Ever wonder how Charice got discovered? Here is the equation that answers that question:
FalseVoice + YouTube = Stardom for Charice!
FalseVoice, a twenty-three-year-old registered nurse, whose real name is Dave, lives in Bacoor in the Philippine province of Cavite, thirty kilometers south of Manila. I began our interview by asking Dave why he chose the name FalseVoice.
False voice is a musical term. In singing, there’s chest voice, mixed voice, head voice, whistle voice, and false voice. False voice means falsetto. I’m a music lover and that’s why I chose that name.
In 2006, FalseVoice noticed that a video in YouTube’s “Most Viewed” section was the June 28, 2006 audition of eleven-year-old Bianca Ryan for America’s Got Talent. Ryan had been declared the winner of the competition on August 17, 2006.
I didn’t plan to upload Charice’s videos on YouTube. It’s just that I saw Bianca Ryan’s video after she had just won America’s Got Talent. I was fairly new to YouTube back then and I told myself, I’d like to post an amazing video that would generate a lot of hits.
FalseVoice knew right away which video to use. He had recorded Charice’s performances on Little Big Star the previous fall.
Charice’s name popped into my head because I had gotten goose bumps all over my body when I first saw her singing on TV. So in August 2006 I posted a video of her singing I Will Always Love You from Little Big Star.
I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU
Charice ended up placing third in the Little Big Star competition, largely due to her low total of audience text votes.
She was undeniably the best among the three finalists. She was really discouraged when she lost because the grand prize was a million pesos, which is about $21,000 in U.S. money. She really wanted to win that million pesos for her mother.
Indeed, Charice thought her career was over before it started. She accepted her fate, and thought from then on that she would only be singing for her own enjoyment. In a later interview, she said:
Even though I thought back then that I would not be able to continue singing on television, my love for singing did not fade away. I would sing everywhere, on every occasion, for anyone who wanted to hear.
Did Charice’s Little Big Star video become an overnight sensation? Not so much. FalseVoice had to invest a lot of time and energy into getting the word out and building awareness.
I remember posting comments to every video that I viewed, telling people to go check out Charice’s video. It took some time, but eventually the video generated a lot of hits.
Now that’s an understatement! That video of Charice generated more than a million hits before FalseVoice’s YouTube channel was deleted on January 4, 2008. (More on that later!)
Before long, FalseVoice noticed that many comments on his Little Big Star video were comparing Charice with Bianca Ryan. So in January 2007, fIve months after he posted the first Charice video, he put together a Face Off: Bianca Vs. Charice video. It starts off with Bianca’s America’s Got Talent audition of And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going and ends with Charice’s Little Big Star performance of I Will Always Love You.
BIANCA VS. CHARICE
They thought they had seen the best in Bianca, but the world didn’t know about Charice. The video became a hit right away, receiving more than a million hits before my YouTube channel was deleted.
FalseVoice got a kick out of many of the comments left on his videos by YouTube watchers.
The usual comments about Charice were “Oh, she’s just lip-synching,” and “It’s impossible that it’s her voice.” But that kind of reaction actually had its advantages, because people would then usually search for more of her videos to see if it really was her voice.
FalseVoice even put together a video to prove once and for all that The Little Girl With The Big Voice did indeed have a big, big voice!
Why did FalseVoice work so tirelessly to promote Charice?
I believed in her talent. After her stint on Little Big Star, she was suddenly left out and gone. That kind of talent is rare and should not be forgotten. Also, I wanted people all over the world to know that we exist and that we have great talents in our country.
The Face Off video was the one seen by Ten Songs Productions, a music publishing company in Sweden. Ten Songs contacted Charice and flew her to Stockholm to record seven songs for demos: I Will Always Love You, It Can Only Get Better, Born to Love You Forever, Amazing, Stay, All the Money in the World, and Running Up That Hill.
Charice recorded several songs of different genres so Ten Songs would know how versatile her voice was. The plan, I think, was for Ten Songs to look for a record label who could help Charice land a record deal.
The first three songs listed above are featured on Charice’s debut album, Charice, which was produced by Star Records, the recording outfit of ABS-CBN, the largest television network in the Philippines.
Here is an impressive music video Charice made in conjunction with her Swedish recordings.
IT CAN ONLY GET BETTER
And here are rare audio highlights from all seven songs that Charice recorded in Sweden, courtesy of FalseVoice.
Four of the songs Charice recorded—It Can Only Get Better, All the Money in the World, Born to Love You Forever, and Amazing—were written by the producers who invited her to Sweden. The first three songs were recorded by other artists: It Can Only Get Better and All the Money in the World were sung by a Swedish teen singer named Amy Diamond who is 25 days older than Charice, and Born to Love You Forever was sung by The Preluders, an all-girl band from Germany. These Swedish producers wrote Amazing especially for Charice and gave it to her as a gift for coming to Sweden.
Right after she got back from Sweden in June 2007, Charice contacted me through YouTube to thank me. We started chatting and became friends. I told her that I was going to help her so she would be continuously noticed by the world. Eventually, I asked her to record a video of her singing And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going, which she did.
AND I AM TELLING YOU I’M NOT GOING
I only asked her to sing And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going, but since I also sent her the backing track of Listen, she sang it as well.
The And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going “pajamas” video is the one that tipped over the next domino, the one that would elevate Charice from YouTube phenom into an international singing sensation.
The video became a huge hit on UCC, Korea’s version of YouTube, which led to an invitation for Charice to perform on Star King, a South Korean talent show, on October 13, 2007. It was a performance for the ages. Her electrifying performance took our breath away, captured our hearts, and covered us in goose bumps.
AND I AM TELLING YOU I’M NOT GOING
Charice’s career was back on track. And she made a point in future interviews to give credit where credit was due. “I owe everything to FalseVoice,” she later said. “Because of FalseVoice, I was invited to Sweden to do a recording there. And it’s also because of him that I got invited to the Star King talent show in Korea. Because of FalseVoice, I gained back my confidence in singing.”
After returning to the Philippines from Korea, Charice texted FalseVoice, saying “Kuya, I’d like to meet you.” (In the Filipino dialect of Tagalog, “kuya” means “older brother.”)
We finally decided to meet up in a mall on a Saturday afternoon in November. That night, Charice’s mother let me sleep over at their house because it was already late and I lived two hours away.
As Charice recalled during her October 6, 2008 appearance on Boy and Kris, a daily Philippine morning show, meeting FalseVoice in the Target Mall in Santa Rosa in the province of Laguna was a shock. “I didn’t recognize him right away because I expected him to be small and scrawny,” Charice said, laughing. “We were shy around each other.”
The morning after their first meeting, Dave recorded Charice singing a number of songs. Here are three of them. Let’s start with a soulful rendition of a Sammy Davis, Jr. 1962 hit.
WHAT KIND OF FOOL AM I
Here is a power ballad written and performed by Eric Carmen in 1975.
ALL BY MYSELF
YOU’LL NEVER WALK ALONE
That October 6, 2008 Boy and Kris program also includes FalseVoice’s first, and probably last, live TV interview. He had accompanied Charice to the set, never expecting to join her in front of the camera. But when a crew member asked if he was FalseVoice, his cover was blown.
I’ve turned down lots of TV interview requests because I like to keep in the background and not call attention to myself. So I told them I wasn’t interested in being interviewed.
After being asked repeatedly to come on stage with Charice, FalseVoice reluctantly agreed, asking only that he be allowed to keep his sunglasses on. Of course, the first thing Kris asked him on the show was to take his sunglasses off. Don’t expect to see FalseVoice in any more interviews any time soon! Here is that interview, which starts at 4:25 on the following video, after Charice’s performance of Try It On My Own.
After FalseVoice and others posted Charice’s jaw-dropping Star King performance on YouTube, it caught the attention of Ellen DeGeneres, who publicly invited Charice to come on her show during this November 28, 2007 broadcast.
ELLEN PUBLICLY INVITES CHARICE
Ellen’s representatives then contacted FalseVoice through his YouTube channel. After FalseVoice passed along the request to Charice’s attorney (see FalseVoice’s quote below), Ellen personally called Charice at home in the Philippines to invite her to come on her show. Charice’s star-making appearance on the December 19, 2007 episode of Ellen was her first visit to the United States. It would certainly not be her last.
CHARICE ON ELLEN
Charice was deeply touched by the audience reaction on Ellen.
Charice cried on Ellen because even though she had been singing in the Philippines for quite some time, she had never received a standing ovation before. She was interviewed right after Ellen on the Filipino news. She was crying and said that she couldn’t believe that it would be the Americans who would first recognize her instead of her own countrymen. She was just so surprised.
When Charice returned home, she found that her life had changed virtually overnight.
As soon as Charice got back to the Philippines after her Star King and Ellen guestings, she became an instant celebrity and did several guestings on different TV shows on the ABS-CBN network, becoming one of the most sought-after young singers in the country.
Life became a whirlwind for Charice. Following her first appearance on Oprah, which was taped in Chicago on April 3, 2008 (and later aired on May 12), she took a trip across the pond.
From Chicago, she flew directly to London for The Paul O’Grady Show. She received the first standing ovation in the show’s history. She was just blown away. When you watch the video, after she performs, you can see the surprised look on her face at the standing ovation after her first song. She should be used to it by now.
FalseVoice’s videos of Charice opened up all sorts of opportunities for her. His video of Charice singing You’ll Never Walk Alone on the February 2, 2008 edition of Wowowee, a Philippine noontime variety and game show, caught the attention of Feyenoord Rotterdam, a football (soccer) club in the Netherlands.
You’ll Never Walk Alone is the theme song for their football team, and they were blown away by her rendition because it’s never been sung that way before. So they invited her to sing at the club’s 100th anniversary for more than 50,000 football fans.
Here is that September 6, 2008 performance in the Netherlands.
YOU’LL NEVER WALK ALONE
FalseVoice did far more for Charice than simply post her videos on YouTube. He helped assemble the team of professionals who would assist Charcie in managing the demands and the details of stardom.
Ed Shapiro, a U.S. entertainment lawyer for many big stars, contacted me in mid-November 2007. After a few days, we all agreed that he and his company, Grubman, Indursky & Shire in New York City, would represent Charice. A few days later, I received an email from the Ellen show saying that they were interested in having Charice as a guest. I forwarded the email to Ed since I know nothing about the business.
When Shapiro asked FalseVoice if he could recommend a good immigration lawyer to speed up Charice’s visa application, FalseVoice recommended Michael Gurfinkel, who discusses immigration issues on the TV show, Citizen Pinoy, which airs every Sunday on The Filipino Channel (TFC). (Click here to watch Gurfinkel’s interview with Charice’s family.) Shapiro and Gurfinkel continue to work with Charice to this day.
It was actually surreal exchanging correspondence with these people—producers from Oprah’s show, Ellen’s show, Paul O’Grady’s show. Before all this, I had just been exchanging emails with friends, and here I was getting lots of emails from all of these important people because I was the one who was forwarding Charice’s videos and pictures and anything else they needed for the show. But more importantly, I did the backing tracks that Charice used for the shows.
The year 2008 did not get off to a great start for FalseVoice.
After Charice’s appearance on Ellen, she became a household name in the Philippines. Soon after, on January 4, 2008, my YouTube channel, which had generated over 5 million hits, was deleted, supposedly for copyright infringement.
FalseVoice wasted no time putting up another YouTube channel, FalseVoice2. Here is the first video he posted, which features clips of Charice thanking him for his help. At the end of the video, FalseVoice vows to continue to provide Charice the international exposure she deserves.
Incredibly, FalseVoice’s second channel, which garnered about 2 million hits, was itself deleted in May 2008.
FalseVoice is proof positive that you can’t keep a good man down. He started up a third channel, which has generated 2.5 million hits and counting. All told, he’s posted at least a hundred Charice videos and has no intention of slowing down.
Thanks to FalseVoice’s behind-the-scenes assistance, Charice’s rise has been meteoric.
I just want to add that Charice’s success is certainly not only because of me, but also because of the hundreds of YouTubers who uploaded Charice’s videos, and most importantly all the people around the world who watched them and became fans.
In early December, uber-producer David Foster saw Charice’s Star King performance on YouTube after his sister, Jaymes, and friend, Perry, at Warner Brothers Records both e-mailed him the video within ten minutes of each other. He was so impressed he tracked down the law firm representing Charice, called Ed Shapiro and asked to hear Charice sing in person. Foster also told Shapiro that he would like to take Charice to Celine Dion‘s final performance of her Las Vegas show, A New Day, which had enjoyed a run of nearly five years at Caesars Palace.
Later that month, Charice arrived in the United States for the very first time. (Watch her interview by reporter Joseph Pimentel after she landed on U.S. soil.) She had no idea that Foster was waiting to meet her or that he would be taking her to see Celine’s show. On Friday, December 14, 2007, Foster and Charice flew to Las Vegas on his private jet. On Saturday, Charice realized a dream by watching her idol perform live.
I cried when i watched Celine Dion live, especially when she sang To Love You More because that was my winning piece when I was young.
Foster could not take Charice to Celine’s after-show party because she was a minor, and it would have been too hectic on the show’s closing night to take Charice backstage for a quick meet-and-greet with Ceilne. Charice’s first meeting with Celine would have to wait for another day.
Foster, by the way, was the producer for the original 1981 Broadway smash, Dreamgirls, which introduced Charice’s signature song, And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going. Here is David, who will be producing Charice’s debut U.S. album, accompanying her on September 9, 2008, Charice’s second appearance on Oprah.
MY HEART WILL GO ON
WIth David Foster and Oprah mentoring her, a high-powered team of professionals managing the details of her career, and her growing legion of loyal and passionate fans around the world, Charice is surrounded by so much love, prayers and wisdom that she can’t help but stay grounded and genuine even as success threatens to sweep her off her feet. FlaseVoice agrees:
I don’t think she will change. If she did, she would change for the better. I just saw her before Christmas (2008) and she is still the same Charice I’ve known for a while. No airs, still bubbly. She still acts like a child, in a good way.
A humorous note: As a tribute to David Foster, FalseVoice cleverly glossed himself David Poster. Or, to be more accurate, Dave Vid Poster. After all, FalseVoice’s real name is Dave and he posts videos of Charice. Well played, Dave!
I asked FalseVoice an impossible question: Which Charice performance is your favorite?
It’s hard to pick just one! So I’ll say, I Believe, And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going and One Moment In Time.
I then asked him what impresses him the most about Charice.
I think what sets Charice apart from other singers is that she sings with so much passion and soul. She has the ability to capture an audience and move them with her vocal prowess. Every time she performs, she sings like she’s telling a story, only with notes. She always sings like it was her last performance. She always gives it her all, regardless of whether she’s on a big stage or just a small one.
Charice reaches a wide range of audience—from toddlers to teens to middle-age fans to senior citizens.
She caters not only to girls but also to grown men. Funny, I receive a lot of messages from men saying that they are death metal fanatics but have high regard for Charice. Some say that they are hardcore music fans but when they hear Charice, they are surprised to find tears in their eyes. That’s how powerful her singing is—pure and emotional.
FInally, I asked FalseVoice how it feels to know that he’s played an instrumental role in Charice’s career.
Although I never in my wildest dreams expected to have such a profound impact on Charice’s career, I’m very happy that she is now getting the recognition she truly deserves. Of course, it’s very rewarding that people credit me for being the one who opened the doors for her. Being recognized for what I’ve done is really a great feeling.
Thank you, FalseVoice, for sharing your story and, more importantly, for sharing Charice with the world!
An even bigger thank you to FalseVoice for surprising me with the following video, which he shot in June 2009 while spending some time with Charice. Filming this was very kind and thoughtful of him, and I can assure you that it made my day!
As a bonus, here is a feature article on Charice in the March 22, 2009 edition of The Manila Times that quotes FalseVoice from this very blog post! The Manila Times is the oldest existing English-language newspaper in the Philippines.
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.
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