Regine Velasquez, born Regina Encarnacion Ansong Velasquez-Alcasid, came into the world on April 22, 1970. From an early age she learned to appreciate music from her parents. From her father she learned lyrics and her mother how to move on stage & interpret songs. Also, her father would often sing Frank Sinatra songs while her mother backed him on guitar.
First Big Break
At age fourteen Regine got her first big break; she entered the senior division of Ang Bagong Kampeon, a national television singing competition. As a result, Velasquez won for eight weeks in a row, becoming the first grand champion of the show. Her prize was a recording contract with Octoarts; The winning song “Love Me Again” was under the name “Chona Velasquez.” Soon after, Velasquez joined the Organisasyon ng mga Pilipinong Mang-aawit; this is an organization of Filipino singers that perform all over Metro Manila. The members of the group helped young Regine by giving advice and loaning gowns for her performances.
At the request of her friend and fellow Octoarts recording artist Pops Fernandez, Regine Velasquez agreed to appear on the popular GMA-7 show ‘Penthouse Live’, in February 1986. This would become one of the biggest turning points of her career. Martin Nievera, Fernandez’s husband, suggested that she use Regine instead of Chona as her screen name.
In 1987 Regine Velasquez signed with Viva Records, releasing her self-titled album. The album contained the hit songs “Isang Lahi”Kung” and “Maibabalik Ko Lang.” A couple of years later Velasquez was chosen to represent the Philippines at the 1989 Asia-Pacific Singing Contest. At first she declined, but with pressure from her friends she agreed to it. In December 1989 Regine won first place with the songs “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone” . With this win, she now had celebrity status and was now known as “Asia’s Songbird.”
Jose Mari Chan, the veteran singer composers, selected Regine to be his singing partner for his album “Constant Change.” When released the album went Certified Diamond. Later in 1991, Regins’s debut USA solo concert “Here I Am in New York” was held in Carnegie Hall, making her the first Filipino to stage a concert in the facility. Though out the 1990’s Regine Velasquez continued to be a successful vocalist releasing hit songs and appearing in the popular variety shows of the Philippines. When she turned 25 she reached international status among the Asian countries. Polygram Records produced her first Asian album “Listen Without Prejudice.” The duet “It’s Hard To Say Goodbye” she performed with Paul Anka on the Album “Reason Enough” kept this release high on the charts in many countries.
Into the 21st Century
Going into the 21st century Regine was popular as ever. For new year’s eve in December 1999, she was joined by a group of 2000 children to perform the country’s millennial theme,”Written in the Sand.” This performance was covered by more than 65 broadcast networks from all major continents of the world, reaching more than a billion people.
Two years later marked the release of her all-original album “Reigne.” The album included the songs “Dadalhin” and “Sa Aking Pag-iisa.” Also, around this time she won an award for Best Actress from Star Awards for her portrayal of a mentally-challenged woman in the TV series “Maalaala Mo Kaya.”
Regine Velasquez Looks into the Future
Velasquez was also the recipient of the 2002 MTV Favorite Artist Award for the Philippines. During the ceremony in Singapore, she sang “Cry” in a duet with Mandy Moore. In 2003, Regine teamed up with Martin Nievera in the Martín Nievera & Regine Velasquez World Tour. The concert was a big success. Also Regine formed her own record label called “Songbird Music.” Regine Velasquez has had a successful career over the years; she is a business women, vocalist, actor and director. In what ever direction she decides to go in next, the young lady from Bulacan continues looking to the future.