Posted on Monday, 6th February 2012 by All Philippines
Regine Velasquez. No fan of all Filipino music in general can deny the fact that she is still the Philippines reigning Queen of Song, no disrespect to all classic and the contemporary Philippine singers like Pilita Corrales, Imelda Papin, Nora Aunor, Zsa Zsa Padilla, Sarah Geronimo, Charice Pempengco to name a few. When it still comes to power punching vocal prowess, timeless beauty and captivating performances, – Asia’s one and only Songbird, Regine Velasquez, still matters and she still definitely delivers.
But all great artists have their shares of humble beginnings. Regine’s story of her father, Mang Gerry Velasquez’s unorthodox vocal training (performing vocal exercises while her body up to her neck is submerged in sea water) which gave birth to her powerful and treasured voice has been frequently told by the Philippine media, as well as how she became one of the longest reigning champion and quite possibly the best and most famous singer, the now defunct Philippine talent search show ‘Bagong Kampeon’, has ever produced.
Regine Velasquez rise to stardom hasn’t been all that easy, even though, in her early years, winning the Bagong Kampeon championship crown gave her a popularity boost in the eyes (and ears) of the Philippine music fans.
After winning the Bagong Kampeon grand competition, Regine was signed up by OctoArts International for an exclusive contract. The young Regine Velasquez, still using her stage name in the Bagong Kampeon show – Chona Velasquez, debuted as a pro singer with the single ‘Love Me Again’ in 1986. Although the song has a sentimental feel to it worthy of a hit, it didn’t quite do well when it was marketed as Bagong Kampeon’s Chona Velasquez debut single. In short it was a major flop, putting the brakes to Regine Velasquez’s almost impeccable rise to music fame.
Luckily, her music career’s early demise was saved by her fateful appearance at Martin Nievera’s popular 80’s late night show – ‘The Penthouse Live!’. One of the shows co-host, who was also then married to Nievera, Pops Fernandez, at the behest of the show’s producer Ronnie Henares, suggested to the young songstress to drop the name Chona, and use a more sophisticated and media friendly name – Regine (taken from Regine’s real name Regina). When it was time for Chona Velasquez to record her first full length debut album, she and her father followed Henares’s suggestion and henceforth used Regine Velasquez as her stage name.
Producer Ronnie Henares became Regine Velasquez’s manager from then on (she is currently managed by her younger sister Cacai) and her debut album was released, not by OctoArts, but by Viva Records. Regine Velasquez’s eponymous debut album entitled ‘Regine’, released in 1987, became a nationwide hit, and as they always say, the rest is history.
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