The night Regine won me over again
By Gloria P. Sicam
PDI, December 12, 1998

It's funny when ur a fan u tend to take the things that ur idol (for lack of a better word) does with his or her personal life.

I wouldn't really say that my relationship with Regine (true, it was one-sided, but a relationship nonetheless) was that of the fan-idol genre - it was more like respectful admiration.

I was awed by her talent. It amazed me that a person like her existed: a person who could reach notes that normal people only reach by accident when they're in pain, or cats reach when they're in heat. Not to say she sounded like any of the comparisons that I have made -she didn't only reach high notes, she attacked them and made them her own.

Scandal

And then she got involved in that scandal with Ariel and Gellie. But who knows what was fact and what was fiction?
People write anything these days, never mind the truth. But there is the tendency of the weak mind to believe something just because it's in print.
So, when I read about that whole mess, I got disappointed in Regine and started avoiding her albums and her concerts. Not that it made much of a difference in her ticket sales, I'm sure! But I guess, in a way, I was making tampo. Suddenly, she became this person who tried to break up a relationship-true, it takes two to tango, so Ariel isn't truly off the hook-but I never really followed Ariel's career, so I took Regine's personal turmoil personally.

But last week, when I watched her latest concert, "Drawn" at the Music Museum, Regine won me over again.
How, exactly?

Well, it could have been her hair. I'm not kidding. Because the moment she entered with that very unique hairdo (she made fun of it by saying her entire getup made her look like a Christmas present-her hair was her ribbon), I got so focused and how long it must have taken that I had no time to remember my tampo. And then, of course, I heard her voice.

High Notes

So maybe it was her voice. I knew it was amazing before, but it was merely because she could sing those high notes without fainting from exhaustion or lack of breath. But now, she literally transformed songs that I had taken for granted.
Her whole Barry Manilow medley made me realize how utterly boring Barry Manilow really is. His voice is boring, but his songs are beautiful. When Regine sang them, I realized how emotionally-charged those songs because I know how much potential they actually have.

Hmm, maybe that's it. Her choice of songs won me over again. She sang few songs from the Corrs, and one of them was my favorite, "Runaway." It was like she heard me screaming from within: "Please sing it!" She sang this cool song that kept on saying, "I never really loved you anyway, I'm so glad you're moving away."

The "McArthur's Park" medley was neat, and so was the medley of song that were originally sung by guys but she changed to fit girls, too. I was so convinced that when she forgot a lyric or tow or when her voice started to weaken a bit because of her cold (did I mention she performed this two-and-a-half-hour-long concert nursing a cold? Is this girl for real?), I forgave her.

Strain

When the concert ended, I left right away, not because I didn't think she deserved an encore, but because I didn't want her to put any more strain on her voice. Her voice was starting to rebel and clamor for its well-deserved rest, and I agreed with it.

Another plus was that she was just so comfortable on that stage, it made me comfortable with her, too. Nothing she did was pretentious or trying-hard, it was just her. Regine Onstage.

Sure, she was corny sometimes, but we all have the license to be that way, on occasion. She took off her shoes in the middle of the show, she made fun of herself, she made fun of the members of the audience.

My favorite moment was when she caught a man dozing, so she decided to step down from the stage and talk to him. The guy didn't sleep again after that! Her whole concert felt like she was just hanging out with us ---there were no rehearsed spiels or gimmicks. It was refreshing.

At one point, she walked among the audience and asked them for their requests (Gary V., what have you started?). Any song the audience shouted she gamely took on. She even sang "Shalala" for a guy infront who had requested it, even though she said, "Hindi ka rin baduy, no?" She agreed to sing "Burn" and "My Heart Will Go On," two songs my row requested.

Luck

And call it luck, but we in the audience were blessed to have Ogie Alcasid as one of us. So, when Regine went up to him and asked him what his request was, the audience shouted, "Duet!!!" Ogie went onstage and jammed with the band and Regine. First, he sang the Voltes V theme (which the audience loved!) and then he jammed with Regine on "Endless Love."

Ogie is a concert artist's dream come true-you get an impromptu guest who doesn't need any script to be funny, and he knows when to get off the stage. Their part together was precious because it was natural and relaxed.

A friend has observed that after Regine went through that scandal, her singing got better because she had finally felt the emotions that her songs required her to feel. She felt the kilig of first love, the pain of being left, and the triumph of rebuilding a life and moving on. Now, she's able to put all this into her songs and not merely rely on the power of her voice. Her singing now has heart.

Maybe that's it, that's what won me over. I have seen the emotion in the person. I have seen that she has been hurt and she has loved, just as I have. And now I understand her. I know that she's a wonderfully talented person who giver her all to her audience. One heck of a generous performer.

Regine On A Roll
by Bayani S. San Diego Jr.
Woman's Journal, Dec. 5, 1998

The showstopping international songbird takes flight anew with a potential hit album Drawn.

The camera has seen her grow up and change from a gangly, unassuming barrio lass to a womanly, showstopping international songbird. The changes (the dolled-up face, the chic hairdo, the designer dresses) are just for the camera, mind you.

True, the girl once called Chona (painfully shy and diffident) is so different from the songbird named Regine Velasquez (self-assured, gregarious, and quick-witted). Deep down however, Regine is still the same wistful, starry eyed Bulakena. Despite the colegiala English, the true Tagala sometimes pipes in. (Case in point: She describes her dawn in poetic Tagalog: "Nag-aaway ang liwanag at dilim") ("The light and the dark is in battle")

For public appearances, she may be all dressed up and glamorized. But off-stage and off-camera, she goes around town in comfy white tee and khaki shorts.

Although now she gets to work with such American pop stars as Paul Anka, David Hasselfhoff, (and for her new album) Shanice and Micheal McDonald, she insists she is essentially the same Imelda Papin fan and aspiring singer who joined, and won, countless amateur singing contests all over the Philippines before hitting it big with the TV talent show Bagong Kampeon. (New Champion)

Her journey from small-town contests to international fame has become stuff pop legends are made of. (Remember her vocalization exercises neck deep down in sea water?) But Cinderella is all grown up now.

Regine says that, with her new album Drawn, she wants people to see "the other side of me." That seldom-seen side is Regine the artist - not recording artist, but visual artist. Regine, in her spare time, loves drawing and doodling faces - especially women's faces - on her notebooks, even her music and lyrics sheet.

"I like sketching women's eyes and lips," Regine explains. "It's because a woman's features are softer and more delicate than a man's." In fact, she has often expressed in the past that she wants to take Fine Arts should she go back to school.

(By the way, Regine, who "paints" her own face for concerts and pictorials, is also a whiz with the makeup brush.)

For close friends, she gives hand-painted shirts she has rendered herself. Regine's drawing hitherto limited to gift-giving, now makes its commercial debut as the CD cover of her latest album aptly titled Drawn.

"It could mean two things," Regine explains, "as in drawing or as in attracted."

A compilation of old and new love songs, the new album, under Viva Records, was launched with a four-night series concerts at the Music Museum (November 27 and 28, December 4 and 5). On stage and on records, "I want people to see the real me" - vibrant and colored with contrasting and complementary hues and shades.

If Regine were painting, she'd surely possess all the colors of the rainbow.

1. What visual image enters your mind when u hear the word love?

Maybe, flowers. Roses, usually. Lots and lots of red roses.

2. What are your mom's/dad's traits that you see in urself?

I don't know if I have it, but one trait of my mom (Teresa) that I would like to have is her strength. She is very stable; she doesn't panic easily. She's cool, calm, which is the opposite of my father (Gerry). My dad is a panicker. But my father's trait I'd like to acquire is his being caring and loving to his children. He has always been there for us.

3. Which would u sacrifice first: sense of sight, sense of hearing, sense of humor or common sense?

That's a hard question. Probably, sense of humor. That's the least important to me. But then again if I don't have a sense of humor, my life would be downright corny. I won't get my friends' jokes. But that's what I'd rather give up. I don't want to be blind, deaf or to have a low IQ - that's not nice at all.

4. Would u rather live a colorful, rollercoaster life filled with amazing successes and setbacks, or an eventful, but stable life?

You know what, my life has always been a rollercoaster ride ever since I joined showbiz. A lot of people have asked me if I would change anything. If I had a choice, would I go back to where I came from? If I could have the easy way out, would I choose a simple life? I usually tell them I wouldn't want to change anything. I wouldn't be where I am now if not for the past, if not for all the choices I made in the past.
It is actually exciting to have a rollercoaster life. If your life were a painting, you'd have plenty of colors. When you look back, you can tell yourself: I have done so many things in my life. I have no regrets because I've learned so much from all my experiences. Also, I'm the type who'd get easily bored with a stable life. I guess that is the reason why I chose this path.

5. In the spirit of the Eric Clapton song: if you could change the world, what are the changes you'd mandate?

Well, no matter how corny or cliche'-ish it may sound: world peace.
Especially now with the Spratly crisis. People tend to pass on everything - all their responsibilities - to the government or to just one person, the President. Making peace with everyone is not just the job of one person. We all have to do our share. I don't think we can achieve world peace if we don't live it. It's not a gift that would be handed down to us on a silver platter; we have to work hard for it. Hopefully, there will come a time when we can all accept and respect each other's differences.

6. If there would be one thing about urself that you could change, what would it be?

My face. (Laughs). Probably I want to be more intellectual.

7. Why? Do you consider urself more emotional?

Not really. Just right. My biggest frustration is not being able to finish college. Among my sisters, I'm the only one who doesn't have a degree. My brother Jojo is taking up dentistry. The twins Decca and Diane finished HRM; Cacai, Marketing.) It's not yet too late; I can still go back to school.

8. If this Saturday, you could do ANYTHING you wanted, what would you do?

Sleep and eat and not gain weight. I know I should diet, but I am so tired. I have been working every day for the past I-don't-know-how-many-years. I flew back from the US last night (Nov. 10), but until the end of December I am fully booked. So if I could do anything this weekend, I'd just sleep, eat, veg out and not have anyone bother me, even for a day.

9. After all that you have achieved, is there anything else you would want to do? Is there any dream still left unfulfilled?

Right now, I really cannot ask for anything more. God has given me everything that I've prayed for. With extra. Times are hard now, that's why I'm thankful that I still get a lot of projects, that people still trust in my talent.

10. What song reflects your present state of mind?

"You Made Me Stronger" (from the 1995 album, My Love Emotion). Because all the things that have happened in my life - some good, some not-so-good, some really, really bad - all these have made me stronger person, made me a whole person.

11. What do you enjoy most about singing?

Performing in front of people. I also like recording and doing movies, but doing concerts is different. You get instant feedback from the crowd. You can easily see the reaction of the people - if they enjoyed and liked the show. I've always loved to perform. As a child, I was a performer.

12. Multiple choice: Do you still get
(a) goosebumps
(b) all worked up and excited
(c) nervous on opening nights?

All of the above. Goosebumps, butterflies in my stomach, the works!
That's adrenaline. I get nervous for all the shows I do - whether big or small. Even singing live on TV makes me jittery. In fact, when I'm at east, I look for something that will make me nervous. It gets corny if you don't get tense; your energy level goes down.

13. What is your favorite time of the day?

Dawn and dusk. When I get to wake up early, I like watching the sunrise. The light and dark lights are in battle. The air smells different, really fresh.

14. Who are the women you look up to?

My mom is on top of the list. Then Kuh Ledesma; she's my idol. She's so generous. When I was just starting Kuh produced my very first concert (Regine at Seventeen). Pops Fernandez. I have many idols. My best friend Grace Reyes (a non-showbiz person). My sister Cacai. Even though she is younger than I am, she is my confidante.

15. As a performer, do you have a security blanket, in whatever form?

The microphone. Hours before the show, I insist on holding on to the mic. Even if it's not yet my turn to go onstage.

16. If u could live out a Hollywood movie, which would you choose?

Ever After. And I'd be Cinderella. I want to look like Drew Barrymore. I saw it twice in the States.

17. How would you want a man to treat a lady?

With respect. Not to force her to do anything she doesn't want to do.

18. How would you want a woman to handle a man?

I wouldn't know how to deal with men. Until now I am still trying to figure them out.

19. If u could take a trip in a time machine what era would you go to?

The younger years of Robert Redford. (smiles)

20. What is your dream honeymoon destination?

Hawaii. It's really beautiful out there.

21. Would u rather go for a walk or watch TV?

TV! I like watching movies on TV. All kinds: romantic comedy and mystery movies.

22. What goes on in ur mind when you think of the past?

How lucky I am that I was given a wonderful family. How fortunate I am I've been given the chance to be an entertainer, a performer.

23. What goes on in ur mind when you look forward to the future?

Being able to finish school.

24. Since most of the songs in ur new album are love songs, is Drawn a reflection of your present state of mind?

Not really.

25. Two of your sisters are already married. Do you feel pressured to get hitched urself?

It's okay. I'm in no hurry. One thing about me: I don't want to miss out on anything. Before, I almost went into that (a major commitment). Then when I thought about it, I freaked out. I realized, I wasn't ready. There are still so many things I want to do. There are still so many things I can do. Anyway, it's good that I get to travel a lot. I get to meet so many guys - with different personalities, from different nations. That's fine with me already. I get really excited and perked up.

 

Fil-Am producer hopes to break Regine in US
Drawn
Regine Velasquez
The MJF Company/Viva Records
November 21-21, 1998

He may yet be the Philippines' biggest international star, Mark Feist, 28, is not a new face in the local music scene. He wrote song "Looks Like Love" for Martin Nievera's Dream album and produced songs and albums for many local singer in the Philippines.

"I'd been doing a lot of work in the Philippines and Japan which opened a lot of doors for me, but my dream was always to move to L.A. " says Feist who blew into town recently in connection with Drawn, the album he produced for Regine Velasquez. Feist wrote the heart-tugging ballad about lost love called, "How Could You Leave."

His latest project is Drawn to which he holds the distribution rights for the rest of the world. In the Philippines, the album is released and distributed by Viva Records. It will be formally launched on Nov. 22, 4 p.m. with a mini-concert at the Atrium of SM Megamall.

Feist is in complete awe of Velasquez's talent, and is convinced that she has what it takes to make it in America. Her greatest asset, he says, is her willingness to adjust to what the market demands.

"She's talented, sure , but it's her dedication, her attitude , her focus and her willingness to understand that this is a totally new market and that she has to start from scratch -that's what's going to help her in what she want to do here," he said.

Feist eventually hopes to break Velasquez into the US market. There have, as of this writing, been three or four firm offers from major record labels interested in distributing Drawn in the US when it is released there. These lofty dreams, but not entirely beyond the reach of someone like Mark Feist.

Incidentally, Drawn is also titled of the singer's forthcoming concert series at the Music Museum on Nov. 27-28 and Dec. 4-5. The concert is conceptualized and to be directed by Velasquez herself with musical direction by Lorrie Ilustre and TV direction by Romy Veron.