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Regine Velasquez - "Asia's Songbird"

Regine's Tough Assignment:Conquer the Big Dome
by Alex Y. VergaraPhil.
Daily Inquirer, March 26, 2000

Regine Velasquez has reaped honors and sung to mammoth crowds here and abroad, but there's one challenge the songbird has never faced until now: stage a concert at the Araneta Coliseum.

Regine has mustered enough courage to do just that as she marks her 14th year in showbiz next month with a 2-night show at the Big Dome on April 7 and 8. Inspired by her latest album of revivals titled "R2K," the concert with the same title is also conceptualized and directed by Regine herself.

Jittery Despite Regine's popularity, isn't she feeling a bit jittery these days?

"Of course, I'm nervous," she said in a recent media conference at the Araneta Coliseum poolside. "It's my 1st time to perform at such a big venue. For the longest time, my manager wanted me to do it, but I felt I wasn't ready yet."

Sure, Regine has played many times to sold-out crowds at the Folk Arts Theater before. But the FAT, with its 9,000 seats, seems puny compared to the Big Dome. Regine has to pull in no less than 17,000 fans this time fill the venue - and for 2 nights in a row!

And since the stage is said to be semi-circular, all seats will be up for grabs. Except for countless free shows various networks have staged in the past, only Nora Aunor and the late Frank Sinatra were said to have filled up the huge venue to capacity.

Regine will also try her hand at concert directing, but she has again tapped Mark Lopez to be her musical director. Louie Ignacio directs the show for t.v.. No less than ace fashion designer Rajo Laurel will do Regine's wardrobe, a "print-on-print" concept inspired by the collection of Dolce & Gabbana.

"I don't know why I'm doing this to myself," she jested in Taglish. "I haven't had a good night's sleep for several days now. I've always been like this whenever there's a big show coming up, but all my worries seem to vanish every time I step onstage.

" Fans won't spend an entire night listening to revivals and cover versions, since Regine promised to sing several of her hits from past albums and movies. The singer who turns 30 on April 22, is currently shooting a film with former "Bad Boy" Robin Padilla.

"Definitely, I'll be singing 'Butterfly' and 'On the Wings of Love'," she shared.

Special Place

For some reason, these 2 songs have earned a special place in Regine's heart. They belong up there with "Buhat," the 1st song she learned to memorize in its entirety, thanks to father Gerry's patient coaching. It was also her winning piece in the first-ever amateur singing contest she joined.

"I was only 6 that time," she recalled, before singing a few lines of the classic Tagalog love song. "They probably made me win 3rd place because I was the youngest contestant. From then on, I already knew I wanted to be a singer."

At another singing contest, she brought home a sack of rice, gas range and P2,000, but had to pay dearly for them with her self-esteem. Regine, then 11, felt the oversized half-slip she borrowed from Mom starting to drop in the middle of her number.

"What a freakish coincidence," she giggled. "I was singing 'Bakit Ako Mahihiya' when the embarrassing incident happened."

Even jaded media persons never seem to tire of hearing Regine repeat her rags-to-richest story. For instance, the Velasquez family only had enough money for food, that Regine and her sisters had to settle for laundry soap to wash their hair. "That's probably the reason I have so much hair right now," she recalled with amusement.

Good friend Janno Gibbs and sister Cacai Velasquez will again lend their support. Regine's other guests include KC Montero, Gabby Eigenman and Ogie Alcasid. But it will be interesting to see Regine share the spotlight with "Soul Queen" Jaya. Vocal sparks are expected to fly as the 2 singers blessed with big voices but possessing distinct styles do several spot numbers together.

Real Inspiration

As usual, the perky singer tried to skirt questions on who her real inspiration is. One thing is sure, though, fans won't get to see former flame Ariel Rivera making an unexpected appearance. But then again, who knows?

"I do this mainly to entertain you guys," she said. "I draw inspiration from family and friends. As far as a special someone is concerned, wala talaga."

Regine is delighted at the thought of filling up the Big Dome, but she claims to have no illusions of running away with Pops Fernandez's title. In fact, she singled her out, together with Madonna, as one of the concert circuit's ultimate performers.

"Concert queen?," she deadpanned. "Never mind. I'm not out to prove anything. I just hope the public enjoys my performance."

As far as big voices go, she admires Barbra Streisand, Whitney Houston and of course, Mariah Carey. In fact, during one of her concerts at the Music Museum, Regine told her audience that she and Mariah "were separated at birth." Of late, her vocal style bears an uncanny resemblance to her American idol.

But like a true artist, Regine remains clueless as to how she continues to reach those extremely high notes. If anything, she now finds it easier to identify with and understand the core emotions hidden in every song.

"I've matured through the years," she reasoned. "I don't need to act out a song anymore. I've learned from my experiences, and can now draw from them whenever I perform."


There's nothing like going through a good old-fashioned heartbreak to bring out the woman in every girl. And Regine is no exception. Pressed to name names, the singer merely smiled back.

"You know him already," she said. "Besides, good friends can also break your heart. I've experienced that, too."

One thing's definite, though: Regine has gotten over her breakup with you-know-who. In fact, like a badge of courage, she sports a vine-like colored tattoo around her ankle to prove it.

"I was so heart-broken that time, nagpa-tattoo ako," she said with amusement. "Then I went on a shopping spree. My father couldn't do anything about it (tattoo) since I had a valid excuse. Since it has become part of me, I have no intentions of having it removed."

And fans would get to see a more seasoned Regine, tattoo and all, once she steps onstage, her biggest and hopefully, her best concert ever next month.