Charmaine Clarice Relucio Pempengco (born May 10, 1992 in Laguna, Philippines), nickname Charice, is the latest singing sensation to come out of the Philippines. Charice started singing at the age of 4. Her talent was discovered by her mother, Raquel, who was also the lead vocalist in a band in her younger days. Her mother became her vocal coach and so began her training.
"CHARICE! Remember the name!" was the statement made onstage by David "the Hit Man" Foster (multi-award winning songwriter) on his birthday tribute held in Mandalay Bay Resort, in Las Vegas last May 2008, wherein Charice received the first ever standing ovation given to an entertainer in that venue, from an audience of 10,000.
At the age of 7, Charice began to join local singing competitions, winning most of them, eventually graduating into nationwide and syndicated television shows, competing nationally. It wasn’t until 2005 when she was 13 and competed in the show "Little Big Star" (a show which can be likened to the "Idol" franchise, in which the participants get voted in or out by text votes) that she really started to garner attention and build her own so-called fanbase.
One of Charice’s fans, later known as FalseVoice, made a video of one of her performances from the show pitting it against the performance of another well-known young singer, Bianca Ryan ( the 11 year old winner of America’s Got Talent) and posted it on YouTube.
That video received thousands of views and got the attention of Ten Songs Production in Sweden who invited Charice to fly to Stockholm in June 2007 to record seven songs. The same video brought Charice to the attention of one of the most popular TV Shows in Korea, "Star King", another talent show for children.
In October 2007, Charice was invited to appear on the Star King show in Korea, where she performed the songs "And I Am Telling You" (soundtrack from the movie "Dreamgirls", sung by Jennifer Hudson). A Korean viewer made a video of Charice’s now famous performance and posted it on UCC, a video hosting website in Korea equivalent to YouTube. It became a huge hit. Several copies of the video of her performance on Star King appeared on YouTube and garnered over a million hits todate (and still counting!). Charice was also voted by the show’s judges as the Best Performer for that show. She also performed a duet with one of the Super Junior singers, singing "A Whole New World" (from the movie "Aladdin". She was later invited back by Star King to once again perform on the show, as she was the Most Requested Foreign Act. Charice spent Christmas Day 2007, in Korea, performing Gloria Gaynor’s "I Will Survive", and performing a duet with Korea’s Lena Park, singing "I Will Always Love You" made famous by Whitney Houston.
Around that time several videos of her performances were popping up like popcorn on YouTube, gaining worldwide viewership totalling in the millions, until eventually she was discovered by the US talk show host, Ellen Degeneres.
On 19 December 2007, she appeared on the show Ellen, where she once again performed the songs "And I Am Telling You" and "I Will Always Love You". She received standing ovations for both performances. It was an emotional moment for Charice as it marked the beginning of her journey to international stardom.
Her performance on Ellen turned Charice into an instant celebrity in her native country and she became the most celebrated performer and sought after artist nationwide. She also garnered more international attention as a result of her guest appearance on Ellen.
The UK’s Paul O’Grady show invited Charice in April 2008 to perform on the show. By special request from the show’s host, Charice performed the same songs she performed on Ellen. Once again, Charice received a standing ovation for each of her performances.
Paul O’Grady was not the only TV personality who took notice of Charice’s singing prowess. Around the same time, David Foster, who also saw her performance on Ellen, contacted Oprah about Charice.
At the time Oprah’s show was planning a special episode focusing on children with special talents. It was a big break for Charice as she was invited to be part of Oprah’s show as one of the kids with special talent. And that she has!!!
In May 2008, Charice appeared on Oprah and she performed the song "I Have Nothing", another song made famous by Whitney Houston. Charice wowed the audience and once again, she received a well-deserved standing ovation! Her performance was explosive!
Between Oprah and David Foster, it was arranged that Charice will be part of David Foster’s birthday tribute concert entitled "David Foster & Friends, held at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas, which was also held in May 2008. It was in that concert that Charice was introduced by David Foster as the next international singing sensation. Charice shared the stage with the likes of Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban, Michael Buble, Alicia Keys, Katharine McPhee and other international artists.
In July 2008, Charice flew to Tuscany, Italy, on the invitation of famous Italian tenor, Andrea Bocelli, who, after hearing Charice’s performance at David Foster’s concert in Las Vegas, wanted to sing a duet with Charice. The concert was held at the Teatro del Silencio in Lajatico, Italy and was attended by over 8,000 people. Charice performed the requested duet with Andrea Bocelli, singing "The Prayer", a song that has special meaning for both herself and the Maestro. Charice also performed solo, singing her now signature song "I Will Always Love You".
In September 2008, she was flown into The Netherlands to perform in front of an audience of over 50,000 football fans, celebrating Feyenoord’s Centennial Anniversary, titled "The Festival of the Century". Charice was requested to sing the team’s theme song "You’ll Never Walk Alone".
On 9 September 2008, she once again appeared on Oprah’s show as the featured guest for the episode "Dreams Come True". Oprah introduced Charice as the Most Talented Girl in World. The show focused on Charice’s amazing talent as well as the trials and tribulations of her young life. It also highlighted Charice’s childhood dreams, some of which have already come true! Charice also talked about her lifetime dream of singing a duet with her ultimate idol Celine Dion. They even showed Charice’s dream journal where she draws herself performing with her favourite artists.
On the Oprah show, she performed the very first song she ever learned — "My Heart Will Go On" (theme song from the movie "Titanic"). She was accompanied on the piano by David Foster himself, who was also a guest on the show, indicating a collaboration between himself and Oprah as regards Charice’s future in the entertainment world.
After Charice’s soul-touching rendition (which again gained her another standing ovation), she received a surprise from Oprah with the appearance of Celine Dion on satellite video. Celine Dion then invited Charice (on national television) to perform with her at her concert the following week at none other than Madison Square Garden, New York!
Charice was moved to tears as another one of her dreams comes true!
The following week, (15 September 2008) was another incredible milestone in Charice’s still very young international career. She was met by Celine Dion at Madison Square Garden on the day of the concert, went to rehearsals and then performed that night at Madison Square Garden. Celine also made a grand introduction of Charice, repeating that Charice is the Most Talented Girl in the World. She also said that Charice has "a voice that can literally blow the roof off Madison Square Garden! And she just might tonight!" The crowd of 18,000 roared from the moment Charice started making her way down to the audience and up to the stage to join Celine.
It was a hair-raising performance, with Celine graciously stepping aside to let Charice shine and get all the limelight, only stepping in every now and then, adding more dynamics to the song, "Because You Loved Me". On Celine’s suggestion Charice dedicated to her mother, who was also in the audience.
Although it was only meant to be a one-song performance, the crowd clamored for more. The roar from the crowd was deafening and Celine declared at the end of the song that the roof of Madison Square Garden blew off that night!
The write-ups that followed about the concert and the amazing performance of this 16 year old child prodigy is testament to the fact that Charice has definitely arrived into the international music scene! And she’s definitely one to watch out for!
Remember the name: CHARICE!
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