Hey Chasters. After a tumultuous weekend last week, I figured I would take a breather this week and catch up on some Charice videos from her DFF Asia Tour which I still haven’t gotten to, as well as the vids from her most recent performances. I’ve casually read through the various discussion threads regarding what some here perceive to be arrogance on the part of some Chasters in their “overzealous” support of Charice, while others have taken offense to even the mention of another artist like Jackie Evancho being brought up in some of the threads. I’ve resisted the urge to post my thoughts, until I just read a comment by one who was very upset that NBC had aired a commercial about the Rockefeller show without any mention of Charice, and a follow-up comment proclaiming that Charice’s ethnicity was the sole reason why she did not have the same type of popularity and album sales as all the other non-Asian artists in the U.S. music scene. This is where I feel the need to bring up some facts:
Yes, Charice is the first Asian artist to ever debut an album in the Billboard Top 10. So why are some continuing to discount this tremendous achievement? Charice has already broken ground, and paved the way for other Asian artists to follow in her footsteps. Granted she had some very powerful influences behind her promoting her new album, but now, the door’s been opened for this to happen again to another Asian artist. We’ve already discussed here at length the sound reasons why “Pyramid” didn’t chart well on the Billboard Hot 100 or Top 40 radio airplay charts. None of them had anything to do with her being Asian. Furthermore, it’s hard to make an argument currently that being Asian precludes you from having a hit single in the U.S., as two Asian artists have had tremendous success just recently on Billboard/Top 40 radio (Bruno Mars—half-Filipino, a #1 single and still charting at #7, and Far East Movement—all Asian artists, also a #1 single and still charting at #3).
Think about this: what other debut artist, without a Top 40 HIT (and I’m not talking about the dance remix hitting #1 on the dance charts) has EVER had the kind of success and recognition that Charice has achieved so far in such a short period of time at the start of her international music career? Charice’s debut international album came out this past May, just over half a year ago. Since then, beyond her Top 8 album debut on Billboard, she’s had countless summer radio concerts, appeared on several U.S. and international T.V. talk shows/magazines, co-headlined several sold-out HUGE David Foster and Friends shows both in the U.S. and Asia, and had a significant new role in one of the most popular T.V. shows in the U.S., Glee, receiving tremendous praise and accolades for her performance in the season opening episode. This is not even bringing up the Gold Record she achieved in Japan and the success in other international markets. So it’s difficult for anyone to argue that because Charice is Asian, she has not gained the same kind of popularity or success in the U.S. like other non-Asian artists in the industry.
Recall what Liz Rosenberg said during her Fantalk interview, how the music industry is so difficult to predict, and how some of the most talented artists never attain commercial success, while some not-so talented artists achieve tremendous success. There is a legitimate argument that had Oprah and D. Foster not gotten behind Charice 2 years ago, then she may not have had the opportunities to break into the U.S. music/entertainment industry since that fateful encounter in Chicago in the Spring of 2008. There is no doubt that Oprah and D. Foster have opened so many amazing doors for Charice to walk through, and now, the entire world gets to share in what only those in the Philippines had the privilege to experience previously. To make the argument now that Charice is not gaining popularity and success “fast enough” in the U.S. because she is Asian is a difficult one to justify. I think the easier argument to be made is that Charice is gaining such amazingly quick success and recognition in Asia and particularly in the difficult to penetrate Japanese market BECAUSE of the fact that she IS Asian, as all of Asia is so proud that one of their own has finally broken through the previously-existing barriers in the U.S. music/entertainment industry and has opened the doors for those who are to come after her down the road.
There is no doubt that Chasters are some of the most passionate fans of any music artist out there today. But I’m pretty sure all Chasters would agree that we seek one thing, to support Charice and her career regardless of what obstacles may lie in front of her. I told Charice during the first time I met her at the Grammy Block Party meet and greet to keep following her dreams, and that we as her Chasters would support her all the way to the top of the Pyramid, and do whatever we could to help her achieve her dreams. And that is clearly being done here on CM both on the front-page and behind the scenes with the efforts of all the Chasters to promote Charice and all that she stands for. We as her Chasters are a reflection of her, and as we all know, she herself is a reflection of humility, perseverance, grace and selflessness. So when some of us start ranting about how she isn’t receiving enough recognition just six months into her international music career, after the release of just one mainstream single which did not attain success on Top 40 airplay, then we don’t come off as a reflection of our own Charice who has exuded nothing but patience, perseverance and determination during all her years of just struggling to get noticed on the big stage before the time was ripe for her introduction to the world. Writing to television stations demanding that Charice be featured in their promos (even though it’s hard for me to imagine that NBC really featured nine of the ten scheduled performers on the commercial and solely left out Charice as one commenter claimed), and also telling them that Charice would be the only one in the Rockefeller show line-up “to really blow the viewers minds away,” even in a lineup that includes some truly remarkable voices does not add credence to our reasoned support of Charice. This type of “support” just makes us sound irrational and somewhat reflects the “entitlement syndrome” which is apparently a mark of the current generation or so I’ve heard.
As so many more eloquent commentators have written before me, let’s just all take a deep breath, relax, and let Charice just “do her thing”. It is simply REMARKABLE what she has accomplished during the short period from her album debut in May to now preparing to sing alongside the likes of Mariah Carey and Josh Groban (both of whom have sold millions of albums) on the biggest Christmas tree lighting show in the entire U.S. Before seeing the DFF show in Las Vegas in October, I was somewhat guilty of having the attitude that I really didn’t care about seeing the other performers at all, since I was only there to see Charice. And of course, I definitely would not have paid the most I’ve ever spent on a concert ticket to see the show if it were not for Charice, even though I knew she would only sing 2-3 songs. However, as I sat there in the audience, anxiously waiting for Charice to come out on stage, I found myself captivated by the amazing talents of all the artists that night, as well as the majesty of David Foster’s ability to weave all those gifted performers into one unforgettable show.
I know there has been a lot of discussion back and forth here about the supposed “competition” between Jackie Evancho and Charice, which I’ve found to be a tad bit ridiculous (no offense). There isn’t any competition between the two artists, as they are in two completely different genres of music, and furthermore, their build-up to this point in their young budding careers has also been completely divergent. Yes, both were discovered on Youtube, but both arrived to where they are today through very different channels. Yet, on that very same stage in Las Vegas in October, I heard David Foster tell the audience of a young girl who had the “voice of an angel… one of the most amazing voices he’s ever heard”, and of course, I immediately thought to myself, finally, here is Charice coming out, and I actually yelled out “Charice!” Yet, to my utter and complete surprise, it wasn’t Charice who came out but a really young Caucasian girl who I had never seen before (I don’t watch much t.v.). D. Foster had brought out a wooden box for the singer to stand on during the performance, and I recall thinking to myself that yes, Charice is kind of short, but she doesn’t need to stand on a box to sing!
Well, the box wasn’t for her, but was for Jackie Evancho. I was quite skeptical about what kind of voice could come out of that little girl’s mouth, but from the first note of that first song, I as well as everyone else in the concert hall, was completely dumbfounded by that truly angelic voice which sounded like it came from the heavens. Now why am I spending so much time in this article talking about Jackie Evancho and not Charice? Because the two of them remind me so much of each other…Jackie Evancho came off so humble and secure in herself that evening as well as in her subsequent appearances on Oprah, just like our very own Charice. In fact, Jackie makes me think of what it would have been like had Charice made her international debut at the age of 10 and not 18. Now does that mean that every Chaster must now suddenly be a Jackie Evancho fan too? Of course not, in fact, though I was blown away by her voice that night, I just can’t see myself going completely out of my way and taking plane rides just to see her sing in person, nor staying up until the wee hours of the night watching youtube clips of her performances like I have (and still do!) for Charice. There is something about Charice beyond just the music that captivates all of our hearts, that something which may not be able to be put adequately into words, but that something which makes us all Chasters. Clearly, much has to do with the precious heart behind that little girl/young woman who is slowly taking the world by storm. And yes, now here, I’m talking about Charice!
So in this Christmas season, let’s just remember to keep the Spirit of Christmas at the forefront, and as Chasters, know that whether we intend to or not, we are always reflecting Charice through our actions and words to the very people whom we seek to share our Chaddiction with. Just as Charice has maintained her humility and patience throughout this unbelievable year, let’s all strive to do the same, to keep our feet (and expectations) also firmly planted on the ground, even as Charice and her stardom rises up towards the heavens. Charice, as you step out on that grandest of stages at Rockefeller Center in NYC, know that we are all so proud of you for what you’ve already accomplished, and more so, for who you remain to be, a model of humility, perseverance, and grace for all the world to emulate in this Christmas season! We Chasters are, and will always be behind you all the way, to the top of the Pyramid, one small step or one big leap at a time!
By LAfan, Charicemania.com