A bubbly and more relaxed Regine Velasquez showed up at the “meet and greet” with fans, supporters and sponsors from various states of the US East Coast who trooped to Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, New Jersey, to catch her Heart 2 Heart concert with Ogie Alcasid, Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera last May 23. It was no longer a serious and aloof Asia’s Songbird US Pinoys have come to know over the years. What gives? It must be the love of her life, Ogie Alcasid. Or a red-hot career she continues to enjoy. Or maybe a life of bliss, inner peace and contentment.
How refreshing, isn’t it?
That opening paragraph came from the report of Funfare’s Big Apple correspondent Edmund Silvestre (of The Filipino Reporter) in a Reporter-Funfare tie-up interview. (I send Edmund some questions when he interviews Filipino artists performing in the East Coast and he does the same when I interview foreign artists coming to the Philippines, and then Reporter and this corner put out the interview simultaneously.)
At the cast party hosted by Group Ole’s Drs. Ramon and Ching Legarda following the three-hour concert, Edmund said he managed to corner Regine for a quick Q &A before she and Ogie headed to their hotel suite to meet with Ogie’s US-based sister.
Reported Edmund, “Regine, looking young and fresh, gamely answered all the questions and even got giggly like a schoolgirl at some point of our chat, something we never saw during her previous US gigs.”
At this point in your career, are there still pressures to prove yourself as an artist?
“As an artist, it’s nice to be on your toes at all times. I don’t know if that’s trying to prove anything to myself or to anyone but it’s always nice to be able to adapt or learn new kinds of music and to be on your toes because in the Philippines ang daming mga talented and very stiff talaga ang competition.”
Are you not threatened by equally-talented and much younger singers?
“I really am not like that. I’m just really very happy with the new kids, with the new talents who are coming out now. They’re really very good. I’m very proud of them.”
Are there pressures for you to stay on top?
“As far as my career is concerned, hindi na siguro kasi I’ve been in the business for such a long time. But I just like to challenge myself like kung hindi ko masyadong kaya ‘yung kanta kakayanin ko, pa-practise-in ko para masabi ko sa sarili ko na at least I tried it.”
What about pressures to deliver a great performance or show?
“D’yan parating may pressure. Like today, people came here to watch us. Of course, we want to give them their money’s worth, you know. So kahit paano may pressure na nagustuhan ba nila ang performance, ang repertoire, okay ba ang boses namin, matatawa ba sila sa joke? Pero pag tumuntong na kami sa stage, wala na ‘yung pressure, we’re just enjoying na lang.”
Some people say had you been born later, or had there been YouTube at the time you were starting as a singer, it could have been you and not Charice who got the world’s attention.
“It’s really her time. It’s really for her. Actually, I did have the chance naman before, eh. It’s not like I didn’t try. It’s just that I knew that if I wanted to make it in the States or anywhere in the world I have to move out of the Philippines, and I wasn’t ready. I already have a comfortable life in the Philippines. My career was doing really very well and I didn’t want to start all over again. Plus my family is in the Philippines. I cannot leave my family for a long period of time.”
So you were given a chance to try your luck outside the Philippines?
“Nagkaroon naman ako ng chance. I was really given the opportunity. I was the one who decided not to take it because parang marami na akong nakuhang blessings from the Philippines. Besides, my dream was mapagtapos ko ang mga kapatid ko sa pag-aaral, maiahon sa hirap ‘yung pamilya ko, nagawa ko lahat ‘yon. eh. Happy na ako na ganoon. And si Charice, it’s good that she is where she is now. Nasa point siya ng life na kaya niyang gawin ‘yon because she’s young and she’s just starting. In my case, na-establish na kasi ang career ko sa Philippines and feeling ko hindi ko na kayang mag-umpisa ulit. Seriously, kuntento na ako kung ano’ng naabot ko and we are very, very proud of Charice that she’s really, really doing well.”
Who do you think is the next Regine Velasquez?
“Nandito pa naman ako.” (Laughs). “Huwag na ‘yung next Regine Velasquez.” (Laughs).
Among the latest crop of young singers, name three you admire the most.
“Si Sarah Geronimo, of course. I always liked Kyla. Si Rachelle Ann Go. And of course, si Charice. So apat ‘yon.”
Why do you think you became a big hit?
“Nu’ng dumating kasi ako hindi ako uso.” (Laughs). “Hindi ako uso noon…ang uso noon sina Kuh Ledesma at Zsa Zsa Padilla. Talagang pagandahan lang ng boses and style at hindi masyado nagbi-belt. Until Whitney Houston came. That was my style, eh, ma-belter. I was just lucky.”
People keep asking when you and Ogie are getting married. Do you ever get tired answering them?
“Oo nga, eh. Nakakapagod na.” (Laughs). “You know, if it’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen. Basta, we’re still waiting for something. And hopefully mangyari na siya so that we can also plan our lives.”
What about kids?
“Basta sa akin, kung bibigyan kami ng anak then I will really be thankful kay Lord kasi it will be a super-duper big blessing for me. But kung hindi kami palarin, okay lang din sa akin. Kung ano’ng gusto ni Lord, okay sa akin.”
How can you conceive with your hectic schedule?
“Actually nga puwede nang magpahinga ng konti, to slow down. Forty na ako, eh, so puwede nang mag-slow down a little bit to start having a family. Para ngang feeling ko medyo nag-slo-slow down na ako nang konti. Sana nga makabuo na ng family.”
(Read more on Philstar.com and Yahoo! Entertainment News)