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Regina Encarnacion Ansong Velasquez (born April 22, 1970), also known as Asia's Songbird, is a singer, actress, 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, Mandy Moore, Brian McKnight and Michel Legrand.
Early life and family, 1970-1983
Regina Encarnacion Ansong 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, Regine joined at amateur singing contest, singing Buhat Ng 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, Regine joined various singing competitions in provinces around the country. Among 200 competitions she joined in, Regine 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, Regine joined Bagong Kampeon, a musical television contest that features the singing talents of filipinos. Her qualifying song was Saan Ako Nagkamali, chosen by her father. She went on to win the competition with the song, In Your Eyes. The competition's prize was a record deal from Octo Arts Int'l. She recorded a single called, "Love Me Again," under the name Chona Velasquez but the single failed to become a hit. Despite the flop of her single, Regine was invited as guest on the television talk-show Penthouse Live on February 16, 1986. Ronnie Henares, the show's producer, was so impressed with Regine that she offered her a managerial contract. Regine accepted the offer. It was then concert king and friend Martin Nievera who co-hosts Penthouse Live that suggested to change her name from Chona to Regine for a more diva feel. That same year, her father resigned from his job as a construction estimator to work full-time attending to her daughter's career. Regine became the breadwinner of the family, earning the money to send her siblings to school.
It was 1987 when Regine released her self-titled debut album when she was just seventeen years old. It primarily boosted Regine into one of the new young singers to watch out for during that time. The album contained tracks like Kung Maibabalik Ko Lang, Isang Lahi and Urong Sulong that placed a permanent pedestal for Regine in the Philippine music scene. Soon she released a string of successful LP albums comprsing of Nineteen 90 and Tagala Talaga which received countless awards. It produced several hit tracks that became eminent in peoples taste and flair for music.
Asian Stardom, 1990-1998
The Philippines wasn't just her ground for music, Regine 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 exposure from the contest sky-rocketed her from Filipino celebrity to Asian music superstar almost overnight, from then on, she was hailed as Asia's Songbird Ultimately her star continued to emanate over the region, Velasquez's first asian studio album, Listen Without Prejudice, was released in 1994 and was massively well-received. The album featured the hugely popular hit "In Love With You" with Jacky Cheung, "Follow The Sun", "What Kind Of Fool Am I" and "Reason Enough". It totaled in sales of over 300,000 units in Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Another two best-selling albums were released in the region, My Love Emotion which doubled the success of her preceding album and Retro which contained revival cuts.
In 1990, Cameron Macintosh Group, makers of Les Miserables and Miss Saigon gave Regine and other Philippine singers round trip plane tickets for an audition in New York. Cameron Macintosh was so impressed that she offered roles for Regine and Jamie Rivera, a Filipina singer. However, Regine declined the offer and stayed in the Philippines citing inadequate theatrical experience.
Regine's prominence blossomed during the advent of the 90's, by then she was a walking testament of stardom, she became a household name and she was every Filipinos beloved darling. At that point, numerous singers had emerged attempting to follow her feat, but Regine was in a class on her own. She was and stayed on top of her game whilst female singers come and go.
1993 was the release of her fourth LP album called Reason Enough which achieved instant platinum award. It was a continuing proof of her top-caliber acts. It featured songs bound for longevity such as "Sana'y Maulit Muli", "Babalikang Muli" and her duet with Gary Valenciano "Slip Away". This record also included a one of a kind collaboration with music legend Paul Anka entitled "It's Hard To Say Goodbye".
By 1996, Regine recorded her very first Christmas album titled Love Was Born In Christmas Day which was a definite must-have for that season. It was more of lending a hand and giving love rather than just simply putting another record. She then released her multi-platinum selling record Drawn, which also exhibited her artistry in sketching as found in it's cover (a portrait of her, handsketched). The album comprised of a mix of original and revival tracks. Hard-hitting songs like "How Could You Leave", "I'll Never Say Goodbye" and "Ikaw" celebrated her finesse vocal power. Her revival of "Emotion" which was produced by Mark Feist, who also produced the record for Desitny's Child in 2001, had little variation to the 2001 rendition. Regine's acquisition of the song greatly endeared people to it, and a feat that she was first on the line.
Regine's celebrated and lucrative career is not without its share of intrigues. Early in her rise to fame she was rumored to have undergone plastic surgery by having her nose redone, which she incessantly denied saying that redoing her nose would apparently alter the sound of her voice. Talks about this issue continued to resurface, but has vanished over time.
In 2000, she was involved in a Visa Fiasco and was accused of People smuggling after reports of unknown individuals not part of her US Tour Entourage were accompanied unbeknownst to her, to be then left behind in America thereafter. Her US Visa was revoked and she would never be able to return to American soil again. But in just under a year, this case was resolved through the help of Immigration Attorney Michael Gurfinkel. It was on April 2005, when Regine made her very first interview about her plight five years ago. It was TFC's premiere of the show Citizen Pinoy also hosted by Gurfinkel. Here she talked about how she should have been aware of every detail in her entourage, she was keen on the fact that she's ought to be more cautious over her personnels and crew.
Regine also became a topic of hot discussion over ruining the marital relationship of her friend and co-artist Ogie Alcasid who was married to Miss Universe 1994 finalist and former Miss Australia Michelle Van Eimeren. Speculations that the couple have separated and that Regine and Ogie have lived together were circulating for quite some time. This was fairly attributed to the fact that the two singers work together in a weekly variety TV Show and did a series of concerts in the Philippines and abroad. Again, both singers shoved off any truth to the rumors and Van Eimeren issued a statement saying that nothing is going on between Regine and Ogie and that her family is peacefully happy and intact.
Early in 2005, Regine was rumored to have given a budding singer a cold treatment backstage after a song number they did on a show. Regine also allegedly had insecurities with the said singer. But Regine who is known to support newcomers as a way of "paying it forward" to people who have helped her in the past, automatically dismissed the issue because she felt it was purely insinuated. This led her to a statement that became a massively used and popular catch phrase, "I'm freakin Regine Velasquez, I've been in this business for like forever, why would I be insecure".
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 is a lead role in her own soap opera for primetime where she plays 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 Reigne where she herself draws and conceptualizes the designs. She recently published Reigne: 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, will be promoted mainly through print, radio and television advertisements. Colorful drop banners will 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 Regine in every backdrop.
Regine 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 movie career took a quick hiatus, but she returned to the big screen in 1996 for her very first lead role in the movie Wanted Perfect Mother where she plays a a feisty vagrant club singer who becomes nanny to three 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 hugely well-received. Critics were keen that Regine is spiralling towards cinema success. The new millennium hasn't slowed her pace in movie-making. With albums, concerts and TV shows here and there, Regine still had room for doing enormously succesful films. In 2000, she starred opposite bad boy of Philippine cinema, Robin Padilla in Kailangan Ko'y Ikaw, a movie 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.
True to her essence, Regine did a couple more thriving 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 Regine debuted in her first Sci-fi, fantasy film Captain Barbell where she plays the love interest of the crime fighting Philippine superhero.
Regine Reigns, 1999-present
Regine's 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, movie, TV 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 concert 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 Regine's soundtrack albums in the past. In October 2004, 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 Regine masterfully created another pop culture phenomenon. This album broke records when it reached platinum status barely five days after its release date. Regine, 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.
December 2004 was Regine's return to major solo concert performance. She successfully staged another another back-to-back nights of concert performance regally titled Reigning Still. The show was triumphant amidst a series of typhoons that ravaged Manila and nearby provinces. This is probably the only concert of Regine that was put in real microscopic look by critics, detractors and fans. It was reasonable since her previous stagings were really tough acts to follow. But Reigning Still isn’t a culmination of Regine’s 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 Regine donned the hat of producer and director. The concert was a showcase of what Regine has learned in her craft through the years. It is a spectacle of her running concepts, ideas and style where you can see a Regine 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
In 2005, Regine 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 US Tour.
Regine Velasquez is widely famous for her effortless and exceptional belting. 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 Philippine music. Her vocal style has been greatly heard in many female singers and has influenced the likes of Kyla, Sarah Geronimo and Rachelle Ann Go
Regine has a three-octave range and though she seldom uses whistle register she is skillfully adept in hitting very high notes that require head voice using her chest voice. She can run through a series of very high notes using chest voice alone and is able to hit notes in the fifth to almost sixth octave in full chest voice. She is also popular for her ability to go through her vocal acrobatics while hitting her very high notes. 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.
- 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 (VIVA 2004)
- 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)
- 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 (2004)
- "Kenkoy and Rosing" (Sept. 1991) - played Rosing
- "Noli Me Tangere" (July-August 1995) - played Maria Clara
- SOP (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
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
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