MANILA, Philippines – Even after a phenomenal streak of acclaimed performances around the world, who would ever think Charice Pempengco still has stage fright? Ironically this occurs, she says, whenever she takes the stage in front of a Filipino audience.
“Mas kinakabahan ako kasi sa Pilipinas, pinapakita talaga ng tao kung gusto nila ang kanta o hindi [I’m more nervous when I perform in the Philippines, they show you if they like the song or not],” the 17-year-old hotshot singer explains during the launch of “My Inspiration,” her second and last album with Star Records.
In contrast, Charice adds, she feels at ease while belting covers on live telecasts of “Oprah” or the “Ellen DeGeneres Show.”
Asked how she felt singing America’s national anthem before 60,000 spectators at the Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles, or “God Bless America” in a Barack Obama victory celebration vis-a-vis “Lupang Hinirang,” Charice replies: “Pareho lang po [It’s the same].”
Charice admits her rendition of the Philippine national anthem may not be well-known because she has not been given the privilege yet in, for instance, a Manny Pacquiao boxing match. She says she would really be more honored if she gets to do that.
Asked further on why Westerners marvel at her talent over a year after her videos were uploaded on YouTube, she sums it up: “Nakikita nila na maliit ako tapos malaki ang boses ko [They see that I’m a small girl with a big voice].”
This big voice is about to be heard in another album, produced by her American mentor David Foster to be released in the US on the Warner label.
All these things, she says, are special to her not just due to the global acclaim she reaps, but more so because local fans have since grown exponentially.
“Natutuwa po ako na mas sikat ako ngayon ditto [I’m happy that I’m more popular here],” she says. “Hindi na nga po ako makapunta sa mall… Kailangan na po akong magtago at mag-shades [I can’t go to the mall... I have to hide and wear shades].”
The album “My Inspiration,” currently a hot seller (landing in the Top 10 of the Odyssey album charts), is dedicated to her mom Raquel, who also performs with Charice in a cover of “You And Me Against The World.”
“My mom is my inspiration,” Charice says. “She has always been my strength. ‘Di ko naman mararating yung na-achieve ko ngayon kung hindi niya ako sinusuportahan [I will not achieve what I have if she did not support me].”
by Gerry Plaza, Philippine Daily Inquirer
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