First Intermission: Time for a Reset The activity on the “Charice-news front” has been quite slow in recent weeks, and I for one think it’s been a good thing. I’ve found it hard to focus on anything of significance as I continue to read about the tragic reports coming from Japan and around the world. I am inspired by the news of our fellow Japan Chasters persevering through these tremendously difficult times, yet I also know that this time of quiet (at least on the front-pages) in Charice’s music career really could not have come at a better time as it would have been difficult to get very excited about any Charice-news in perspective of the recent turmoils in the world. Yet I know too that Chasters all around the world are anxiously waiting for this quiet period to end (which it will), and so I thought of sharing several things that can keep any Chaster up to date on one’s Chaddiction until this First Intermission of Charice’s Magical Journey comes to a close and Act II begins with a smash in a few weeks. The Culmination of a Magical Start It’s been over a month now since our fateful journey to Tokyo to witness Charice’s first international solo concert, and I think now I’m finally coming to appreciate what that event meant for me personally. I recently came back from a long road-trip for a friend’s wedding, and during that trip, I listened to the entire 1.5 hour Tokyo concert (as recorded by our friends Konekochan and Hachiko) about four times during the round-trip drives. That concert in Tokyo, for so many of us who were there, really was the CULMINATION of what I’ve come to look at as Act I of Charice’s Amazing Journey thus far. So many of us have likened her life story and music career up to this point as a true FAIRY-TALE, with an actual Fairy God-Mother (of course, Oprah for those of you new Chasters). All any Chaster has to do is to think back to when you first heard or discovered Charice, whether it be the first Star King video (I believe uploaded by CoolSmurf), or the series of videos uploaded by Falsevoice. Or like me, the time I came home from work and my wife told me that I just had to watch this recording of that day’s Oprah episode, which featured this tiny little girl from the Philippines, who she said, was the most amazing singer she’s ever heard. I vividly recall telling my wife how I just wanted to unwind a bit, and thinking to myself, ‘yeah right, how good could this girl really be?’ And of course, after hearing those first notes come from that tiny body, I just sat there, spell-bound, transported into this real-life Fairy-Tale story that was unfolding before me. The moment as I’m sure for many of us that really ‘hooked me in’ was after Charice’s performance, when she just sank into Oprah’s ‘bosom’ and with tears in her eyes, spoke of how proud she was of herself, and I just KNEW in my heart that there was so much to be asked of the meaning behind those tears that flowed down her cheeks that day. Then, for many of us as well, I became a ‘closet Chaster’, looking up Charice youtube videos after work, going through Falsevoice’s Youtube channel before it kept getting deleted by Youtube over and over. Then, life got real busy, and I somehow forgot about this girl’s story until my wife said to me again one day after work, ‘you remember that amazing Filipino girl we saw on Oprah? Well, she was back on Oprah today with Celine Dion!’ Amidst the busyness of life, I was brought back to that special moment when Charice’s voice touched my heart for the first time, and of course, watching that Celine episode opened all our eyes to the STORY behind the tears, and it became more than just an admiration of her vocal talents from that point on for us. I can really say though, that my ‘Chaddiction’ didn’t really kick in until I first discovered Charicemania in May of 2010, yes, upon the release of Charice’s first international album. It was quite comforting for me then to realize that I wasn’t going crazy, as there were far ‘crazier’ Chasters than me in their levels of Chaddiction! It’s hard to believe how almost a full year has passed since that fateful day in May of last year, on Oprah and QVC, when Charice launched her international career which kick-started the absolutely crazy round of summer radio shows and promo appearances that marked the foundational year of Charice’s music career. Perspective During This First Intermission I write all this to remind all of us, just how far Charice has come in such a short period of time. It’s hard to believe she’ll be turning 19, that’s 19 soon! This past year holds so many unforgettable memories for me in my Chaster journey, with of course one of the highlights being the first time I got to see Charice live on stage at the Grammy Block Party, and of course, my fateful ‘parking lot’ photo-taking incident where Charice actually took my camera to take the picture for us! (see photo at left) Those kinds of memories are what makes this Chaster journey truly unique and special for each of us. So I just want to encourage all Chasters to use this quiet time, during this ‘First Intermission’ after Act I, to reflect on your own respective Chaster journeys up to this point. Go down memory lane, and recall how Charice first entered your lives, and how much of a positive impact Charice and her music have made in your lives. If you need some help with that, I strongly recommend clicking on the ‘Archives’ link at the top of the CM page, which has articles all the way from 2008, which will I’m sure bring many long-timers here back on that journey down memory-lane. If you haven’t already done so, I would also encourage all Chasters to visit Phil Bolsta’s blog page, where he has already documented many parts of the early scenes of Act I in his beautiful series titled “The Soaring Spirit of Charice Pempengco.” And when’s the last time you had the opportunity in the midst of all the latest videos and reports to watch Charice’s first solo pre-album US show at the Big-E back in September of 2009? As Eve shared with me, “in spite of the obvious lack of rehearsal with the band, she won over the crowd with just the power of her voice and personality and professionalism on that stage. She owned it!” There can’t be many here who have been able to keep up with every single piece of news and videos over the past 3-4 years (well, maybe there are quite a few actually).
Regardless, I would say, use this time before Act II starts, to go back down memory-lane and remind yourself, just how far Charice has come in her magical journey. Then, you’ll truly appreciate, as I have, how amazing her guesting on Glee really is, or just how special and impactful her Japan solo concerts really were. Even the GMA concert (which I finally saw in its entirety with subtitles for the first time last night) was such a monumental achievement for Charice, considering all the silly stuff involving the television stations in the Philippines. Could anyone have imagined back in 2007 or 2008 that Charice would have had a full solo television special that was the highest rated of the night in primetime in the Philippines? Sunshine Singing From Her Corazon (Heart) I’ve already shared how it’s really hard nowadays to watch other artists try to sing the same songs that I’ve heard Charice sing. And this past American Idol episode really broke it down for everyone, what it is that separates Charice from so many others out there today. When you see Charice singing “Maghintay Ka Lamang (You Only Have to Wait)” from the GMA Valentine Special, we all know now the deep meaning behind the tears in her eyes as she sang those words. Looking back now, we also know the meaning behind the tears she shed on Oprah that first fateful appearance in 2008. We know that Charice doesn’t have to ‘act’ out any of the words as she sings them, because she’s actually LIVED out those words in her short 18 years on earth. The fact that Charice can sing genuinely from her heart about the struggles and hardships of life is what separates her from many artists who really have to ‘act out’ such words during their performances. It’s not so much a criticism at all against the other artists, as I’m sure all of us would have desired to keep such hardships from Charice’s young-life if we could have done so. But her life-story is what it is, and that’s why Charice is who she is today. Like I shared, upon the completion of that amazing last note of “Halo” from her Tokyo concert, I really saw the curtains come down on Act I of this amazing story, in more ways than one. Charice’s fairy-tale journey has unfolded in such a beautiful way due to so many special people along the way, and we’ve already mentioned those names many times before. However, the work of those behind the scenes, in the ‘grass-roots’, to promote Charice through mediums such as CM and other sites has really been so pivotal, not in just advancing Charice’s music career, but more so, in developing this community we all know as Chasters. Talking with several Chasters recently after the Tokyo shows, I also have sensed that so much of the foundational groundwork that was laid during Act I has come to a close as well, as many of us really sensed some ‘closure’ after seeing Charice shine on the Tokyo stage. The culmination of Act I was truly a result of the tremendous efforts by Charice and her entire team, and she truly has become an international star in Asia. Even now, as some long-time devoted Chasters may take a ‘step-back’ in their roles in these ‘grass-roots’ efforts, I think it’s absolutely the perfect time for a new generation of Chasters to be born to carry on the mantle for Charice as she opens up Act II in a few weeks with her upcoming appearances on Glee. The Opening of Act II and the Next Generation of Chasters Just as Act I ended on such a high-note in Japan, I’m positive that Act II will start off on an even higher note with her featured appearances on Glee, followed by the ultimate release of her next radio single, and of course, her new album. Charice 2.0 will take this journey to levels that we could not have even imagined just this time last year, and I’m hopeful that a new, young generation of Chasters will rise up to truly bring Charice to the level of superstardom in the U.S. and across the world that we know she is capable of reaching. These younger Chasters (much like the teen ‘Summer’ who I wrote about at the Citadel show in L.A.) are part of the generation that will continue on with Charice as she enters her 20′s, 30′s and beyond. So many in the entertainment industry are already convinced that Charice will be one of the Rising Stars of this next generation of music-lovers, and I can’t wait to see what the scene will look like when Charice debuts her first solo concert in the U.S. after her next album. I hope to be one of the oldest in the crowd surrounded by nothing but a bunch of screaming teenagers yelling out Charice’s name and dancing to her new grooves. No one knows for sure what excitement awaits us in Act II, but during this First Intermission, let’s all not forget that Charice is still in the first year of her college experience as well! I can’t even imagine how she’s been able to do everything she’s done, while also keeping her nose in the books as she pursues her academic dreams. But that’s why she’s Charice, an 18 year old girl who’s able to inspire even the older folks here to keep on dreaming, and never giving up no matter how many times you’ve been knocked down in life. Now catch up on those videos you haven’t seen in years, get your drinks and restroom breaks out of the way, because the lights are flashing, and the curtain is about to go up again real soon as Act II is just about to start! To the Top Chasters! by LAfan, charicemania.com