest. The very first song she sang in a contest was entitled, "Buhat Ng Kita'y Makilala" ("Ever Since I Met You"). Regine didn't know how to read at that time so her father would sing it to her and she would memorize each word her father had sang. Regine lost that contest, but was given a special award for the brave performance. Among 200 competitions she joined in, Regine won 67 of them.
The schools she attended were Henundayan Central School, Southern Leyte; Balagtas Central School(both elementary school); and St. Laurence in Bulacan (high school). She attributes her good English diction to her years at St. Lawrence and to her favorite foreign singers.
In 1984 Regine got herself a career
At the age of fourteen, Regine joined in Bagong Kampeon ("The New Champion") her qualifying song was "Saan Ako Nagkamali" ("Where Did I Go Wrong") chosen by his father, and later on Regine won the grand prize competition with her winning song, "In Your Eyes," a song suggested by Professor Dominic Sulistiano and was originally performed by George Benson. Regine was unbeatable for weeks until she won the grand prize.
As her winning prize, Regine got a record deal from Octo Arts Int'l. She recorded a single called, "Love Me Again," using the name "Chona Velasquez," but the single failed to make it in the charts. It was revived by Jamie Rivera years later.
Despite the flop of her single, Regine was invited as guest in a show called, "Penthouse Live" by Pops Fernandez, a singer host - on February 16, 1986. During the show, Ronnie Henares, who's the producer of Penthouse Live was so impressed with Regine that she offered her managerial contract. Regine accepted the offer. So her career started.
In 1986, Mang Gerry resigned from his job as a construction estimator, and went full-time attending to her daughter's budding career. Regine became the breadwinner of the family, sending her siblings to school and now they all have graduated, except for brother Jojo, who's taking up Dentistry.
In 1987, Regine's earnings in Coke tour led her to buy her first second-hand Toyota Corolla car. She was so proud of it saying she bought it with her sweat and blood. She now owns a Chrysler van!
The first TV variety show she did was "Triple Treat" with Keno, Randy Santiago, and Gino Padilla.
In 1988, she was offered to do a TV variety show. The Sunday TV variety show she'd host was "Teen Pan Alley" with with Janno Gibbs, Bing Loyzaga. Both shows on Channel 2.
In 1988, Regine cut her hair short out of protestations that she was not given a chance to stage her first concert entitled, "True Colors" because "The Jets" were performing on that same day which was on her 18th birthday. It was on that same year good things started to happen.
In 1989, Regine was chosen to represent the Philippines in the "Asia-Paciific Singing Contest" held in Hong Kong. At first Regine declined, but with much convincing from her friends she agreed to represent the country. And on Dec. 23, 1989, Regine won the grand prize with her song, "You'll Never Walk Alone" and "And I'm Telling You."
In 1990, Cameron Macintosh Group, makers of "Les Miserbles" and "Ms. Saigon" gave Regine and other Philippine's finest singers (Dulce, Jamie) round trip plane tickets for a special audition in New York. Cameron Macintosh was so impressed that she offered roles for Regine and Jamie Rivera, but Regine declined the offer and stayed in the Philippines, because she felt that she didn't have enough stage experience and she was uncomfortable doing delicate scenes.
By 25, Regine became an International (Asian) Recording Artist. She became well-known in Hong Kong, Singpore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Korea, Bangkong with her album, "Listen Without Prejudice" (Regine's favorite album!) and collaborated with Jacky Cheung for the song, "In Love With You"
Eventually, her star shone brighter year after year. Regine became an international star and released three multi-platinum albums in Asia. She toured around the Philippines, and in various countries, captivating jam-packed crowds with her performances. She was really a crowd favorite, in large part to her charm and endearing personality. "I work hard at what I do. I try to do better all the time," she says. Finally in 2000 Regine finally became known as the "Concert Queen" after selling out her R2K concert on back-to-back nights. That concert also won an award as the best concert of the year.
The exposure rocketed her from Filipino celebrity to Asian music superstar. Almost overnight she began selling out stadium concerts and put out several multi-platinum albums in Asia, such as Drawn, R2K and Regine Live! Songbird Sings the Classics. In 2001, she released Reigne, her first offering of original material in two years.
Music, it turns out, 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, it's safe to say, succeeded exclusively because of Regine's star power. As a television host, her music show Star For A Night, has continually received high ratings since its inception in 2000.
For 2002, Regine was true to form, releasing her most successful movie ("Ikaw Lamang Hanggang Ngayon") to date. Add to that an MTV Asia award for "Best Philippine Artist," coupled with a "Box Office Queen" award, which only cemented her status as the best performer the country has ever seen.
After all the awards and accolades and for everything she has accomplished, what else does she need to achieve?
"So many opportunities are opening up, and I want to take advantage of them all," Regine says. "Sabi nga nila, opportunity only knocks once."
The first step in that direction was starting her own recording label - Songbird Music - and the signing of singer Gabby Eigenmann. "I really want to help new artists come out with their own music," she said with pride during the launching. Regine produced the entire album and even sang on one track.
Recently she added another item to her very impressive resume - host of the "Star For A Night" music show. There is another new movie in the works which would reunite her with Christopher De Leon, and she will also record an album in collaboration with acclaimed producer Michel LeGrand.
sources: askmen.com, reginevelasquez.net, regine's dainty page.
Regine will be hitting the road this spring for a US tour with Pops Fernandez.
Barbra Streisand, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, , Barry Manilow, Sharon Cuneta.