It has been 30 years since Regine Velasquez took her first uncertain step toward stardom. Celebrated for her wide vocal range, “Asia’s Songbird,” as most everyone knows, began her career by joining amateur singing contests. Trained by her father Gerry, she went on to win the grand prize on the iconic competition Ang Bagong Kampeon on television when she was 14 years old, and from there, armed with sheer talent, she took one big leap after another in the music industry.
With more than 20 albums to her name to date, Velasquez was once hailed by the Philippine Association of the Record Industry (PARI) as the Philippines’ Best-Selling Artist of All Time, with more than seven million units sold in the Philippines and another two million units in sales across the Asian continent.
With sold out concerts, top-rated television shows and even blockbuster movies to add to her credentials, Velasquez—now married to singer-composer Ogie Alcasid and a mother to five-year-old son Nate—has indeed attained such a feat beyond wildest dreams.
But despite all her success, the declared idol of the next generation of top performers in the country, including Sarah Geronimo and Angeline Quinto, Asia’s Songbird surprisingly revealed that she still has to deal with a number of insecurities as an artist today.
One is her changing voice. Now at 47 years old, she is unsure of how high she can belt and hit the high notes much unlike when she was younger.
“My voice is different now. It has more texture—there’s huskiness, grit and angst. Actually, I am insecure now that my voice is not as ‘clean’ as before when I sing or compared to when I was younger. But my husband said that he likes it because you hear passion unlike before. I’d open my mouth and there’s this voice coming out but it looked like I don’t even own that voice. It was like I was lip-syncing,” Velasquez related to the Entertainment press on Tuesday during her contracting signing with Viva Records and Viva Live for her upcoming 30th anniversary album and concert.
“But as far as giving feelings, I don’t have to put in the effort anymore because I’ve experienced a lot now already now that I am older. Before, they still needed to tell me stories of heartaches for example, [so I can sing sad love songs]but now they don’t need to do that anymore,” she added.
Moreover, Velasquez said she has to be on her toes all the more these days when she performs because she can no longer just rely on the strength of her voice to carry her through.
“My husband said, whenever I perform now, he sees how passionate I am again with what I do. When I was young, you saw how passionate I was because I had hunger then. But come the middle of my career, I felt kind of lazy already,” she admitted, “and that just led to opening my mouth and singing. Apparently, the passion is back according to my husband, which is in a way good because I’m no longer here to prove myself. I’ve done that many times already and it’s really my passion for singing that keeps me going now and not [the drive]to out-sing whoever.”
Velasquez then went on to talk about the challenge of being called laos [has been]these days just because she is in her third decade in the business.
“You know it’s very silly because age is not something that we should be insecure about, but as humans, we do anyway. We get insecure about the wrinkles that we see on our face every time we look in the mirror. For an artist, it might make you feel like, ‘Shocks, laos na ako!’ It also doesn’t help that people will actually let you know that you are laos and you’re old. And also on social media, if you’re old automatically means laos ka na. Pero hindi ba pwedeng palaos pa lang?” she chuckled.
“In our industry, people can get very cruel and unforgiving. And sometimes people who are like that and say those things are the young ones. All the same, I’m grateful that there are still lot of people who are supporting me—supporting us—and they are still very much willing to watch the concerts and buy the albums,” she expressed.
“What I realized is that insecurities will always be there but you just need to live with them–you cannot do anything about it. We’re human. So, despite all that, what gets me going is when I announce something the fans get excited. It helps erase all the insecurities and then I get excited all over again as well and challenged to continue what I’m doing,” she elaborated.
And so to mark her three remarkable decades in the industry, Velasquez is treating her fans to a new album and a grand solo concert, both of which are titled “R3.0.”
R3.0, the concert will be held at the Mall of Asia Arena on October 21 and will feature a retrospective of her biggest hits, new recordings and popular oldies that are close to her heart. The R3.0 album on the other hand will be a special three-volume set comprised of 30 songs. These are new versions of her biggest hits, her rendition of her personal favorites, as well as original compositions by Filipino composers.
The pair of R3.0 projects further marks Velasquez’ homecoming at Viva, where she began her career as a recording artist.
“I feel that I have come full circle today because it was Viva that produced my first album in 1987,” she recalled. “Now, after years of recording albums with other labels, I’m back to where I started and this time, it a very album plus a concert to celebrate my 30th year in the business.”