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Regine Velasquez

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Regina Encarnacion Ansong Velasquez - Alcasid[1] (née Regina Encarnacion Ansong Velasquez; April 22, 1970), known as Regine Velasquez, is a Filipina recording artist and actress. She dubbed as the " Asia's Songbird " and she was hailed by the Philippine Association of the Record Industry (PARI) as the Philippines' Best-Selling Artist of All Time with 7 million albums sold in Philippines and 1.5 million in Asia.

She won the Grand Prize at the 1989 Asia Pacific Singing Contest in Hong Kong,[2] and is known for possessing an extensivevocal range.[3][4]

Velasquez is the first Asian artist to stage a solo concert at the Carnegie Hall in New York, as part of Carnegie Hall's centennial-year concert series.[5][6]

In 1994, Polygram Records produced her first Asia-released album, Listen Without Prejudice.[7] It is considered as Velasquez' most successful album to date, selling more than 700,000 copies in Asia.[8] The album has sold over 100,000 units in the Philippines, 300,000 units in China and 20,000 in Thailand.[7][8]

She has performed and collaborated with other international artists such as Paul Anka,[9][10] David Hasselhoff98 Degrees,Alicia KeysBrian McKnightMandy MooreRonan KeatingStephen BishopJim Brickman,[11] Peabo Bryson,[12] Jeffrey OsborneDave KozGrasshopperCoco LeeMichel LegrandDavid PomeranzEduardo CapetilloFernando CarrilloDavid ArchuletaRussell Watson and Singaporean vocal band Skritch.

In 2000, Velasquez' music video "In Love With You", a duet with Jacky Cheung, landed the #1 spot in MTV Asia's Top 20 Asian Videos.

On the eve of the new millennium, as part of BBC's Millennium Special 2000 Today, Velasquez, together with some 2,000 Filipino youths, sang the Philippine millennium theme, "Written in the Sand". This was broadcast by the BBC to 67 countries reaching to almost a billion people.

In 2002, Velasquez won in the MTV Asia awards held in Singapore as Favorite Artist making her the first Filipino to win the award. The following year, Velasquez won the same award at the 2003 MTV Asia Awards held also in Singapore. Velasquez is the first Filipino artist to have a CNN Talk Asia special interview with Lorraine Hahn.

Velasquez performed in international events such as MTV Asia Awards (in Singapore), UNICEF Benefit Concert (in China), Perfect 10 Music Awards (in Singapore), Asia Live Dream Concert (in Japan), SEA Games, Asian Music Scene, Miss UniversePreliminaries (in the Philippines), Lunar New Year Parade and Festival (in the U.S), Asian TV Awards (in Singapore) & Mosaic International Music Festival (in Singapore).

She has also embarked on several television and film projects, receiving a Best Actress award for her portrayal of a mentally challenged woman in a Maalaala Mo Kaya episode entitled "Lobo",[13][14] and another Best Actress award for her film Of All The Things.

Velasquez formed IndiMusic (iMusic), a record label partnered with Bella Tan's Universal Records.[15] She is currently managed by iMusic Entertainment.

She was hailed by the Philippine Association of the Record Industry (PARI) as the Philippines' Best-Selling Artist of All Time with 7 million albums sold in Philippines and 1.5 million in Asia.

ContentsEdit

 [hide*1 Biography

Biography[edit]Edit

1970–1985: Early life and discovery[edit]Edit

Velasquez is the first child of Teresita and Gerardo Velasquez, born in Tondo, Metro Manila, Philippines on April 22, 1970. Her family moved to Hinundayan, Southern Leyte, where Velasquez studied at the Hinundayan Central School. Music figured largely in her early development; her father always sang Frank Sinatra songs to the children and her mother accompanied on guitar. Velasquez always loved music and even before she could read, she was singing along with the family. Her father signed her up for small local singing competitions. He helped train her voice by having her sing while neck-deep in the ocean. Her mother also helped by teaching her how to move on stage and interpret songs. At the age of six, Velasquez participated in a nationally-televised amateur singing competition, The Tita Betty's Children's Show. Her piece, "Buhat Nang Kita'y Makilala" (Since I Met You), won third place. Velasquez continued to compete in more singing competitions in small towns around the country. By nine, Velasquez and her family had moved to Balagtas, Bulacan, where she studied at Balagtas Central School. She later studied at St. Lawrence Academy, where she won Vocal Solo and Vocal Duet awards for her school at the annual BULPRISA (Bulacan Private School Association) competition.

At fourteen, Velasquez entered the senior division of Ang Bagong Kampeon (The New Champion), a nationally-televised singing competition, hosted by Bert "Tawa" Marcelo andPilita Corrales.[16] Her father suggested that she audition with "Saan Ako Nagkamali" (Where Did I Go Wrong). She won for eight straight weeks and became the grand champion of the show in 1984. She was the third grand champion of the show since it started in 1981. The show's musical director, Dominic Salustiano, suggested her winning piece, George Benson's "In Your Eyes". She won a contract with OctoArts, recording the single "Love Me Again" as Chona Velasquez, her nickname at the time. She then joined the Organisasyon ng mga Pilipinong Mang-aawit (OPM), an organization of Filipino singers, performing in music lounges all over Metro Manila. Members of OPM helped her out by giving her industry advice and by lending their gowns for her performances.

1986–1987: Debuts[edit]Edit

At the behest of friend and fellow OctoArts recording artist, Pops Fernandez, Velasquez guested on the GMA 7 Variety TV show, Penthouse Live on February 16, 1986. Martin Nievera, Pops' husband and co-host of the show, suggested to Velasquez that she drop the name "Chona" and use Regine as her screen name. That year, her father resigned from his job as a construction estimator to fully attend to his daughter's blossoming career.[17]

Viva Records signed Velasquez to a contract in 1987, releasing her self-titled debut album Regine. The album contained the songs "Kung Maibabalik Ko Lang", "Isang Lahi" and "Urong Sulong". Her first regularly televised performances were musical variety shows with ensemble casts, such as ABS-CBN's Triple Treat and the Sunday variety show Teen Pan Alley. Velasquez and Alley's Janno Gibbs continued to collaborate throughout the years, creating the musical Kenkoy at Rosing, recording the cover song "Magkasuyo Buong Gabi," and performing duets in concert.

1988–1991: Growing Fame[edit]Edit

In 1988, Velasquez 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.

In 1989, Velasquez was chosen to represent the Philippines in the Asia-Pacific Singing Contest held in Hong Kong. On Dececember 23, 1989, Velasquez won the grand prize with "You'll Never Walk Alone from Carousel and "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" from Dreamgirls. After the competition, media started calling her Asia's Songbird.[18]

Jose Mari Chan picked Velasquez to do a duet for his album entitled Constant Change. The album was awarded a Certified Diamond Record Award by the PRIMAGary Valenciano penned the song 'Each Passing Night' which they sang together for his album 'Faces of Love'.[19]

Velasquez signed with Vicor records and released several albums, starting with Nineteen 90. The album included "Narito Ako" (Here I am), her first Ogie Alcasid-penned song, "I Have To Say Goodbye" and "Promdi". Her first major solo concert, Narito Ako, was standing-room only at the Folk Arts Theater, with Gary Valenciano as a guest performer. Velasquez's debut United States solo concert, Narito Ako sa New York (Here I am in New York), was held at the Main Hall of Carnegie Hall on October 11, 1991. Her special guest was Ray-An Fuentes. The concert was a roaring success that earned three standing ovations from the audience.

She sang "Urong-Sulong" and "Narito Ako" plus "I'm Your Baby Tonight" "Greatest Love of All," "You'll Never Walk Alone," "We Can Work It Out," "Somewhere" and a Barbra Streisand medley and romance medley with guest Ray An Fuentes.

She next released an album, Tagala Talaga ("A Genuine Tagalog Lady"). It comprises her renditions of classic Filipino compositions by Nonong Pedero, Willy Cruz, George CansecoLouie OcampoFreddie Aguilar, and National Artists for Music Awardees Ryan CayabyabLucio D. San Pedro, and Levi Celerio.

1992–1998: Asian music success[edit]Edit

"Sana Maulit Muli" (1993)MENU   0:00 One of Velasquez biggest hits in the 1990s, with a strong arrangement and strong soaring vocals----

"In Love With You" (1994) MENU   0:00 Velasquez collaboration with Jacky Cheung, one of her biggest singles in Asia---- "Days Like These" (1995) MENU   0:00 Contains outlandish musical effects and high vocals---- "Fly" (1996) MENU   0:00 Velasquez first single from her albumRetro with a sample of "September" byEarth, Wind & Fire---- "Hold On To Your Dreams" (1996) MENU   0:00 From her album Love Was Born On Christmas Day----

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In 1992, Velasquez continued to guest on variety shows in the Philippines. In July 1993, she was discovered by Alex Chan and Norman Cheng, the Regional Marketing Manager of Polygram Far East and President of Polygram Far East while watching Velasquez' "Music and Me" concert. Afterwards, they approached and told Velasquez that they wanted to manage her Asian career.

First, they featured Velasquez in a duet with Paul Anka entitled "It's Hard to Say Goodbye"[10] which is included in her fourth album, Reason Enough, which was released in 1993 and achieved platinum album status. It featured "Sana Maulit Muli," "Babalikang Muli," and a duet with Gary Valenciano, "Slip Away."

In November 4, 1994, Velasquez performed with Janno Gibbs and Ariel Rivera at the Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles. About 6,100 people came. Then on November 12, 1994 they performed at Cow Palace Auditorium in San Francisco; ticket sales exceeded 8,200. On November 18, 1994 they performed at the Beacon Theatre in New York wherein 400 standing-room-only tickets were released along with 3,000 seats sold out two weeks before the concert date.[20]

PolyGram Records produced her first Asian album, Listen Without Prejudice. "In Love With You," a duet with Jacky Cheung, turned platinum in Taiwan seven days after its release. In its year-end sales of 1994, Listen Without Prejudice reported sales of over 300,000+ units in Asia in three months.[7] It was reportedly the first huge success of PolyGram in Asia.

Velasquez' second album, My Love Emotion,[21] featured "You've Made Me Stronger," composed by Trina Belamide. Velasquez said that this album was born from a live performance in Singapore. She performed in Singapore for the Perfect 10 Music Awards in 1995. She was nominated in two categories (Favorite New Act and Favorite Performance in a song for "In Love With You") but lost. She sang "In Love With You" with a Singaporean singer and "What Kind of Fool Am I?". After singing "What Kind of Fool Am I?" Phil Buckle (the guitarist of Southern Sons, an Australian band) congratulated Velasquez and told her that he'd like to write her a song. Phil composed "My Love Emotion," which is the title of the album. She did two videos for "You've Made Me Stronger" and "My Love Emotion" and sold 100,000 copies Asia-wide on the first month of its release. In the year-end sales of "My Love Emotion," it sold more than 250,000 units across Asia.[21]

As a part of her My Love Emotion Japanese album launch, Velasquez was invited to perform in many concert guestings, Asian music gatherings, and festivals such as YoshinogariRuins in Saga Prefecture 1994 and 1995 when she did the opening and closing numbers.

Before Velasquez participated in the Asian music scene in Manila in October 18, 1996, her third Asian album Retro was released. The album contains re-arrangements of her favorite songs. She and Remus Choy made a video for the duet "I Can't Help It."

As a part of her Retro album promotion, Velasquez guested and performed with some of the songs included in her album at the event called The Open Concert in South Korea.

Velasquez joined Ryan Cayabyab's musical adaptation of José Rizal's Noli Me Tangere at the CCP in 1995. She played the tragic role of Maria Clara opposite Audie Gemora's Crisostomo Ibarra, directed by Nonong Padilla.[22] Vic Del Rosario of Viva saw her performance and offered her the lead in Wanted: Perfect Mother, a movie adaptation of theMars Ravelo comic book series, loosely based on The Sound of Music.[23] Martin Nievera wrote the theme, "You Are My Song," one of Velasquez's original hit singles.[24] The movie was her first starring role and first pairing with Christopher De Leon.

On April 20, 1996, she did a free concert at the UP Sunken Garden to celebrate her tenth year in show business. It was her way of thanking her country for supporting her all these years. The special guests were Ivy Violan, Nanette Inventor, Bernardo Bernardo, the Tux, Louie OcampoJanno Gibbs and Cacai Velasquez. Velasquez herself was the stage director and she conceptualized the show. The musical director was Ryan Cayabyab. They were backed up by the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra.[25] In the same year, Velasquez recorded a Christmas album, Love Was Born on Christmas Day, her final album under Polycosmic Records. She also ended her contract with Primeline, Inc., opting to manage her own career with her then Road Manager, Patty Mayoralgo.[26]

June 7, 1997, Velasquez and Philippine Pop Diva Kuh Ledesma staged the "Power of 2" concert in San Francisco and Pasadena in the U.S. The show was huge with over 12,000 people in attendance. Afterwards, she had a Canada concert tour (Toronto, Winnipeg and Calgary) and shows with Pops Fernandez in Italy which were all successful.[25]

Viva Records released her multi-platinum R&B and hip hop album Drawn, produced by Mark J. Feist,[27] featuring a portrait made by Velasquez on the cover. Songs like "How Could You Leave,"[28] "Never Ever Say Goodbye," and more upbeat songs like "Once in a Lifetime" and "Messin' With My Head" celebrated her vocal power, technique, and versatility.[29] A mix of original and cover tracks with an R&B flair comprised the album. The only Filipino track in the album, "Ikaw (You)," was the theme song of her movie with matinee idol Aga Muhlach. The single "Emotions" was produced by Mark Feist, who later produced the Destiny's Child cover of the same song in 2001 with very little variation. Velasquez also developed a more sexy public image, distancing herself from her former demure one.[30]

Drawn was the one of Velasquez best selling albums: Two weeks after its release, it turned platinum with 40,000 copies sold and ended up on 8x Platinum (350,000+ copies sold).[31] It was considered the figure two weeks after the set of its release. Drawn was officially available on November 22, 1998 but, according to VMG advertising and promotion manager Bambi Diploma, a number of outlets sold the album around November 16, 1998.[31]

Eventually, her star shone brighter year after year. Velasquez became an international star and released three multi-platinum albums in Asia. She toured the Philippines and other 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.

1999–2005: Transition and independence[edit]Edit

"On The Wings Of Love" (1999)MENU   0:00 Velasquez biggest hit in 2000----
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In November 10, 1999, Velasquez released her album R2K a mnemonic of (Regine 2000)[32] which consists covers of international artists.[32] It went platinum (40,000) within 2 weeks of its release on Nov 27, 1999, it is also the first album by a local artist to include a bonus VCD that is available only include in the album, contains 6 videos of songs from the audio CD.[32] In 2001R2k reportedly ended up with the certification of Octuple Platinum Record Award which equivalent in thePhilippines of 8X Platinum (350,000+ copies sold).[33] But in 2004 it was reportedly certified 12X Platinum (480,000+ copies sold), but never awarded by its own label.[33]

On the evening of December 31, 1999, Christian Lanzar a Hemophilia stricken child was joined by more than 2,000 children, some who arrived as early as 10:00 a.m. to rehearse, at the top of Manila Peninsula Hotel. "I was gathering enough energy and strength to face a magnificent milestone in my life," said Christian. Velasquez joined the contingent to perform the country's millennial theme,[34] "Written in the Sand" was beamed to 67 major broadcast networks in AsiaEuropeNorth AmericaSouth AmericaAustralia, and Africa— reaching more than a billion of people. The first to view the broadcast were the people of the Kiribati Islands in Fiji, and the song crossed 24 time zones, culminating in theSamoa Islands.[35]

Two years later, Velasquez released an all-original album titled Reigne. The album included songs like "To Reach You," "Dadalhin," and "Sa Aking Pag-iisa"which had a remix version. She also worked with singer Marvi Napoles in reviving Mariah Carey/Brian Mcknight Whenever You Call.

Velasquez became the spokesperson for American fast-food chains like KFC and Wendy's in Asia.

As an actress, she appeared in a number of Filipino films. In 2002, she won her first Best Actress award from Star Awards (for Television) in her portrayal of a mentally-challenged woman seeking acceptance and love in a Maalaala Mo Kaya episode entitled "Lobo". Lobo is the highest-rating episode (47.9%) in the history of Maalaala Mo Kaya.

She also released the film "Ikaw Lamang, Hanggang Ngayon" and received an MTV Asia award for "Best Philippine Artist,". She was named the "Box Office Queen" award the same year from the Guillermo Mendoza Memorial foundation.

She also staged the Bantay Bata Benefit concert, One Night with Regine, set at the stairs of the Philippine National Museum which won Best Musical Special at the 2003 Asian Television Awards. Her MTV Asia special entitled Speak Your Mind was nominated for the UNICEF Child Rights Awards. The production was highly commended for its agenda on child welfare, documenting the plight of homeless children swarming the streets of Metro Manila, in an effort to protect and safeguard their rights.[36]

She also hosted the amateur singing contest Star For A Night which aimed to discover new talents. The weekly show was aired on IBC-13 and was a co-production with Viva.

Velasquez became the first and second recipient of the MTV Favorite Artist Award (Philippines) in 2002. During the 2002 award ceremony held in Singapore, she sang "Cry" in a duet with Mandy Moore, one of the hosts.[37][38]

In 2003, Velasquez reunited with Martin Nievera in the Martín Nievera and Regine Velasquez World Concert Tour. The concert was an artistic and commercial success. The first quarter of 2004 saw Velasquez and co-artist, singer-songwriter Ogie Alcasid in much-anticipated back-to-back concerts entitled The Songbird and the Songwriter. Velasquez formed her own record label called Songbird Music in that same year. She produced an album for Gabby Eigenmann who was her co-host in SOP. Velasquez won her MTV Favorite Artist Award (Philippines) for the second time in MTV Asia Awards.[37]

In 2004, Velasquez released Covers Vol. 1, comprising cover songs including Original Pilipino Music (OPM) classics of male singers like Basil ValdezMartin NieveraGary ValencianoOgie Alcasid, Side A, True Faith, and Ariel Rivera. Velasquez transferred her amateur singing contest to GMA-7 and changed the name to Search For A Star.

Velasquez starred in GMA's telenovela Forever In My Heart opposite Richard Gomez, Dawn Zulueta, and former flame Ariel Rivera. December 2004 was Velasquez return to major solo concert performance. She staged in a 24,000 seat Araneta Coliseum another set of back-to-back concert performances regally titled Reigning Still. The show was triumphant amidst a series of typhoons that ravaged Manila and nearby provinces. Reigning Still wasn't a culmination of Velasquez' 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 Araneta 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 Velasquez donned the hat of producer and director. The concert was a showcase of what Velasquez has learned in her craft through the years. It is a spectacle of her running concepts, ideas and style where you can see a Velasquez 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 SpearsJanet Jackson, and Christina Aguilera. In 2005, Velasquez and singer Pops Fernandez performed a concert, Queens On Fire, later taking it on an eight-city U.S. tour.

Velasquez held the Reflections Concert series at Aliw Theatre late that year. The stage was decorated with mannequins wearing her gowns from the past decade which were later auctioned for the benefit of GMA's Kapuso Foundation. The concert featured the prodigies "Wyeth Gifted Kids" (saxophonist Jacob Sarreal, violinists Joseph Valdés and Paulina, and classical cellist Pocholo Gutiérrez). The concert featured songs by her favorite singers or the foreign female singers who have influenced her career. The concert consisted of numerous medleys of hits by Barbra StreisandAnita BakerSheena EastonSpice GirlsMariah CareyWhitney Houston, and Celine Dion.

Velasquez hosted Pinoy Pop Superstar (a singing competition on GMA 7 which started last 2005 until 2008) which launched the career of Jonalyn Viray (1st Pinoy Pop Superstar Grand Champion who also competed at the World Championships of Performing Arts in Hollywood where she won five golds for Broadway, Original, Pop, R&B and Variety categories & was declared "Overall Champion Female Solo" in Broadway, Pop and Original).

She recorded the theme song "Di Na Nag-iisa" for the Darna TV series, based on the Darna comic book character created by Mars Ravelo. The theme song was composed by South Border's Jay Durias and the song was nominated for an Aliw Award for Best Song Made For Television. The song was also used in the movie Till I Met You and is included in the original sound track.

2006–2008: 20th Anniversary and independent record label launch[edit]Edit

2006 marked Velasquez 20th Anniversary in showbiz. She released the album Covers Volume 2, featuring covers of international hit songs including Elvis Presley's "Blue Suede Shoes" and The Beatles' "Come Together". All of the songs were presented with new arrangements in various musical genres. The first single was "Hold Me In Your Arms," covering the Southern Sons song.

Her Valentine concert at the Araneta Coliseum, Forever After, co-starred Ogie Alcasid, Rico Puno, and Ai Ai Delas Alas. She and Pops Fernandez staged the North American leg of the Queens on Fire concert tour in the spring of 2006. The Forever After tour was staged in key US cities and at the Wembley Arena in London.

On August 13, 2006, the Sharon Cuneta Show devoted an to Velasquez. In the middle of 2006, together with manager Cacai Velasquez, boyfriend Ogie Alcasid, and brother-in-law Raul Mitra, Velasquez launched the IndiMusic record label. As part of her 20th anniversary celebration, she staged Twenty concert, at the Araneta Coliseum in mid-October 2006. Velasquez also recorded "Maghihintay Ako," the theme song for the sci-fi telenovela Atlantika.

In 2007, People Asia magazine's "People of the Year" honored her with the Exemplary Achievement Award, shared with three others. On March 14, Velasquez together with Kuh Ledesma represented the Philippines in the Mosaic International Music Festival in Singapore held at the Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay.[39]

Her movie, Paano Kita Iibigin, opened on May 30, 2007. The movie was the first co-production between Viva Films and Star Cinema which is owned by media conglomerate ABS-CBN. A soundtrack, featuring solos and duets by the co-stars, was released by Star Records, the first time Velasquez produced an album outside Viva Entertainment. The theme song was penned by Ogie Alcasid.

In August 2007, Velasquez and Alcasid started hosting Celebrity Duets (Philippines) on GMA 7. The show pairs up local personalities with local professional singers. Velásquez also endorsed Vicki Belo's "Belo Essentials," which includes singer Zsa Zsa Padilla and model/TV personality Lucy Torres. This year she recorded the theme song of GMA's remake of MariMar. In October 2007, she appeared on the cover of the fashion magazine "Preview".

Velasquez attended the 2007 Aliw Awards held at Palacio de Maynila and won "Best Major Concert Act (Female)" for her 20th year anniversary concert at the Araneta Coliseum. Velasquez was also awarded "The Most Successful Artist of the Year" award by Walk Of Fame Philippines on December 4, 2007 in Eastwood, Quezon City.

Velasquez had a featured performance on Korean television KBS1 entitled Window of Asia showcasing her life.

She also starred a weekly musical variety show on GMA7 titled Songbird which premiered May 15, 2008. The "Up Close and Personal" solo U.S concert tour started in May 2008.

A series of concerts with Lani Misalucha started with a tour of the US and Canada in September 2008 before moving to Manila in 2009. Also in 2008, Velasquez released her 15th studio album, Low Key, which earned a certified gold status three days after its release.[40] In December 2008, she performed with Pops FernandezKuh Ledesma, and Zsa Zsa Padilla in the biggest concert of the year at the Araneta Coliseum dubbed as Divas 4 Divas.

2009–2011: Directorial Debuts, Fantasy, Marriage, Motherhood & Hiatus[edit]Edit

Velasquez's Low Key under Universal Records became the first platinum album of 2009.[40]

Velasquez also played Anna in the series Totoy Bato, a soap in GMA-7. In March and May 2009, she went on tour in the US to stage The Divas 4 Divas US Tour; also, in 2009, Velasquez hosted the GMA singing competition, Are You The Next Big Star? which Frencheska Farr ended up as the grand champion.

Velasquez did a docu-biography show aired last May 24, 2009 on GMA Network[41] as part of her month-long birthday celebration entitled "Roots To Riches." The show featured untold stories, "going back to Regine's roots from her amateur singing days in Malolos, Bulacan up to where she is now."[41] She also gave citation to her young rival in singing competitions, Minerva "Eva" Castillo. They joined in one stage singing, "Ako Ang Nagwagi", a Dulce hit-song.[42]

After being scheduled to perform at a concert with Charice Pempengco, Velasquez was forced to pull out after contracting the swine flu. She has since recovered.[43]

At the final requiem mass for President Corazon Aquino, August 5, 2009, Velásquez sang a duet with Martin Nievera, "The Prayer."

In August 1 and 8, Velasquez held a two-night sold-out concert entitled "Regine... Most Requested" at the SkyDome, SM North EDSA, which marked her return to the Viva fold. As the theme of the concert Velasquez performs most-requested radio airplay classics, OPM and popular hits of different artists such as the rock band Heart, Grammy-winning band Chicago, and Pinoy Rock band Eraserheads, Eva Castillo appeared as her special guest.[44][45][46] The TV Coverage of her concert later shown in November 21 in her home network GMA7.[47] Early December, she started her most requested concert in provincial places and early next year she is scheduled to finish her provincial tours.[48]

In August 28, 2009, Velasquez launched a perfume collection via Bench. The two new scents are branded as Reigne and SongbirdReigne has a touch of sophistication but of a more pronounced charm of floral and fruit combined; Songbird has floral and powdery feel to it symbolic of daintiness that is light enough for everyday use.[49]

Velasquez is also a big part of her husband Ogie Alcasid project- "Kaya Natin Ito" the CD. The said project will be supported by Gawad Kalinga to help the Ondoy and Pepeng victims in the disaster.

In 2010, Velasquez started the year by accepting a comic-villain role in GMA-7's Darna. She starred as Darna’s latest nemesis Elektra – Queen of Planet Women, Velasquez said it would be a different experience indeed because her character belongs to the evil side hence It's a new experience for her to play this role.[50][51][52] At the same time, went on to conclude the provincial tour of her SRO 2009 concert series, "Regine Most Requested". Also in March 2010, she starred again in a new prime time offering of GMA Network for their 60th Anniversary titled Diva again with Mark Anthony Fernandez and supporting role of Glaiza de Castro. The series was highly acclaimed by critics for its being innovative, as well as viewer-friendly to all ages. She also did a concert tour entitled Heart 2 Heart with Ogie Alcasid.

Velasquez attended the inauguration of the 15th president of the Republic of the Philippines Noynoy Aquino at the Quirino Grandstand on June 30, 2010, performing Aquino's first campaign jingle "Hindi Ka Nagiisa" and "Bagong Pilipinas" together with other Filipino artists.[53][54][55][56]

For the fourth time (2000-9, 2001–4, 2002–7), Velasquez was ranked 8th in the top 10 of FHM Philippines 100 Sexiest Woman In The World.[57] In November 2010, Velasquez started shooting for her new GMA-7 teleserye, "I Heart U Pare" opposite Dingdong Dantes. A great deal of the story will tackle the colorful and burlesque world of gays and drag queens. Set to premiere on early 2011, this is Velasquez's 5th series for the GMA network.[58]

Velasquez released an album under Universal Records entitled Fantasy, a 2-CD album containing 22 tracks.[59] Fantasy also has two sets of packaging. Each box-set contains 10 sets of post-cards that are in color and in black and white. Fantasy was awarded a Gold Record Award two weeks after its release, and after one month it was awarded as Platinum Record Award making it one of the fastest selling albums of 2010 in Philippine albums history.[60]

In February 7, 2011, Velasquez TV series I Heart You, Pare premieres.[61]

In March 15, 2011, Asia's Songbird became the recipient of the MYX Magna Award during the 6th MYX Music Awards 2011 to commemorate her 25th year anniversary in OPM Music Scene. Before accepting the special award, she was given a tribute by Yeng ConstantinoJulie Anne San JoseFrencheska FarrKylaMark BautistaRachelle Ann Go,Christian Bautista and her husband Ogie Alcasid who sang her hit-songs.[62][63][64][65]

In June 2011 Velasquez was nominated as Coolest Female Singer in 2011 Yahoo Philippines OMG Awards, She got 43% of the overall votes, but she lost it to Charice Pempengcowith 54% of overall votes .[66]

2012–present: Return to television and movies, Mr.& Mrs. ASilver and new studio album[edit]Edit

After her nine-month career break, Velasquez made a comeback in her Sunday variety show Party Pilipinas on February 12, 2012 to promote her Valentine concert. Along with co-hosts Jaya, Rachelle Ann Go, Kyla and Jonalyn Viray, Velasquez did an impromptu/unrehearsed performance to give tribute to one of their biggest music influences, American singer Whitney Houston who died hours before the show started. Velasquez sang a medley of Houston's hits such as All the Man That I NeedThe Greatest Love of All and I Will Always Love You together with the other singers who also gave a tribute.[67] Prior to her performance, Velasquez gave testimony on the influence Ms Houston made on her, "The songs of this diva shaped and inspired the singer that I am today, to commemorate her, this is my tribute to Whitney Houston" "I’m deeply saddened by her passing. She influenced me, especially when I was just starting. I’m a fan and will always be one. Rest in peace, Ms Houston..".[68][69]

As part of her grand comeback, Velasquez had a sold-out joint concert with husband, singer-songwriter Ogie Alcasid, entitled "Mr. & Mrs. A" on February 14, 2012 (Valentine's Day) at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. This was their very first concert together as husband and wife after Velasquez gave birth to their firstborn son. Love and emotions outpour as the couple sings timeless songs that unravel their life and love stories which surely engaged viewers in the beauty of love. The concept of the show is also based on Velasquez' experience in wonderful and challenging sides of marriage and being a mother. The jam-packed Smart Araneta Coliseum proved that the Asia's Songbird still reigns the Philippine concert scene. The most talked-about and successful Valentine/comeback concert of the Songbird featured artists from both ABS-CBN and GMA-7 networks. The guests wereDingdong Dantes, R&B Princess Kyla, the first-ever "Star Power" winner Angeline Quinto, Prince of Pop Erik Santos and Vice GandaAmerican Idol Season 7 runner-up David Archuleta surprised the Big Dome when he showed up and performed with the power couple.[70][71][72][73][74][75][76]

In April 2012, Velasquez' firstborn son, Nathaniel James Alcasid, was featured in her television commercial with husband Ogie Alcasid entitled "Experience Love for Sun Life Financial". Their TVC for Sun Life Financial was first aired on April 9, 2012.[77]

Velasquez made several guest performances in GMA-7's Party Pilipinas. Her live performances on the said variety show have always been the talk of the town as people have witnessed the gradual changes in her body weight from being fat to slim, and of course, her singing prowess has never failed to amaze the audience.[78][79]

8 months after giving birth to her son, Velasquez is finally returning from her usual body weight. In July 14, 2012, the Asia's Songbird took centerstage as she performed together with Ms. Sharon Cuneta, Mr. Basil ValdezErik Santos, and Christian Bautista during the final performance night of the country's most prestigious songwriting competition, the Philippine Popular Music Festival (PhilPOP).[80][81][82][83]

In July 15, 2012, the shooting of her 3rd movie team-up with Aga MuhlachOf All The Things under Viva Films, has finally resumed after almost 3 years. The shooting was first postponed due to Velasquez' concert in 2009. It was again postponed because Aga Muhlach did another movie under Star Cinema. The shooting had to postpone again because of Velasquez' 9 month break from entertainment due to her pregnancy after her marriage. Viva Management together with the director of the film, Bb. Joyce Bernal have decided to finish the movie since the tandem of Regine and Aga is still loved by many people. Velasquez' previous films with Aga Muhlach include: Dahil May Isang Ikaw in 1999, and Pangako Ikaw Lang in 2000 were both blockbuster movies which made them Box Office King and Queen for two consecutive years.[84] And finally movie Of All the Things was shown on September 26, 2012. with 14-million pesos in opening week and positive reviews from both film and entertainment critics.[85][86][87][88][89][90][91][92][93][94][95][96][97]

As her TV comeback, Velasquez became a regular talk show host of GMA-7's newest weekend show, H.O.T. TV on August 5. It's the network's newest Sunday afternoon showbiz and magazine lifestyle talk show replacing Showbiz Central which is scheduled to bid goodbye on July 29. Other hosts included Roderick PaulateRaymond Gutierrez and Jennylyn Mercado and under the direction of Rico Gutierrez.[98]

As a part of her 25th year anniversary in the business and her countless contributions in OPM Music Scene, Velasquez was hailed and awarded as Natatanging Alagad ng Musikain The 2012 Star Awards for Music alongside 11 other OPM artists last September, She was also nominated for two categories that night Concert of the Year and Female Concert Performer of the Year for her concert Mr & Mrs A last February.[99][100][101][102]

Velasquez embark a new cooking talk show called Sarap Diva which started on October 6, 2012. The show is a cooking-show, talk-show, and a music-show all in one show. The show will have various guests for the host to chat and cook with.[103][104][105] Sarap Diva is likewise Velasquez' newest nest, where she will cherish and share her love for food, music, and family. Making the program extraordinarily special is the participation of her son Nathaniel James Alcasid a.k.a. Baby Nate and her dear pet dog, George. They will add spice to the weekly episodes. Music will certainly be a part of the program and Regine will be joined by her brother-in-law and musical director Raul Mitra in piano.[106][107][108][109][110][111][112][113][114]

In celebration of her 25th Anniversary in the industry, Velasquez staged a solo-major concert entitled Silver at the 20,000-seater Mall of Asia Arena on November 16, 2012. Velasquez became the FIRST Filipino artist to stage a solo-major concert at the Arena. The most anticipated event of the year which marks her 26 glorious years in the industry was cut short after she lost her voice because of a viral infection.[115] The Asia's Songbird became emotional and apologized to the audience but promised to do a repeat of her concert for free.

On January 5, 2013, Regine has opened the year with her crown still firmly in place during her Silver Rewind concert. The songbird fulfilled her promise, and her fans showed up again, filling the Mall of Asia Arena to capacity. It was clear that she has not only regained her roar but she also had a resounding redemption of reputation by the time the concert ends.[116] The grand concert which was attended by celebrities and known personalities like Kris AquinoRichard GomezLucy TorresZsa Zsa PadillaAga MuhlachMikee Cojuangco-JaworskiVicky BeloVice GandaSarah GeronimoToni GonzagaEugene DomingoIza CalzadoRaymond GutierrezJennylyn MercadoKarylleMarjorie Barretto,Boboy GarovilloJohn LapusAngeline Quinto, and so much more was musically directed by Maestro Ryan Cayabyab and Raul Mitra and was accompanied by the 60-piece Manila Symphony Orchestra. Ogie AlcasidJanno GibbsMichael V. and Lani Misalucha were the guest artists during her first Silver Concert on November 16, 2012, while Jaya,Rachelle Ann GoLa DivaGloc-9KC MonteroJose Manalo and Wally Bayola guested during the repeat on January 5, 2013.[117][118][119][120]

On February 14, 2013, Velasquez had a sold-out Valentine spectacle which combined the talents and charm of iconic show-stopping ex-couple Martin Nievera and Pops Fernandez and Velasquez herself with husband Ogie Alcasid. The concert which was also held at the biggest arena in the country, the Mall of Asia Arena, arguably stole the thunder from other concerts held to embrace the heart's day - even those that featured international stars. The successful and much-talked about Foursome Valentine concert that gathered four of the country's singing icons for the first time also had a repeat performance due to public demand. The highly anticipated event happened on March 16, 2013 at the same venue, with a very special guest that definitely intensified the already powerful foursome team-up, Gary Valenciano. The concert being counted as the talk of town was greatly justified when it made the global guide list of last-minute Valentine date destinations as jotted down by CNN's travel writer Pam Grout. In the article titled "50 Cities, 50 Last-Minute Valentine's Dates," Manila was included at number 21, with the "Foursome" show suggested as the "historic Valentine's concert" to catch.[121]

Another recognition has been received by Velasquez this year, which she bagged a Best Performance By An Actress In A Leading Role (Musical/Comedy) trophy in her film Of All The Things at the 10th Golden Screen Awards. The film which she starred together with his leading man in the film Aga Muhlach also received the same award in male category. This is considered as a big achievement for Velasquez since her league is in performing in entertainment. This award is also considered as Velasquez second Best Actress award since she received it in Star Awards In Television 2002 for her breakthrough performance of portraying a mentally challenged woman in Maalaala Mo Kaya episode entitledLobo.[122][123]

In June 12, 2013 during the 115th anniversary of Philippine Independence, Regine Velasquez was named by MEGA Magazine as one of the 10 MEGA Global Pinoys because of her unparalleled contribution to the Philippine Music Industry.

In August 2013, Regine Velasquez was included in YES! Magazine's 100 Most Beautiful Stars List.

On September 13, 2013, Regine Velasquez guested at Martin Nievera's 3D Concert (30th Anniversary Concert) at the Araneta Coliseum. Regine also got 4 nominations at the 5th PMPC Star Awards for Music:[124] Female Concert Performer of the Year (for SILVER concert & Foursome concert) and Concert of the Year (for SILVER concert & Foursome concert). Foursome Concert was also nominated as Best Collaboration in a Concert at the Aliw Awards. Unfortunately, for unknown reasons, Regine's SILVER Concert didn't get any nominations from the Aliw Awards.

On October 13, 2013, Regine Velasquez won as Female Concert of the Year (for her Silver Concert) at the 5th PMPC Star Awards for Music. Also, her collaboration concert "Foursome" with Ogie Alcasid, Pops Fernandez and Martin Nievera won as Concert of the Year.[125]

Regine Velasquez is currently nominated for three categories at the 2013 World Music Awards (WMA): World's Best Entertainer of the Year, World's Best Live Act, and World's Best Female Artist. This year’s list of WMA nominees include AdeleBeyonce KnowlesCeline DionKaty PerryMariah CareyRihanna, and many others. The awarding date is yet to be set.

On October 25 - November 4, Regine flew to North America to stage the US tour of her critically acclaimed and successful 25th Anniversary Concert, SILVER, which was dubbed as a major US comeback after a long hiatus from doing tours abroad.[126]

Upon her return to the Philippines, Regine finally released her much anticipated 16th Studio Album after three long years. Entitled "Hulog Ka Ng Langit", this album is her first LP after getting married and giving birth to her son, Nathaniel. Thus, this is the first album bearing her marital name, Regine Velasquez-Alcasid. The album was a success for upon its release, Hulog Ka Ng Langit debut at number 1 in the leading record store charts in the Philippines.[127] And in 2 weeks, Hulog Ka Ng Langit turned Platinum with more than 15,000 copies sold making the album as the fastest selling album of 2013.

On November 25, 2013, Regine made a surprise guest performance with RnB superstar Alicia Keys at the latter's Set The World On Fire Tour in Manila, singing "If I Ain't Got You" alongside Keys.[128]

Acting career[edit]Edit

Velasquez' first movie role was in the film The Untouchable Family. She soon ventured into comedy films. She was cast in the 1988 film Pik Pak Boom. She then co-starred in the flick Elvis and James.

Velasquez' returned to the cinema in 1996 for her first lead role in the film Wanted Perfect Mother. Also in that same year, she was one of three lead actresses in the musical comedy DoReMi alongside Donna Cruz and Mikee Cojuangco. Despite being part of the movie, Velasquez' vocals were not part in recording of the movie's soundtrack, as it was an then-upcoming VIVA Records singer named Krystine, who sang vocals on her part.[129] In the movie version, Velasquez was able to record her vocals just in time before the movie was released.

In 1998's Honey Nasa Langit Na Ba Ako, she played a ghost who died in a car accident days before her wedding day. Also, Velasquez co-starred with Aga Muhlach in the romantic film Dahil May Isang Ikaw. Later, in 2000, she starred in Kailangan Ko'y Ikaw with Robin Padilla. In 2001 she starred in Pangako Ikaw Lang which earned her a Box-Office Queenaward from the Guillermo Mendoza Memorial Scholarship Foundation.

In 2002, she won her first Best Actress award from Star Awards (for Television) in her portrayal of a mentally-challenged woman seeking acceptance and love in a Maalaala Mo Kaya episode entitled "Lobo". Lobo is the highest-rating episode (47.9%) in the history of Maalaala Mo Kaya.

Velasquez acted in two more romantic films in 2002 and 2003; Ikaw Lamang, Hanggang Ngayon and Pangarap Ko Ang Ibigin Ka. In December 2003, she appeared in Captain Barbell.

Velasquez returned to the romance genre in 2006 and 2007 with Till I Met You and Paano Kita Iibigin. In June 2008, she was the voice of Urduja in the animated film Urduja.

In 2009, Velasquez conceptualized the story for OMG (Oh, My Girl!) and she will appear in a cameo role as a production assistant.[130]

In 2012, Velasquez, comeback in the movie scene again as her third movie team-up with Aga MuhlachOf All the Things, under Viva Films. The film was shown over 120 theaters nationwide and earning 15million in opening day. It was her reunion movie with Aga after their blockbuster films, Dahil May Isang Ikaw and Pangako Ikaw Lang will be aired in cinemas soon. Meanwhile, it's yet unknown if her indie film, Mrs Recto, under the direction of Director Dante Nico Garcia, will still be available in cinemas because the shooting of the said film is not yet finished due to Velasquez' long break from showbiz.

Personal life[edit]Edit

Velasquez and Ogie Alcasid announced their engagement at Party Pilipinas on August 8, 2010 after 7 years.[131] By December 22 of the same year, Velasquez married long-time partner Ogie Alcasid in Terrazas de Punta Fuego in Nasugbu Batangas.[132]

Velasquez wore a red wedding gown during her star-studded "Wedding of the Decade". The dress was specially designed by Monique Lhuillier for reportedly $8,000 (although some people claimed it cost more), a gift for her by Dr. Vicki Belo who stood as one of the 20 principal sponsors who also included Regal Matriarch Mother Lily Monteverde, GMA big boss Felipe L. Gozon, GMA exec Wilma Galvante, TV5 boss Manny V. Pangilinan, Sharon Cuneta, Jose Mari Chan, Viva boss Vic del Rosario Jr., Tony Tuviera, German Moreno, Ida Henares, Nanette Inventor, Orlando Ilacad, Anastacia Puno, Dr. Crisanta Villanueva, US-based concert producer Ma. Rosario Legarda, Ronnie Henares, Freddie Santos and Michel Lhuillier and wife Amparito Llamas-Lhuillier (Monique’s parents).[133]

President Benigno Aquino III was one of the groomsmen during the wedding.[133]

In April 2011, She and her husband confirmed the news of her pregnancy through the same afternoon-variety show, Party Pilipinas.[134]

In November 8, 2011, Velasquez gave birth to her and husband Ogie Alcasid's first born son, Nathaniel James Velasquez Alcasid at the Makati Medical Center.[135]

Philanthropy and other activities[edit]Edit

In 1994, Velasquez become the and ambassador of Duty Free Philippines anti-drug campaign has an aim to fight drugs in the Philippines.

In 1995, Velasquez performed to the Singapore's National Kidney Foundation, the HongKong AIDS Foundation, the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. The proceeds goes to the cited charitable event.

In 1999, Velasquez and the Municipality of Pasig did a fund raising event called Muling Aawit ang Pasig it was the concert were Velasquez performed, the proceeds goes to the rehabilitation of Pasig River. Later on it was followed with another event called Piso Para sa Pasig also starred by Velasquez all the proceeds goes to the cited recipient.[136]

In 2002, Unicef picked Velasquez as the one of their Ambassadors in Asia. As one of her first project, Velasquez did a documentary MTV Asia special entitled Speak Your Mindwhich was nominated for the UNICEF Child Rights Awards.[137] The production was highly commended for its agendum on child welfare, documenting the plight of homeless children swarming the streets of Metro Manila, in an effort to protect and safeguard their rights.[36]

In May 2002, Velasquez staged the Bantay Bata Benefit concert, One Night with Regine, set at the stairs of the Philippine National Museum which won Best Musical Special at the2003 Asian Television Awards.[138]

In 2005, Velasquez sold 40 of her gowns in an auction sale launched on October 23, 2005 on the Mel & Joey talk show with the proceeds going to GMA 7's Give a Gift: Alay sa Batang Pinoy project which desires to give some needs for those in need. The auction resulted in more than P 800,000 (Philippine Peso).[139][140]

In response to typhoon Ondoy in 2009, Velasquez joined other celebreties who donated more than P 300,000 for the victims and she did a relief works in the affected areas.[141]In December 2009, Velasquez did a Musical Special called After The Rain starring the stories of the families that has been affected by the Typhoon.[142] She also donated MP3 players, designer bags, shoes and gowns to Shop & Share Philippines.

In 2010, Velasquez was named as one of the ambassadors of Operation Smile a non-government organization, which provides medical treatment to children with cleft palate.[143]

In 2011 and 2012, Velasquez and her husband, Ogie Alcasid are the faces of GMA-7's Celebrity Ukay-Ukay. Through "Ogie & Regine Celebrity Ukay-Ukay" and with the help of so many artists from different networks, GMA Kapuso Foundation has built 13 classrooms for underprivileged public schools.

In 2013, Velasquez sold her 18-karat gold with diamond "Reigne" necklace, her designer bags including rare Hermes Kelly, Chanel, and Celine, her luxury footwear such as Gucci, Christian Louboutin, and Prada brands, and her Cary Santiago gowns for the benefit of Yolanda victims. Besides her auction sales, Velasquez together with Universal Records donated P 500,000 to Philippine Red Cross.

Discography[edit]Edit

Main article: Regine Velasquez discography*Regine (1987)

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