Click here to buy Charice’s debut album, which went on sale May 11, 2010, a day after her eighteenth birthday!
And here is the official music video for Pyramid.
Following Charice’s success with Pyramid, Billboard.com posted a three-minute interview with her on July 1, 2010.
A FORCE OF NATURE
One night, when our daughter, Erin, was seven, Kate and I tucked her into bed. Kate had rushed upstairs to say goodnight during a commercial break from a show she was watching. After a couple minutes, Kate could hear her show coming back on so when Erin asked her for a lullaby, Kate suggested, “Have Daddy sing you one instead.” With that, she hurried downstairs. Erin looked at me, eyes pleading, and said, “Please don’t sing me a lullaby, Daddy.”
Yes, I was often reminded that I couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket with a lid on it. But I have long envied people who can sing well. I often wondered what it must be like to be singing on stage and getting so lost in the music and your performance that the experience becomes nothing short of transcendental. What an incredible feeling that must be! Indeed, friends of mine who sing professionally confirm that it’s a feeling like no other.
I know, we all have our own talents, and I feel quite blessed to have mine, but still . . .
I just wanted to give you a little background about why I am so impressed with Filipino Charice Pempengco, who was sixteen years old when I first encountered her. What a gift to be able to express such a great talent at such a young age. I love the way she pours her entire soul into her performance and sings with such power and authenticity, such joy and abandon. Ah, if only we all could express our unique gifts so magnificently!
Charice represents the kind of world we all pray for when we close our eyes and dare to dream. That may sound like an enormous and unreasonable burden to place on the shoulders of a sixteen-year-old girl, but ultimately, it is not how she shows up in the world that matters so much, it is how her joyous spirit touches us, lifts us up, makes us believe in not only her goodness but our own. Charice is far more than just a teenage girl, she is a force of nature. Her mere presence in this world blesses us and makes us strong.
BODYGUARD MEDLEY: I HAVE NOTHING and
I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU
This performance of the Bodyguard medley—I Have Nothing and I Will Always Love You—is from the spectacular one-night only concert of Hit Man: David Foster and Friends—now available on CD and DVD—at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on May 23, 2008. The concert featured Foster, Andrea Bocelli, Michael Buble, Josh Groban, Katharine McPhee, Blake Shelton, Brian McKnight and, of course, Charice, who later said on Good Morning America that Foster discovered her on YouTube.
At the same Vegas show, here is Charice singing what is now her signature song.
AND I AM TELLING YOU I’M NOT GOING
Charice was overwhelmed by the experience and by the audience reaction. In an interview after she returned to the Philippines, she said:
After the first song, I already felt like crying. But I couldn’t let it out because I still had another song. The Americans, they could recognize me. It’s really touching when they tell me that I had the best performance of the night. It’s lke I was dreaming, especially when I saw the program. I was sandwiched between two big stars: Michael Buble, me, then Josh Groban. That was such a big opportunity for me.
Speaking of Michael Buble, he was just as starstruck by Charice as vice versa. After the Mandalay Bay show, as shown on the September 9, 2008 episode of Oprah, Michael Buble told Charice:
I’m so glad that I don’t have to follow you. Because that would suck for me very badly. Because no mater how good I am, I know that you’d kick my butt.
Be sure to watch Charice’s life story. It’s not only very well done, it’s extraordinarily moving and inspirational. This amazing girl had to battle incredible odds to get to where she is now. At the age of three, Charie watched her father choke her mother, Raquel, and then grab his shotgun. Fortunately, neighbors heard the screams and broke down the door just in time. Charice recounted that story on the September 9, 2008 episode of Oprah, then added:
We left my dad and after that, I never saw him and I don’t want to see him. I’m just singing now for my mom. I couldn’t help her before, that’s why I want to help her now.
In a May 30, 2008 interview with Korina Sanchez on Rated K, a Sunday night magazine news show on the ABS-CBN network. Sanchez asked Charice if she was ready to face her father should he seek her out now that she’s famous. Charice replied:
As of the moment, I cannot tell if I still want to see him. Not that I’m mad, maybe I’m just feeling sad, asking myself why he did that.
Charice’s mom added:
I always tell them not to hold any grudges against their father, because if not for him, they wouldn’t be here.
Raquel, put in sixteen-hour days six days a week at a nearby garment factory to care for Charice and her younger brother, Carl. Charice’s talent was evident at an early age. Let’s return to Charice’s Oprah appearance:
My mom discovered my voice when I was four years old. She thought that the radio’s playing, you know, Celine Dion is singing. She went to the living room and she saw me singing and she was like, “Oh my gosh, she’s singing!”
After years of struggling for her family, and even a brief stint of homelessness, Charice began earning money in local singing contests.
I joined 80+ singing contests because I really want to help Mom even if the prizes are $50 or $10. It was big money for us. When I joined a singing contest and I won $50, she said, “Okay, we’re going to have some food for one month,” and we were very happy. We love pizza, and before we can’t buy it because we don’t have enough money. That’s why I told my mom, “I have to get this prize just to buy pizza for us.”
Going through such tough times can bring a normal person to their knees. Charice, however, viewed her challenges as a command to rise. Every day that her family struggled only strengthened her resolve to succeed. She was also on a personal mission. If you think that everyone immediately recognized Charice’s amazing talent and radiant beauty, think again.
Some people are saying that I’m not good enough and that I’m not pretty. But I wanted to prove that they’re wrong.
Indeed, it took a while for Charice to get used to the idea that people thought she was something special. In an interview on January 12, 2008 on the MYX Channel, a music and lifestyle channel for the Asian American community, Charice referenced an upcoming trip to New York to meet Clive Davis, producer/manager of Whitney Houston:
I couldn’t believe it myself, it was very sudden and I really didn’t expect it. I was just surprised because there were a lot of people who were saying that I didn’t know how to sing; I had no personality, I would go nowhere. It’s just gratifying that in other countries, they are saying that I can sing, I’m cute. It makes me proud that in other countries, in Korea, America or anywhere else, they recognized me and accepted me as Filipino, with my age, with this voice, they accepted me with this personality, they accepted me wholeheartedly.
Although Charice was hurt by her detractors’ criticism, she forged determinedly ahead. Eventually, she earned enough to buy a nice home for her family in the Philippines. As Charice told Oprah in a video clip while standing in front of her new home:
This is a big improvement because it’s more peaceful and we’re happy.
I’m not very different from them. That’s also the same experience that I have gone through. There will be a time when you think of giving up, because you’re tired, but don’t, if you’re really holding on to that dream. Because if that’s really your dream, and you persevere, you will surely reach it.
If you just do your best, do everything that you’re able to do, until you no longer have any strength, fate will catch you and continue your story.
I applaud Charice and her mother’s indomitable courage and strength. Charice is truly a role model to anyone who is struggling in this world.
In fact, through her involvement with World Vision, Charice is a highly visible advocate for children at risk. She sponsors seven Filipino children who are living in poverty through this humanitarian organization. World Vision works with children all over the world to help them overcome poverty and injustice and reach their full potential. Charice says that she understands the hardship that these families are going through and she wants to share the many blessings that God has given her. She adds that it is her dream to help children like Nicka.
As a performer, as a caring human being, as a model for young girls all across the world, and as an exemplary representative of her beloved homeland, Charice has clearly earned the title, Pride of the Philippines. I suspect that she cherishes that designation more than any of her many awards and other honors.
Charice’s fan base is exploding as thousands of new fans discover her every day. Charice, who is affectionately called Ming by friends and family, regularly goes out of her way to thank her Chasters (a word Charice herself coined to describe all her fans).
Her most popular fan sites include:
• Charicemania (which includes a fun chat area)
These posts wouldn’t be nearly as comprehensive if not for all the Chasters who offered such invaluable help in finding and interpreting content. Special thanks to FalseVoice, cherbear, modeler1, justcharrie, jimfan155, loel, honeybee, nickelodeon and mithi.
CHARICE’S DEBUT ALBUM
Charice is currently recording her debut U.S. album. David Foster, her mentor and producer, offered some insight into the project during a March 3, 2009 radio interview with Van McNeil on 99.1 WMYX in Milwaukee:
It will happen this year. And, of course, you know” this year” means you have to have something out pretty much by the beginning of November. We want to take our time, we don’t want to rush it because if we did just a good album, it’s not going to be good enough. We have to do everything we can do to make a great album. And that’s going to require a lot of work from a lot of people. I won’t be the only producer on it. She needs to go more youthful in some of her songs, which means reaching out to some of those younger producers that do, you know, more Top 40 music and combine that . . . you can imagine if Britney and Celine were to get together, the combination of those two to make an album, that’s what we’re shooting for.
And I really believe when we get this album finished and it comes out . . . people just want to see her . . . there’s a lot of great singers out there, they come up, they sing, they can even have a hit record, but you’re like, “Hmmm, that’s not really turning me on.” People just . . . their jaw drops when they see this girl sing. She’s spellbinding.
CHARICE’S PHILIPPINES ALBUM
On October 5, 2008, Charice was awarded a gold record plaque for her debut album, Charice. An album that sells 12,500 copies gets a gold status. The ceremony took place at the ASAP (All-Star Afternoon Party) ’08 Pop Viewers Choice Awards in the Philippines. Read about it from ABS-CBN News.
The album only has six songs plus the six backing tracks of those songs for a total of twelve cuts. The songs are • And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going • It Can Only Get Better • I Will Always Love You • Born To Love You Forever • I Have Nothing • Mama
(It Can Only Get Better and Born To Love You Forever, composed by Swedish songwriters, were two of the seven songs Charice recorded during a trip to Sweden in June 2007.)
LIZ SMITH PREDICTS STARDOM FOR CHARICE
On New Year’s Eve, 2008, legendary gossip columnist Liz Smith, appearing on Fox News Channel’s Lips & Ears segment, revealed her choices for four celebrities who will be red hot in 2009: Robert Pattinson, Kate Winslet, George Clooney . . . and Charice!
Nothing says, “Welcome to America” like an invitation to sing the Star-Spangled Banner at a major-league baseball game! You know what they say, America is hot dogs, baseball . . . and Charice! This is Charice’s first public performance of the national anthem. Here she is wowing manager Joe Torre and the rest of the Los Angeles Dodgers at their home opener on April 13, 2009. Charice must have pumped up the home team because the Dodgers took the field and crushed their hated rivals, the San Francisco Giants, 11-1. Everyone was impressed, including the announcer who commented, “That was incredible. Charice can sing!”
First a Dodger Stadium record crowd shows up, a 16-year-old waif belts out one of the biggest national anthems you’ll ever hear, a stealth bomber flies over, and then the Dodgers annihilate their traditional enemy from San Francisco, 11-1.
The Dodgers should quit and go home now. It can’t get any better than that, can it?
“(The anthem) was better than the game,” joked catcher Russell Martin of singer Charice’s pregame home run.
(Russell Martin later told an ESPN reporter that he liked listening to Charice’s music and described her as a combination of Celine Dion and Whitney Houston.)
The following video offers higher quality visuals but no close-ups of Charice. Take your pick!
What, you want another version? No problem. Here’s a compilation of Charice’s performance put together by cherbear.
This performance at Dodger Stadium was a huge stepping stone for Charice. First, extensive media coverage introduced her to countless Americans who had never heard of her. Second, how many in the record crowd of 57,099 at Dodger Stadium do you think raced home and Googled Charice to find out more about the amazing girl they had just witnessed? Once you hear Charice in person, you’re hooked!
Charice’s first big break in the United States was her debut on Ellen on December 19, 2007, at the age of fifteen. (The episode was actually filmed one day earlier.)
Notice that Charice sings the words “You’re my best mom I’ll ever know” instead of “You’re the best man I’ll ever know.” For the story behind that lyric change, watch the six-part mini-series of Charice’s life produced for Maalaala Mo Kaya (MMK).
AND I AM TELLING YOU I’M NOT GOING
Ellen does not get enough credit for being an early and passionate advocate for Charice. In an ABS-CBN interview in December 2007, immediately after Charice arrived in the U.S. for the first time, Charice told interviewer: Joseph Pimentel:
[Ellen] said she’s my number one fan. I was really shocked when she said that.
Indeed, Charice and her mother were pinching themselves, unable to believe that they were in the United States. They didn’t think they could possibly be blessed any more. In Charice’s life story on MMK, she said:
I thought there was nothing else that could beat my experience in Sweden and Korea. I never thought that a bigger door would open up for me.
In her interview with Korina Sanchez on Rated K, Charice related the story of her Ellen experience. It all began on a normal evening at home. First, Ellen’s executive producers called to set up an interview. Then, twenty minutes later, the phone rang again.
When I picked up, I said, ‘Who’s this?” Then she said, “It’s Ellen DeGenres.” She wanted me to come on her show as soon as possible. During the rehearsal, I thought she was not coming out of her dressing room because a lot of her staff said she doesn’t usually come out before the show starts. I was surprised that she was there, and that she was shocked to see me instead of me being shocked to see her! She was really dumbfounded. Then she hugged me. She was teary-eyed and said that she was really happy that I was finally there.
Ellen was not only happy to welcome Charice, she was honored to be the one who would introduce Charice to U.S. audiences. It’s clear by her introduction that Ellen knew what a watershed day this would be for Charice:
I’m warning you right now, I’m going to cry again today. Set your VCRs. I’ll do it again. I don’t care, I’m telling you, I’ll cry. She’s fifteen years old, we flew her in from the Philippines. She’s never been to the United States before. She doesn’t have a recording contract. She’s never done this before here. You are going to be blown away. This is the most incredible gift of all the stuff we’re giving you today. You’re going to witness something. You’re going to go, “I was there that day that girl was on the show.” Here name is Charice Pempengco and she is amazing.
A giddy Charice came skipping out on stage, waving happily with both arms. She jumped into Ellen’s arms for a big hug, then sat down, grinning ear to ear. After less than a minute of conversation, Ellen said:
Well, you are amazing. I don’t want to talk any longer, I want you to sing. I can’t wait. I have a mic here (which she picked up off the coffee table and handed to Charice) and I can’t wait for people to see you. And I will be right here.
During Charice’s performance, Ellen sat, watching in awe, fully recognizing and appreciating that she was watching history in the making. As Charice finished her first song, the audience rose to their feet as one to give her a well-deserved standing ovation. In the midst of thunderous applause, Charice met Ellen halfway between the stage and set for another hug. Charice could not contain her excitement. All she could say was, “Oh, my God, oh, my God, thank you very much.” She humbly and reverentially bowed her head to the audience, hands folded in front of her face, then covered her face with her hands to try to stem the tide of emotions coursing through her. Tearfully, she gave Ellen another hug. With her arm around Charice, Ellen said:
You’re amazing, you’re amazing. We just all witnessed the beginning of this girl’s career. We’re going to go, “I was there, I saw her.” She is unbelievable.
Ellen then turned to Charice, took a little box out of a gift bag, and said:
And I know you lost your iPod on the way here on your thirteen-hour flight. We got you an iPod touch.
I cried after I sang because they gave me standing ovations. She hugged me, then she whispered to me, “This is the start.”
Incredibly, those standing ovations were the first of her career. In a tearful interview back in the Philippines, Charice said:
One of my dreams has now come true. More so, when Ellen told me, “You’re already a big star here.” Then she told me she was really, really proud of me. I never thought that Americans would accept me like this. That they didn’t care about me being a Filipino. That they cared about my talent more.
In Charice’s life story on MMK, she added:
Ellen was so nice to us. She told me, whatever I want to do, don’t stop doing it. She inspired me. And I started believing in myself again. Mommy and I went home with that wonderful experience inside. But every day, we still can’t believe all of the wonderful things that have happened to us.
Charice always makes sure to credit her beloved mother. In her MMK life story, she made a point to say:
I was so happy because I was given a chance to perform on Ellen. But most of all, I was so happy because my mom was with me through all this.
One more note: It’s amazing how quickly Charice has mastered English. Not the language itself, because all Filipinos are taught English from a young age, but the quality of her accent. She had a strong Philippine accent on Ellen, but in a matter of months it was gone and she was speaking English like a native. David Foster made mention of Charice’s linguistic prowess during their performance at the 22nd annual David Foster and Friends Gala at the Winspear Centre on September 13, 2008.
How did Ellen become aware of Charice? Ellen saw a YouTube video of Charice’s powerhouse performance on Star King, a South Korean talent show, on October 13, 2007.
Why is this performance so electrifying?
• First of all, Charice strode confidently on stage like a seasoned veteran and blew the gates off with her first note, instantly establishing the richness and maturity of her voice.
• Second, she didn’t just command the stage, she owned it. I’m surprised she didn’t take it back home to the Philippines as a memento. After all, it was her property! As one man in the audience commented immediately after her performance, “It’s like the stage isn’t big enough for her.”
• Third, the complete package she presented was astonishing—the way she so naturally complemented her voice with such savvy, apropos moves seemed almost preternatural.
• Fourth, the song she chose, And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going, is universally recognized as a make-or-break song that separates the wannabes from the pros, yet she made it her own as if she had been born to sing it.
• FIfth, she was an unknown, which made the juxtaposition between her incredibly powerful voice and her schoolgirl appearance even more jarring.
• Sixth, her sheer force of personality transfixed the crowd—her mid-air mic switch and deft audience interaction effectively announced, not just to those in attendance but to the millions who would soon be YouTubing her all over the world, that, ready or not, here was a force to be reckoned with. After finishing her song, Charice wowed the audience even further with her personality plus, bantering and singing with the other performers as if she were born to the crown.
• Seventh, she projected a genuine, pure and joyous spirit, enabling her to transcend her immediate circumstances and effortlessly transport the audience into a higher realm of emotional and spiritual intimacy.
• Eighth, this was the performance that catapulted Charice’s career into hyperdrive. Our first glimpse of her on Star King was the precise moment that Charice left her childhood behind—no longer a girl but on the cusp of womanhood, no longer just a singer but a superstar in waiting. Instinctively, in that first moment, we knew this was so. And we had the goose bumps to prove it.
AND I AM TELLING YOU I’M NOT GOING
Seventeen days later, with the Asian world still buzzing about Charice’s star-making performance, she was interviewed in the October 30, 2007 edition of Asian Buzz. Here are some highlights. And here is the full interview.
Asian Buzz: Your fans really want to know about your experience flying to Korea for Star King. Can you give us a recap from the arrival to departure?
Charice: When I arrived at the airport, a group of Koreans approached me and asked me if I was a celebrity. Then of course, I said no and that I was from the Philippines and was only visiting their country. Then they said I looked like one and they thought I was a Korean too. Maybe because of my eyes? (laughs) . . . I stayed in a hotel and did some practice for the song that I sung. The next day was the performance day. It was actually fun. I got to meet a lot of Korean stars. I even saw Kim Jung Eun. I used to watch her before because Lovers In Paris (a twenty-episode TV series on South Korea’s SBS network that Kim Jung Eun had starred in) was shown here before in the Philippines.
Asian Buzz: Can you describe your experience for the taping of Star King? Can you share some interesting or funny things that happened behind the scenes? We thought you did great despite having language barriers with Koreans.
Charice: The taping was fun. The audience really surprised me. They were like rocking the whole studio every performance they saw. Of course, I was happy that I got the loudest cheers and yells. It really boosted my confidence to really sing my heart out. Behind the scenes? Hmm, I had a translator which was my first time to experience; I mean that kind of exchanging thoughts and stuff. It was really fun.
Asian Buzz: Did you know about Super Junior (a popular Korean boy band) before you met them? What are your thoughts about them?
Charice: No, I didn’t know anything about them, honestly. But before I went on stage, I kind of wanted to meet them face to face because of the things that my translator had been telling me about them, that they are very big in Korea. Finally, I had the chance to meet them after the taping. They were all nice but I must say Kyu Hyun really stood out because he was the one who was always smiling and talking to me.
Hollywood took notice of Charice’s Star King triumph as well. Charice was featured in E!’s Daily 10 on November 14, 2007.
How did Star King become aware of Charice? Check out my interview with FalseVoice.
Charice’s next big overseas appearance was on Paul O’Grady‘s very popular daily TV show in England on April 8, 2008. (It was actually filmed the day before.) O’Grady had seen Charice on YouTube and invited her to the show.
Charice certainly knows how to make an entrance! Cool and confident, she burst onto the stage, shimmied this way and that, pulled off an “only cool people can do this” double-finger point with her trademark wink, then seamlessly transitioned from seasoned performer to adorable little girl by skipping gleefully over to O’Grady’s desk.
When O’Grady asked Charcie if she was enjoying herself in London, she playfully said:
I went to Buckingham Palace this morning and Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. And of cousrse, the Abbey Road. Too bad I didn’t see the queen and Paul McCartney.
Charice’s playful spirit is ever-present and undeniably authentic. Once again, she charmed the audience and had them wrapped them around her little finger before she even sang a note. And once again, she backed up her personality-plus with a powerful performance. In fact, her two songs that day earned the first standing ovation in the show’s four-year history.
AND I AM TELLING YOU I’M NOT GOING
I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU
Next up, Oprah! Here is Charice’s initial blow-the-audience-away performance on Oprah on May 12, 2008, two days after her sixteenth birthday. (The show was actually taped on April 3.)
A video teaser at the start of the show perfectly captures Charice’s playful spirit. Right before a commercial, Charice said: “Hi, I’m Charice Pempengco from Philippines and this is what I do best.” She beautifully sang the word, “listen,” then added, with a wink and a finger point, “And I’m going to do it for you, Oprah, next.”
This girl just exudes joy—as she finished singing the word “listen,” her expression was pure bliss. Those are the moments we all crave, the moments that put us in touch with all that is good in the world. One of the many gifts that Charice gives us is the opportunity to vicariously experience such moments through her.
From her wink on Oprah to her impromptu dance moves on Star King, Charice’s performance instincts are spot on. You can’t teach that. You can only marvel at how natural and genuine she is.
Oprah introduced Charice by saying:
My next young guest is an absolute sensation in the Philippines. I’ve never heard her sing before. but at rehearsal, my stage manager, Dean, said she was really something. I’ve heard about this girl from David Foster. So let’s take a look.
CHARICE ON OPRAH (MAY 12, 2008)
I HAVE NOTHING
Notice that Charice received a standing ovation in the middle of her song. After she finished, she received another “standing o” as Oprah walked out on stage muttering, “Wow, wow, wow,” and said:
Girl, that was fantastic! What a blow-away moment. You know, David Foster’s a friend of mine and he had told me about you, but nothing that he says really explains who you are. Who are you? Amazing, amazing. He says you’re a force to be reckoned with.
Charice teared up as she told Oprah:
I’m always dreaming that some day I can be a part of your show. I can’t believe I’m here standing in front of you. It’s my dream come true.
Oprah asked, “And how does it feel?” Charice was too emotional to answer, so Oprah pulled her close like a mother would and said, “Just lay into my breast.” A very touching moment. Pressed against Oprah, Charice said, “I’m just proud of myself.” Oprah replied, “You should be very proud of yourself.” Charice said, “I can’t believe I’m hugging you.” Oprah closed by saying:
You are. I can’t believe it either. This is fantastic, this is fantastic. Thank you so much for flying all day, all night, fifteen hours, and coming here in such perfect form.
After a pause, Oprah added:
May I dry your tears? May I please dry your tears? It’s marvelous. You should be proud of yourself because you brought your full game here today.
It’s worth noting that Charice brought out the maternal instinct in both Ellen and Oprah. They were both very protective and wanted to help her career any way they could. I suspect that many of her fans feel the same way. I, for one, feel for Charice what I feel for my own beloved daughter—I want the world to celebrate her pure spirit and amazing talent, but I also pray for her safety, both physically and emotionally, as she makes her way in this fickle, unpredictable world.
Charice returned to Oprah on September 9, 2008, accompanied by her mentor David Foster on the piano. The actual show was taped a day or two earlier.
CHARICE ON OPRAH (SEP 9, 2008) (PART 1 OF 4)
In the first segment, Oprah told the audience:
My producers came across her video on YouTube. And then you (the audience) met her, same time I did, a few months ago, on our show, when she walked out on this stage and gave it her all. . . . It was the first time most of us here in the U.S. had ever heard her sing, and nobody expected this. Charice brought down the house. Millions of you cheered from your living rooms as you watched Charice’s dream begin to unfold.
Oprah also said:
I didn’t know who she was until the moment I walked out here and introduced her to you. I got goose bumps . . . This has been a summer of dreams for Charice, a little girl with a giant talent. She was on our show, blew my Manolos off.
Oprah shared a behind-the-scenes story about that first show with Charice:
I couldn’t stop thinking about that little girl, and I asked my producers if I could meet with her. But by that time, she already was on a plane about to take off for the Philippines. So they pulled her off the plane and brought her back to Harpo. Now, I didn’t know that. I was asking, “Who is she?” I didn’t say, “Interrupt the plane and pull her off the plane!” So they pulled this child and her mother off the plane and they bring her into the office and I thought, Now what do I do? When we met, I knew that I wanted to help this talented girl anyway I could. So after sitting with her and her mother, I said, “Look, I don’t know anything about the music business, but I know some people who do know something about the music business, and I really want you to get help. I think you’re really good.” So I called legendary producer David Foster to see what he could do for Charice.
Oprah then brought David Foster out on stage, who told her, “You were a little relentless, I must say. You were smitten.”
CHARICE ON OPRAH (SEP 9, 2008) (PART 2 OF 4)
In the second segment, Charice is shown getting a phone call from opera star Andrea Bocelli and then later singing with him in Italy. (Click here for the story of how Charice met Bocelli and to watch their performance in Tuscany.)
After the Bocelli story, Oprah introduced a brief video in which Charice returns to her childhood home in the Philippines and describes the day that changed her life. Oprah commented:
One of the things I love most about Charice is that no matter what obstacles she’s faced in her life, she’s never given up on her dream of something better.
CHARICE ON OPRAH (SEP 9, 2008) (PART 3 OF 4)
In the third segment, Oprah introduces another video featuring Charice in the Philippines in which The Girl With The Voice gives the viewers a glimpse of her career path and present life.
Right before Charice sang My Heart Will Go On (which begins at 5:25 in the above video), Oprah had a brief exchange with David Foster, who was sitting in the front row:
When I called David, one of the things I said was, “David, I want you to do something for this girl.” And he said, “Well, I’ve got this whole (Mandala Bay) special (on May 23),” and I said, “Well, okay, and I want you to pay her, too! I want her to get paid. I’m not her agent, but I want her to get paid.”
David replied: “Yes, you are her agent. You’re a good one, too.”
CHARICE ON OPRAH (SEP 9, 2008) (PART 4 OF 4)
The absolute highlight of the show was when Charice was introduced to her idol, Celine Dion, in the fourth and final segment. In a video clip in the third segment, Charice was shown holding a sketch pad in her bedroom in the Philippines and saying:
This is my dream notebook. All my drawings here are my dreams. So this is my drawing, it’s my ultimate idol, Celine Dion. The first song that I learned was My Heart Will Go On. Of course I want to sing with her. Soon, I wish . . . someday.
She had no idea how quickly “someday” would arrive! Oprah had it all planned out to surprise Charice, and when Oprah turned Charice around to meet Celine (at 0:53 in the above video), Charice’s ebullient reaction touched the heart of everyone who ever laid in bed as a kid and daydreamed about meeting their childhood hero.
When Celine invited Charice to sing a duet with her the following week in Madison Square Garden (at 2:53 in the above video), there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. This brief encounter speaks volumes about why Charice is so beloved by so many fans. It is a sweet, genuine, and exquisitely tender and touching moment that reveals and revels in her innocence and joyous spirit.
At the end of the show, Oprah stood on stage with Charice and another guest, a young boy skilled in karate. Oprah asked Charice about her reaction to meeting Celine Dion. A very happy Charice replied:
I was shocked because I didn’t expect that. I drew Celine, you saw that in my dream journal. And I can’t believe that I’m going to sing with her. Yay!
Oprah then said to David Foster, who was back sitting in the front row:
Earlier, we were watching her video (of her life story) and she’s had some difficult times. Is it true that pain makes for good singers?
It certainly seems to be the way it is. It’s kind of unfortunate, but you have to dig deep. And this little girl digs deep. She really does and she really knows what’s going on. It’s very impressive.
Charice returned to Oprah on May 18, 2009, to debut her first single, Note To God, form her eagerly anticipated upcoming album. (Click here for the mp3 download on Amazon.) Charice, accompanied by her producer and mentor, David Foster, blows the roof off the joint! Even after multiple appearances on Oprah and singing with so many of her heroes all over the world, Charice remains as authentic as ever, pouring her heart and soul into every performance. You can see by the way she brushes away a tear at the end of the song that she doesn’t know the meaning of “auto-pilot.”
After a quick recap of Charice’s career, Note To God begins at 2:43 into the following video. (For all you music historians, Note To God, written by uber-songwriter Diane Warren, was included on 2006′s The High Road, JoJo‘s second album, but was never released as a single.)
In the segment after her song (7:45 into the video), Oprah welcomes Charice and introduces David Foster and Diane Warren. Oprah asks Diane, who’s sitting in the front row with David, to stand up and take a bow. When Oprah asks Diane if she just happened to have Note To God in her back pocket, Diane says:
I did. I had written the song and (gesturing to Charice) when I heard your voice, and David wanted a song for you, I thought that would be the perfect song, and wow, did you prove that way beyond what I could have hoped for. That was an amazing performance. Beautiful.
Oprah then asks David Foster what it’s like working with “this little one” considering he’s worked with so many legends. David replies:
In my world, this only happens two or three times probably in my lifetime. And I’ve worked with a lot of people. So this is one of those two or three moments. It just reminds me of when I saw Celine when she was eighteen. It’s the same feeling. And she just sings so beautifully.
Oprah then turns her attention to the girl of the hour and asks Charice if she was nervous during her song. I for one was startled at Charice’s reply. I thought that by now she would be used to performing in front of famous folks and millions of adoring fans. Charice looks visibly shaken, and her answer reveals why she is so beloved by so many—she remains humble, grounded and deeply grateful for every opportunity to share her gifts with the world.
I’m actually about to cry earlier because I was so nervous and I felt like I’m gonna faint, ’cause, I mean, this is really big for me, I mean, I sang my first song, my own song. People are going to say, “Oh, that’s Charice’s song.”
As Charice fights to hold back tears, Oprah says:
You know, when I met you about this time last year, it was . . . I’m crying too, because as I said to you backstage, you know, I’m so happy that your dream for yourself has come true. This has been your dream.
Chrice goes on to say that her life has changed a lot since the last time she appeared on Oprah. For one thing, she got to be part of her favorite movie franchise—Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, which will be released on Christmas Day, 2009.
In response to a question from Jordan, Oprah’s ten-year-old cohost for the day, Charice says she’d like to meet Justin Timberlake to try “some fast songs and dance moves ’cause I really love to dance also.” Charice also admits to having a crush on Josh Groban. “That’s a nice crush to have!” replies Oprah.
Charice and Oprah have a May habit going! Charice first appeared on Oprah on May 12, 2008. She returned on May 18, 2009. And on May 11, 2010, Charice stole the show once again while debuting her breakout album, Charice!
CHARICE ON OPRAH (MAY 11, 2010) (PART 1 OF 3)
CHARICE ON OPRAH (MAY 11, 2010) (PART 2 OF 3)
CHARICE AND IYAZ SING PYRAMID
In the next video, Charice dedicates In This Song to Oprah. Written by David Foster, whom Charice just asked to be her godfather, In This Song is the story of Charice’s life. It’s a touching performance and Charice gives it her all!
CHARICE ON OPRAH (MAY 11, 2010) (PART 3 OF 3)
CHARICE SINGS IN THIS SONG
In a March 3, 2009 radio interview with Van McNeil on 99.1 WMYX in Milwaukee, David Foster emphasized the importance of Oprah’s support of Charice:
Let’s not also forget she has Oprah in her corner. And Oprah has a big stick. Oprah loves this girl like nobody I’ve ever seen. And she is just determined to help shortcut this girl’s success. You know, a lot of people are going to get there anyway. I believe Charice is one of those that will get there anyway because she’s that talented. But when you have someone like Oprah on the team, and hopefully I can add to the mix too, it just kind of shortcuts the whole thing.
David likes to use the word “relentless” when describing Oprah’s support of Charice but he’s just as guilty as Oprah is—thank goodness for that! On September 13, 2008, in his introduction of Charice at the 22nd annual David Foster and Friends Gala at the Winspear Centre in Edmonton, Canada, David said:
Oprah has been relentless with this young girl because we both believe she is the next superstar.
Every story about Charice should begin with the words, “Once upon a time . . .” because her rise to stardom is a fairy tale brought to life. Can you imagine drawing pictures of your idol at three years old only to find yourself performing with her while you’re still a teenager? And to top it off, having your idol ask you to invite her to your concert? Unthinkable!
Charice had also been aware of producer David Foster for years because his name was on all the songs Charice loved while growing up. And now here is David accompanying her on the piano all over the country and singing her praises to anyone who will listen. Hello? Hollywood, are you listening? The only things missing from Charice’s story are a glass slipper and seven dwarves.
Nine days later, Charice was featured on Oprah again! Oprah recapped Charice’s appearances and showed all of Charice’s duet with her childhood idol at Madison Square Garden on September 15, 2008.
OPRAH RECAPS CHARICE’S APPEARANCES and
CHARICE SINGS “BECAUSE YOU LOVED ME” WITH HER HERO
Here is Celine Dion’s full introduction of Charice at Madison Square Garden.
To fully appreciate Charice’s Madison Square Garden appearance requires the viewing of the following video, shot by Charice super-fan jimfan155. It shows Charice’s complete onstage experience that night. As Jim wrote to me, “You can listen to the sustained applause throughout and after. It would have been better except for a screaming old man (sorry, that was me). A fantastic standing ovation (the loudest of the night) for a fantastic performance. Celine Dion showed her class by allowing Charice to shine.”
Her second-to-the-last song was Because You Loved Me. What she did was she sang the first part of the song, then she stopped at the chorus. After she stopped at the chorus, she introduced me. I said that I was nervous and then she told me to think of the audience as my brothers and sisters.
In the same interview, Charice also marveled at how quickly her relationship with Oprah has developed:
She treats me like someone really close to her. But I was still a bit shy around her. Because I really couldn’t believe that it’s Oprah.
Charice never expected so many of her prayers to be answered so quickly, much less at all. When the host of Wonder Mom asked Charice how she prays, she replied:
When I pray it’s usually short, but I try to make it really meaningful. I usually say, “I leave it up to you. More blessings to come. And I really thank you.”
But wait, here’s a bonus! Celine Dion went on Oprah on October 28, 2008 to talk about that magical night at Madison Square Garden.
Charice has handled her sudden fame like a seasoned pro. In a May 2008 interview with one of her Philippine heroes, Sharon Cuneta, a popular singer, actress and TV host, Charice was asked about her rapid rise to stardom:
First of all I was shocked. I never thought that all of this would happen to me so suddenly. I only hoped to be known here in the Philippines, like my idols, you, Miss Sarah (Geronimo), Miss Regine (Velasquez). I wanted to be like you. I never expected to be invited to popular American TV shows.
We want you to know we’re very proud of you. I’m so honored to have you on my show. You are exceptional. You have brought so much honor to our country. Look at me, sweetheart. (She takes Charice’s chin in her hand.) When the time comes, this (your heart) should always be here. Never let it go to your head. Your heart should always be in place. That’s a promise, okay? Charice, you will go far.
Charice met another of her idols, Mariah Carey, on October 11, 2008, at the Andre Agassi Grand Slam for Children Benefit Concert at Wynn Las Vegas. This video is courtesy of Balitang America, the nightly news program of ABS-CBN Global in North America.
Here is a touching silent video put together by FalseVoice showing more of Charice’s meeting with Mariah.
And here are the three songs Charice performed that night. The background noise you hear is not the audience being rude. The video was taken from a TV monitor in a room adjacent to the stage.
BODYGUARD MEDLEY: I HAVE NOTHING and
I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU
AND I AM TELLING YOU I’M NOT GOING
Two weeks later, on October 25, 2008, a pigtailed Charice performed two show-stopping songs with David Foster at the Carousel of Hope Ball, an annual charity event in Beverly Hills, California that was founded by actress Barbara Davis for the benefit of children with diabetes.
AND I AM TELLING YOU I’M NOT GOING
I WILL SURVIVE
Did I say Charice performed two songs? Let’s make it three! Here she is, believe it or not, singing and dancing to a Michael Jackson classic!
And for a bonus treat, here are Jay Leno and Josh Groban reacting to Charice’s performance!
David Foster mentioned that Charice had busted out with her Billie Jean moves in rehearsal. Well, here is that rehearsal!
Three days later, on October 28, 2008, Charice performed two songs at the Macy’s 150th Anniversary celebration at Gotham Hall in New York. She was accompanied once again by “The Hitman,” David Foster.
ALL BY MYSELF
AND I AM TELLING YOU I’M NOT GOING
Two days later, on October 30, 2008, Charice performed at The Big Bash, the annual Rising Stars Gala put on by the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles, held at the Beverly Hilton. The woman who introduced her noted that Carice “embodies what the Big Brothers Big Sisters program is all about—it’s rising above adversity and realizing your dreams.”
BODYGUARD MEDLEY: I HAVE NOTHING and
I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU
Charice then pulled up a chair and poured her soul into a song written and released by Eric Carmen in 1975. Two decades later, it was covered by Charice’s hero, Celion Dion, who took it to #4 in the U.S. in 1996.
ALL BY MYSELF
AND I AM TELLING YOU I’M NOT GOING
Here is yet another song Charice performed that night.
BECAUSE YOU LOVED ME
And here is Ming mingling with fans after the show!
How’s this for an encore: Charice’s appearance on Good Morning America on November 18, 2008. Before and after her singing are interviews with David Foster and Charice.
BODYGUARD MEDLEY: I HAVE NOTHING and
I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU and
I WILL SURVIVE
Here is a behind-the-scenes video of Charice’s Good Morning America appearance shot by Charice super-fan Loel Fortugaleza, who immigrated from the Philippines fifteen years ago and now lives in northeastern New Jersey with his wife and two kids. Loel is a courageous man who had gained such a reputation for fighting political corruption and rebels in the Philippines that his wife insisted he stay in the United States because of death threats against him back home.
Loel had the opportunity to meet briefly with Charice after her performance. Click here to read his account of the day. Loel also e-mailed me more information about his encounter with Charice:
She was soft-spoken. We were almost whispering to each other. I was surprised because she sings with a very powerful voice. We were speaking in the Filipino dialect, Tagalog. She always used the word “po” which is a sign of respect to elders.
You’ll have to watch this video to understand why at first Charice was afraid of the pizza pie! (Tidbit: Charice’s levity was inspired by a novelty song titled Picha Pie that was written and sung in Tagalog and English by a Filipino band called Parokya ni Edgar.)
I hope you enjoy Charice’s performances. Come back and visit often. After all, listening to Charice sing will brighten your day and put a bounce in your step and a smile in your heart!
Thanks for stopping by my blog! If you know of any information and/or videos that should be added, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And please let me know if there are any errors that should be corrected, no matter how minor (like incorrect dates, bad links or disabled videos). Thank you! I’m counting on all the Charice Police out there to help me keep improving these posts!
Click here to view all my posts about Charice.
ABOUT PHIL BOLSTA
Phil is the author of Through God’s Eyes: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Troubled World, a comprehensive guide to living a spiritual life. Who will benefit from reading it?
Anyone who is on a spiritual path, or wants to start one
Anyone who loves life, or wants to learn how to
Anyone who is happy, or wants to be happier
Through God’s Eyes won first place in the “Spirituality and Inspirational” category at the San Diego Book Awards on June 22, 2013.
Here is a two-minute video introduction to Through God’s Eyes.
• an overview of the book
• the complete table of contents
• the Foreword by Caroline Myss
• my Introduction
• chapter excerpts
• a sample end-of-chapter story
• endorsements from authors and thought leaders
Just click on the link below to download your free PDF sampler!
THROUGH GOD’S EYES PDF SAMPLER
Phil’s eBook, The Logic of Living a Spiritual Life: Supporting a Life of Faith Through Logic and Reason, is now available for 99 cents on Amazon.
Order it at GodIsLogical.com.
In this eBook, you’ll find answers to questions like:
• What is the cornerstone of a spiritual life, and why?
• What is the secret to liberating yourself from other people’s judgments and expectations?
• Why is there an exception to “Everything happens for a reason”?
Those who worship logic instead of God are only half right. Not only is it logical to believe in God and to live a faith-based life, the existence of a loving, benevolent God that governs all creation is perhaps the only systematic worldview that explains every aspect of life.
Schedule a Mastery Mentoring phone session with Phil to learn how to apply principles of spiritual living more effortlessly and effectively. Priced affordably! Click here to e-mail Phil for details.
Phil is also the author of Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything, a collection of 45 inspiring, life-changing stories from prominent people he interviewed, including Joan Borysenko, Deepak Chopra, geneticist Dr. Francis Collins, acclaimed sportswriter Frank Deford, Dr. Larry Dossey, Wayne Dyer, Dan Millman, Caroline Myss, Dr. Christiane Northrup, Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, Dr. Bernie Siegel, James Van Praagh, singer Billy Vera, Doreen Virtue, Neale Donald Walsch, and bassist Victor Wooten.
Reading this book is like spending a few minutes face to face with each of the contributors and listening to their personal stories. Click here to read unsolicited testimonials from readers. Learn more by visiting the official Sixty Seconds website.
Sixty Seconds was one of three finalists in the General Interest/How-To category at the 12th annual Visionary Awards presented by COVR (Coalition of Visionary Resources) in Denver on June 27, 2009.