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Regine Velasquez

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Regine Encarnacion Ansong Velasquez was born into a loving and supportive family on April 22, 1970 in Manila, Philippines. At an early age her parents recognized that she was a gifted singer and they quickly enrolled her into local and national singing contests in the Philippines. She didn't win every one she entered, but she did perform well enough for the family to make her success a number one priority.

The Velasquez family moved out of Manila to Leyte, in order for Regine to work with some prestigious voice coaches and go through a ritual that her father believed would strengthen her voice. Apparently, he would submerge his young daughter up to her neck in the sea and have her run through her singing exercises. Whether it actually made a difference is still debatable.

Boasting a trained and stronger voice, Regine entered 200 contests in her amateur days and won an impressive 67 of them. If that doesn't sound like an impressive feat, imagine a golfer winning 67/200 tournaments or a NASCAR driver pulling off the same percentages.

Of those 67 victories, the most important was the one she earned for her performance at the career-launching Bagong Kampeon Competition. She breezed through the opening rounds facing little resistance and was pegged as the narrow favorite to win the finals. Before she took the stage, judges and fans were expecting a performance much like what they had seen in the qualifying stages. When she launched into the first bars of "In Your Eyes," the audience knew something special was happening. Velasquez delivered what is generally regarded as the performance of her life and was rewarded accordingly. Within weeks, she found herself in a local recording studio working on her debut single.

In spite of the lack of success of her first single, Velasquez was still very much a celebrity and in demand for appearances. One such appearance in 1987 had a great impact on her career. She was invited to appear on a local talk show to give an interview and perform. Backstage she met Ronnie Henares, a major player in the Asian music industry, who agreed to become her manager. And with his first act as manager, he hired her a decent producer and set to work on an album. Regine was released in 1987 to critical and commercial success.

Having a hit album in the Philippines was one thing, but Velasquez ached to be an international star. In 1989, Velasquez entered the Asia-Pacific Singing Contest as an official representative of the Philippines. By the time the show ended, she became the pride and joy of the entire nation and was crowned champion of one of Asia's most prestigious contests.

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.

Regine Velasquez achieved every goal she set for herself as a young girl: multi-platinum success, wealth, fame, and scores of accolades. The only thing eluding her is the opportunity to move from continental celebrity to international fame. Though it is a daunting task to try to become one of the first Asian pop singers to cross over to the North American market, Velasquez might just have enough talent and star power to pull it off, and you heard it here first.

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