Originally published in Salt Water Girl Magazine in 2010.
Charice (full name, Charmaine Clarice Relucio Pempengco) is the eighteen year old Phillipino starlet most South Africans (and the world) fell in love with on The Oprah Winfrey Show. She was founded on Youtube by Winfrey and was dubbed as ‘The World’s Most Talented Kid’ after opening her mouth and releasing her amazing voice out.
Charice was born in San Pedro, Laguna, Philippines and came from a poor background and would support her mother and family by taking part in singing competitions and shows. After a stint in 2007 on the show, Little Big Star a fan of Charice’s uploaded a video on Youtube of her performance which got many to notice her and turned her into an internet phenomenon!
In June 2007, Ten Songs/Productions (A Swedish music company) invited Charice to a demo-recording after producers saw her Little Big Star videos. She recorded seven songs – six covers and an original song entitled “Amazing”.
In December 2007, Ellen DeGeneres saw a performance by Charice and invited her to perform on her television show. Soon after Charice’s name got put out there and she performed on various stages and shows – then her big break came when she appeared on Oprah Winfrey’s show! Oprah was so impressed that she contacted David Foster (a music producing legend!) and the rest as they say is history!
Charice has sky-rocketed to fame with her amazing vocal talents – she has performed with Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli to name but a few.
Your song ‘Pyramid’ featuring Iyaz is doing well globally – where did the inspiration come from?
We listened to a lot of songs for my first single and this one just grabbed us. It is a great pop song but [it] also allowed me to really sing. The lyrics are wonderful – “staying strong like a pyramid through love and life”.
Tell us about the experience of working with Celine Dion – what was it like to perform with her and get a chance to talk with her one-on-one?
Performing with Celine was probably the most exciting experience of my life. She is my ultimate idol and to do it in Madison Square Gardens [in New York City] was more than I had ever dreamed of. Oprah [Winfrey] arranged the whole thing which made it even more special. I still have to pinch myself when I think about it.
What has the response been from your friends and family, as we know the world has welcomed you with immense support? Are you still the ‘same’ Charice?
Of course I am the same! My friends and family treat me exactly the same and I treat them the same. Of course my life has changed a lot but my feet are still on the ground. That is a very important lesson for anyone in life.
Who are your musical and non-musical inspirations\/role-models?
Everyone knows that I was deeply influenced as a child by Celine [Dion], Whitney [Houston], Mariah [Carey] and the other great ballad singers. However, I am equally influenced by current pop artists such as [Lady] Gaga, Justin Timberlake and Beyonce. I listen to current hits all the time. I am 18 [years old] so [I] prefer right now to focus on current day pop songs.
What does it feel like to be the first Asian to make it into the Top 10 Billboard 100 album charts? And with that; how have your goals changed for the future from your success?
Incredible! What an honour to represent Asia. I am so proud when I’m in Asia to say that I debuted in the Top 10. I’m hoping there are many other Asian artists who do the same [too].
Any plans to make a trip down to South Africa?
No plans yet but I’m dying to come! I hear it’s one of the most beautiful places in the world. I’m sure I’ll be there soon!
What is a normal day like for you?
A normal day for me is travelling to a different city and doing radio promotions! I sing a lot and listen to tons of music. I’m also still studying – I study online for 2 hours a day.
How do you react to fans and people whom approach you in public?
I love them approaching me it makes me very happy. My fans are so important to me – that’s why I sing; to make people happy.
Your words of advice for aspirant musicians.
Don’t give up – ever!
December 4, 2015