I was honored to be interviewed on May 21, 2010 on Charice Fan Talk, a blogtalkradio show for Charicemania.com. The hosts, DJ Drake and Eve Marie, were friendly and easy to talk to and we had a great time!
Click on the audio player below to listen to the slightly abridged 50-minute show:
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Charice, here is her current smash hit, Pyramid:
CHARICE: THE LEGEND GROWS
Six seconds. That’s how long it took for a pint-size Pinay in pigtails to stride confidently on stage in a South Korean talent show in the fall of 2007, belt out the words, “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going,” and blow our collective socks off.
It was a performance for the ages. Charice might as well have been announcing to the world, “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Settling For Anything Less Than Superstardom.” Her electrifying performance took our breath away, captured our hearts, and covered us in goose bumps. By the final note, we instinctively knew that this fifteen-year-old girl’s prodigious talent was eclipsed only by her pure heart and joyous spirit.
Charice was more than a teenage girl that day, she was a force of nature. With joyous abandon, she threw herself into her performance, transcended her surroundings, and became a walking, talking celebration of the music of life itself. Transfixed, we felt ourselves transported to the kind of world we all pray for when we close our eyes and dare to dream. Yes, Charice had arrived, and the world, and our hearts, would never be the same.
Who is this teenager from the Philippines who brings such joy and hope to her ever-growing legion of fans around the globe? Where did she come from and how did she come to grace our lives?
Charmaine Clarice Relucio Pempengco was born on May 10, 1992, in the town of Cabuyao in the province of Laguna in the Philippines. She started singing at the age of four, shortly after her mother Raquel left Charice’s father after a domestic disturbance. Raquel worked sixteen-hour days in a factory to support Charice and her little brother, Carl, but always found time to help Charice prepare for the more than eighty local singing contests she entered over the years, beginning at age seven.
Charice’s first big break came on Little Big Star, a talent show loosely patterned after American Idol that premiered on Filipino television on Saturday, September 24, 2005. Thirteen-year-old Charice did not get off to an auspicious start: she was eliminated in the first round. Resigned to her early exit, she was thrilled to be invited back as a “wild card” contestant a few months later. She made the most of her second chance, placing first in every subsequent round. In the Grand Finals, she finished third, largely due to her low total of audience text votes.
Thinking her singing career was over, a discouraged Charice set her sights instead on becoming a nurse. Ironically, a nursing student with the online name FalseVoice stepped in and resurrected her career. The videos he posted on YouTube of her performances on Little Big Star and other shows received millions of hits and made Charice an Internet sensation. Thanks to FalseVoice’s intervention, Charice was invited to Sweden in June 2007 to record seven songs for Ten Songs Productions.
Then came Charice’s defining moment, the performance that would launch her career into orbit. After viewing FalseVoice’s videos, the producers of Star King, a South Korean talent show, invited her to their stage. On October 13, 2007. Charice emerged from the wings and blew the gates off with her first note, instantly establishing the richness and maturity of her voice. Charice didn’t just command the stage, she owned it. As one man in the audience commented immediately after her performance, “It’s like the stage isn’t big enough for her!”
Charice’s sheer force of personality transfixed the crowd—her mid-air mic toss and deft audience interaction effectively declared, not just to those in attendance but to the millions who would soon be YouTubing her performance 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.
This was the performance that catapulted Charice’s career into hyperspace. Our first glimpse of her on that stage 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.
So did David Foster, the legendary music producer who arranged a meeting with Charice after viewing her triumphant Star King appearance. David was a valuable mentor to Charice, and helped her realize a dream by taking her to see her idol, Celine Dion, performing live in Las Vegas on December 15, 2007. However, Foster could not take Charice to the after-show party because she was a minor, and it would have been too hectic to take her backstage for a quick meet-and-greet with Celine. Charice’s first meeting with Celine would have to wait for another day.
What was Charice doing in the United States? She and her beloved mom had hopped on a place after Charice received a personal phone call from Ellen DeGeneres inviting her to be on her show. On December 19, 2007, Ellen introduced her to live American audiences by saying, “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.’ Her name is Charice Pempengco and she is amazing.” Amazing she was. Charice received a standing ovation, which moved her to tearfully exclaim, ‘Oh my God, oh my God, thank you very much,” as the audience rewarded her with thunderous applause.
The snowball had started rolling, and there was no stopping it now. Thanks to David Foster’s recommendation, Charice was invited to perform on Oprah, the crown jewel of daytime TV. Oprah was so mesmerized by Charice’s blow-the-roof-off performance on her May 12, 2008 show (which was actually taped on April 3) that she personally met with Charice and Raquel afterward to pledge her support for Charice’s career. Oprah christened Charice The Most Talented Girl In The World and The Girl With The Voice.
Charice was also The Little Girl With The International Frequent Flier Miles. She and her mom flew directly from Chicago to London so Charice could guest star on The Paul O’Grady Show, a very popular daily program in England. On April 8, 2008, Charice’s two songs on O’Grady’s show earned the first standing ovation in the program’s four-year history.
Charice’s star had gone supernova. She was not only performing regularly on Filipino TV shows, she was flying back and forth to the United States to sing in a variety of venues, from Los Angeles to New York to Connecticut. A highlight was her coming-out party at the spectacular one-night only concert of Hit Man: David Foster and Friends at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas on May 23, 2008. The concert also featured Andrea Bocelli, Michael Bublé, Josh Groban and Katharine McPhee.
Bocelli was so impressed by Charice that he made his way to her dressing room after the show to congratulate her. Honored by the visit, Charice confessed that it was a dream of hers to sing with him. Two months later, that dream came true, as Charice flew to Italy to sing a stirring duet with Bocelli at his birthday concert in Tuscany on July 20, 2008.
Next up was the Netherlands. Thanks to FalseVoice’s relentless promotion of Charice on YouTube, soccer players from a Netherlands club called Feyenoord Rotterdam had watched a video of Charice’s rousing rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone on a Filipino TV show. Since that was the team’s theme song, Charice was invited to come sing it on September 6, 2008 in front of more than 50,000 soccer fans.
Two days later, Charice was once again on Oprah, this time as the featured guest. After Charice, accompanied by David Foster on the piano, sang My Heart Will Go On, the signature song of her childhood hero, Celine Dion, Oprah shocked Charice by introducing her to her idol via a live video feed. Charice’s brief encounter with Celine speaks volumes about why Charice is so beloved by her fans. It is a sweet, genuine, and exquisitely tender and touching moment that reveals and revels in her childlike innocence and the beauty and authenticity of her spirit. When Celine invited Charice to sing a duet with her during her Madison Square Garden concert the following week, Charice burst into tears, overwhelmed that her greatest dream was unfolding right in front of her.
Charice’s concert with Celine is destined to be the stuff of legend. The atmosphere was electric as Charice joined Celine on stage to dedicate the song, Because You Loved Me, to her devoted mother, Raquel. Three days later, on September 18, 2008, Oprah recapped Charice’s appearances on her show and showed highlights from Charice and Celine’s duet. After their song, Celine asked Charice if she would invite her to perform at Charice’s first concert at Madison Square Garden. Imagine your wildest dream fulfilled in all its glory, and you may have the slightest of inklings what that night meant to Charice.
The remainder of 2008 saw Charice adding to her burgeoning fan base with numerous performances in both the Philippines and the United States. On November 18, she brought down the house on Good Morning America, accompanied once again by her mentor, David Foster. Nine days later, she sang on a float during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Charice was thrilled to usher in 2009 by performing at three events in Washington D.C. in the days leading up to President Barack Obama’s inauguration. One of the week’s many highlights was Charice performing an encore of God Bless America during a one-on-one encounter with Obama’s sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, at the Pearl Presidential Inaugural Gala held at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Maya, who held Charice’s hand while she sang, was reduced to tears by the power of Charice’s voice and her heartfelt performance.
Now a bona fide international star, Charice, who is affectionately called Ming by those who love her, remains humble and grounded, thanks to her family, her friends, and the caring, dedicated team of professionals in her corner who are guiding and supporting her career. Millions of fans all over the world now sing her praises, but ultimately, it is not Charice’s voice that matters so much, it is how her jubilant spirit touches us, lifts us up, makes us believe in not only her goodness but our own. That is why this diminutive, unassuming teenage girl from the Philippines is a hero to so many. Charice’s mere presence in this world blesses us, makes us strong, and rekindles our hope for a brighter tomorrow.
Click here to view all my posts about Charice.
ABOUT PHIL BOLSTA
If you feel more stressed than blessed . . . if you have more confusion than clarity about how to live your beliefs . . . if you long to live a richer, happier, more meaningful life . . . you will find a wealth of insight and guidance in Through God’s Eyes: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Troubled World.
Through God’s Eyes is a road map for living a more peaceful, beautiful life. It’s the only book that explains how dozens of spiritual principles interact, how to weave them together into a cohesive worldview, and how to practically apply this spiritual wisdom to daily life.
Readers everywhere are discovering that when you challenge yourself to look through God’s eyes, the world around you changes, and so do you.
Who will benefit from reading Through God’s Eyes?
Anyone who is on a spiritual path, or wants to be.
Anyone who loves life, or wants to learn how to.
Anyone who is happy, or wants to be happier.
Click here to visit the Through God’s Eyes website.
Click on the link below to download a FREE 28-page chapter!
SEE EVERY MOMENT AS A GIFT
Click here to read endorsements from authors and thought leaders.
Click here to read unsolicited testimonials from readers.
Click here to ask Phil to add you to his e-mail list for updates on his blog and books.
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
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’s eBook, The Logic of Living a Spiritual Life: Supporting a Life of Faith Through Logic and Reason, is now available for 99 cents.
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?
• How do you reconcile the “free will vs. Divine Will” conundrum?
• 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.
Phil is also the author of Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything, a collection of 45 inspiring, life-changing stories from prominent authors and thought leaders he interviewed. The roster of storytellers includes Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, Neale Donald Walsch, Caroline Myss, Larry Dossey, Rachel Naomi Remen, Bernie Siegel, Dean Ornish, and Christiane Northrup. Sixty Seconds has been translated into four languages: Italian, German, Spanish, and Portuguese. 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 order Sixty Seconds.
Learn more by visiting the official Sixty Seconds website.
Click here to read unsolicited testimonials from readers.
Here is a three-minute video introduction to Sixty Seconds.