Transcript: Regine Velasquez
CNN's Lorraine Hahn interviews Regine Velasquez
Lorraine: This week a Filipino superstar who is still capturing hearts after almost 20 years in the music Business. Regine Velasquez is a favorite artist across the Philippines and she has won two MTV Asia Award of the same title to prove it.
The 32-year-old knew she wanted to be a singer when she was just 6 years old. At more than 200 singing competitions she entered during her childhood, Regine won more than 60 of them.
At the age of 14, she entered the New Champion Contest widely recognized as the stepping-stone to stardom in the Philippines. She bagged that prize too and got her first recording deal. And when she represented her country in the 1989 Asia Pacific Singing Contest in Hong Kong, she walked away with the grand prize there as well.
Those wins allow Regine to support her family and send her brothers and sisters to school. Now more than 10 years later, her star is shining even brighter. And you just have to wonder how she does it. Let's find out from Regine herself and she is now in Singapore.
Lorraine: I want to ask you it has been a long time for you in the business, how have you been able to maintain your popularity for so long?
Regine: I have no idea. I guess I just really love what I do. I like singing, I love singing. I love working. I guess that's it. I am actually very blessed that I have these supporters who continue to watch my concerts, buy my albums and watch my movies, so...I am just actually very blessed.
Lorraine: Does it feel like it has been almost two decades?
Regine: Yes....I have been in the business for like...17 years now but it has been a great great ride for me. It was just a dream before but now it's weird...It's a reality, but it's weird for me. I do a lot of things that I never imagine that I will be able to be given a chance to do...like do movies, produce my own album and I also produce other artists. I have a TV shows..I have two TV shows in the Philippines actually..so it has been really really great!
Lorraine: In all your years in the business, have you seen a lot of changes in the Asian music scene?
Regine: Yes...yes...I can say that like...right now I think we are more open to a lot of things. Like back home in the Philippines, we are more open to other sounds and other artists. We welcome Asian artists now because before, we just like to listen to Western music but now we also open to any kind of music.
Lorraine: You know there are a lot of young talents coming out. To me, it is almost every week. Do you think a lot of them are well prepared?
Regine: I think they wouldn't be here if they don't know what they are doing. I suppose they are. For me it's just.. may be they are just really having...trying to have fun. Of course it is also hard work. You know they are not just playing. I used to think that it is just all fun. But it is also hard work. You have to be serious withwhat you do also. You have to keep learning. You can't stop. You know...learning....like discovering things and opening up yourself to other things.
Lorraine: Regine, you have worked with some of the best singers in the World. Did you learn anything from them?
Regine: O..yeah..I love singing with Jeffrey Osbourne and of course I recorded a song with Paul Anka and Peabo Bryson. And of course...it is always a great pleasure for me to work with international artists. It's like one of the things that I only dream about but now it's actually coming true. I also had a chance to work with Brian McKnight. He had a concert back home. It was such a great experience for me.
Lorraine: Regine, aside from yourself, who has been the most instrumental person in your career?
Regine: I have to say...my father. He is the one who believe in what I can do. He is the one who also train me and introduce me in music. Even up to now he is still very very much involve in my career and my life. So, I have to say is it's him.
Lorraine: What sort of things did he do to encourage you?
Regine: He let me do the things that I have always dreamt of doing. He never really thought that I could act. But I wanted to try it so he supported me in doing that. And he never ...When I think I make a mistake, he just keeps pushing me pushing me and pushing me until I get it right. And...both my parents are like that actually. Even back home, all the major decision I don't really do that all the way unless I ask him first. He is my advisor, I make my own decision of course but I still like to ask him first for opinion. I think it's nice.
Lorraine: Very good. So were they pretty strict parents?
Regine: No actually, my parents are not very strict. My mother is very conservative but my father is very modern..so, it's a good mix!
Lorraine: I mentioned earlier you started singing at the age of 6. What attracted a 6-year-old to singing?
Regine: Both my parents sing. My mother plays the guitar and the piano and my father sings. So, I think I really got it from them.
Lorraine: In the genes?
Regine: Yes..that's how I started. I used to just listen to them. I remembered when I was like around 3 to 5 years old, I used to wait for my father to come back home from work and asked him to sing me to sleep!
Lorraine: O...how sweet!
Regine: He used to do that before and he would sing all the old songs he knows until I fall asleep.
Lorraine: Were they like nursery rhymes?
Regine: I actually don't know any. Cos I was listening to old music, songs that my father sings. So, I don't know any nursery rhymes.
Lorraine: When you started out singing in a lounge for example. Were those tough times?
Regine: Yes, when I was starting, yes! I used to sing in restaurants and lounges...I couldn't really say it was tough for me as I was singing, singing is always been a joyful things for me. Everytime I sing, I was happy. I wasn't really thinking of anything else because I was enjoying, I was singing and performing.
Lorraine: Now you've been singing for so many years. Do you still need to train your voice and practice before you go on stage or before you record an album?
Regine: Oh, yes, I still...like I said earlier. I think it is very important for artists like me to always keep an open mind, keep learn and not stop. Listening to music and not stop. Trying new things and experiment.
Lorraine: And how do you do that, do you still do that in the water?
Regine: No, not anymore, not anymore! But every time I have a concert, of course we have to rehearse the songs that we have to do in the concerts, so I do that still.... before a concert, I just try not to speak too much because I am such a big-mouth...I keep talking before the concert so I end up not having a voice when the concert started...so...I just ask people around to stop talking with me for a while so that I will be able to preserve my voice.
Lorraine: And where did this idea, the rehearsing in the water...come from?
Regine: My father did that. I have no idea where he got that , I don't know, he just did it. But it worked. It was supposed to make my stomach muscle stronger or whatever, and develop my lung power... make my voice stronger, I suppose...(laughs)
Lorraine: Regine, do you think that yourself not coming from a privileged family have made you a more determined person in your career?
Regine: Yes, I think so and it has made me more ...it made me appreciate all the blessings that I have been getting...cos my family was really really really poor...I just really wanted to help them, I want to send my siblings to school and I was able to. That was my greatest accomplishment actually.
Lorraine: Regine, that must be quite a responsibility.
Regine: I didn't really think of it that way. I wanted to help but I didn't really think that it was such a big responsibility. I wanted to sing and I was given an opportunity to sing. My father helped me and my whole family supported me. And return, I just gave something back to my family. I think it's a good thing!
Lorraine: Most definitely. Is it true that at one time in your life you wanted to be a nun, a nurse and a doctor, I am sure your fans would die hearing that...!
Regine: When I was about 3 years old, I wanted to be a nun. I don't know why but for some reason I wanted to be a nun. When I was fie, I wanted to be a doctor. And then I started singing when I was six, so that changed everything.
Lorraine: Regine, I am glad that you didn't become a nun.
Regine: Me too! Me too!
Lorraine: Regine Velasquez is now calling the shots not just in front, but behind the microphone. Regine, tell me more about you record label.
Regine: I have a label call Song Bird. I am really proud of it. I have been producing new artists. The first artist I produced was Gabby Agamen and he was an actor back home. He was the first artist that I produced. I am producing another artist and actually I am still working on his album and his name is Sebi Deann. It is coming out soon. Of course his album is going to be under my label too.
Lorraine: What is it like behind the microphone though?
Regine: It's great! You just tell people what to do and I haven't done that before, I am so used to having people tell me what to do but now I am telling them what to do. So, it's like Great! This is like a great job! I think I like this! It's fun because it is a different kind of fulfillment that I fell. I think of the concept and we pick...I choose the song. I let my artist to listen it...During the recording session, I am there making sure that the artist is singing the song that I want it to be. The sound, the mixing and all the stuff...It's really really great. It's different from what I usually do but I am having so much fun doing this.
Lorraine: Do you ever have time to have fun yourself?
Regine: Yes, of course, I try to do that. Spend time with my family, go out with my friends, Oh! shopping!
Lorraine: What about just lazing around and listening to music?
Regine: Yes, I always have time for that. I always have time to listen to music. I like to read now...for some reason, I never used to like reading. I find time to do that now....find time to sleep and eat and watch TV! I love watch TV and watch movies! Go to the movie house and watch movie! I love to do that! That is my relaxation!
Lorraine: You mentioned acting. Would you ever choose singing or acting? What is the difference between the two?
Regine: What is the difference between the two? Acting is a really really difficult job, doing movie is not an easy thing to do.I mean you go there and you're all giggly and giddy...then the director will tell you "you have to cry now!" and I will say 'What?!' I am happy, how could I be crying in this scene! It is pretty difficult for me to do but it's also fun! It's different, it's really different. I can't like really compare it with singing, it's totally different.
Lorraine: At 32, when is the time for you to settle down?
Regine: Right now!
Lorraine: Have you found the simple man that you are looking for?
Regine: I haven't! Not yet! But I am still looking!
Lorraine: Surely can't be that hard!
Regine: I keep telling myself that. I don't know...I don't know what's going on..I haven't really ...I have myself to blame because I don't really go out that much also but I promise this year that I am going to go out more and meet people. So hopefully, I will be able to find somebody who would be interesting enough.
Lorraine: Would you ever consider giving up your career to become a housewife or a mother?
Regine: Ya! Yes! Anytime! Why not? I have been singing for almost all my life! If I decided to settle down, I would want to just think of my family and my ids and my husband.
Lorraine: Looking forward Regine. How do you plan to stay on top?
Regine: I don't really think about this that much! Mm...I guess I just really have to keep giving my audience something new! Mm...hopefully they will enjoy whatever it is that I work so hard for. I am trying to change my sound little by little so that my audience would not be too...so...they won't get tired of my sound!
Lorraine: Regine, we wish you all the best, thank you very much for speaking with us.
Regine: Thank you so much Lorraine, thank you for having me!