Charmaine Clarice Relucio Pempengco (born May 10, 1992), better known as Charice (a portmanteau of her first two names), is an international Filipina singer who rose to popularity through YouTube.

She is reportedly recording her U.S. debut album in the first quarter of 2009. It will be released under Warner Bros. Records and will be produced by her mentor, David Foster.

Early life
Pempengco was born in San Pedro, Laguna, Philippines. She and her younger brother, Carl, were raised single-handedly by their mother, Raquel, after they left their father due to domestic violence when Charice was only three years old.

To help support the family, she began competing in amateur singing contests at age seven, from town fiestas in their province of Laguna to several vocal competitions on TV. She is said to have joined over 80 singing contests.

In 2005, Pempengco joined ABS-CBN's Little Big Star, a talent show in the Philippines loosely patterned after American Idol. Eliminated after her first performance, she was later called back as a wildcard contender and eventually became a finalist. Although she was a consistent top scorer in the final rounds, she only finished in third place.

Pempengco made minor appearances in local television shows and commercials, but had essentially fallen off the radar after her stint at Little Big Star. It was not until 2007 that Pempengco gained worldwide recognition after an avid fan called 'FalseVoice' started posting videos of her onto YouTube. The videos garnered millions of hits making Pempengco an internet phenomenon.

Career
In June 2007, Pempengco was invited to do a demo-recording for Ten Songs/Productions, a music publishing company in Stockholm, Sweden. She recorded seven songs - one of which is an original song entitled "Amazing" - while the other tracks are covers of various musical genres.[6] Few of the songs that she recorded in Sweden was eventually rerecorded in the Philippines for her self-titled album, Charice.

Pempengco was invited to the South Korean talent show Star King after a video of her performing the Dreamgirls anthem "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" became a hit on a Korean video sharing website. On the October 13, 2007 edition of the show, she performed "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" and "A Whole New World" with Kyuhyun from Super Junior .

She flew to the United States for the first time after being personally invited by Ellen Degeneres to perform on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Pempengco performed two songs on the December 19, 2007 episode of the show - "I Will Always Love You" and "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going".

After her appearance on Ellen, Pempengco made a second appearance on South Korea's Star King as the "Most Requested Foreign Act." on the December 28 edition of the show. She performed Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" and had a duet with singer Lena Park.

In 2008, her self-titled Philippine debut album Charice was released in May 2008. The mini album, consisting of six songs and six backing tracks, received gold certification in the Philippines in October 2008.

Pempengco appeared on the May 12 edition of The Oprah Winfrey Show in an episode entitled the "World's Smartest Kids", in which she performed Whitney Houston's "I Have Nothing". It was through the recommendation of Oprah Winfrey that legendary music producer David Foster took Pempengco under his wings.

She made her debut on the international concert stage on Foster's May 23 tribute concert, Hitman: David Foster and Friends, at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. She performed a medley of songs from The Bodyguard as well as her standard, "And I Am Telling You".  One of the other performers at the concert was Pempengco's idol, Andrea Bocelli. Bocelli subsequently expressed interest in performing a duet with Pempengco. A CD/DVD of the concert, which included Pempengco's Bodyguard medley, was released on November 11, 2008. The show was aired several times on PBS starting in December 2008 under their Great Performances banner.

Pempengco was personally invited by Andrea Bocelli to be a guest on his birthday concert "The Cinema Tribute," held on July 20 at the Teatro del Silenzio in his hometown of Lajatico, Tuscany, Italy. Aside from her solo performances, she also did a duet of the song "The Prayer" with the famous tenor in front of more than 8,000 people.

Pempengco made a second appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show on the September 9 "Dreams Come True" episode, in which Oprah referred to her as "The Most Talented Girl in the World." She sang Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" with David Foster on piano, then Oprah went on to surprise her with an appearance by Celine Dion via satellite, who invited her to sing a special duet at Madison Square Garden as part of Dion's Taking Chances Tour.

She performed her promised duet with Celine Dion at Madison Square Garden in New York City on September 15. They sang "Because You Loved Me," which was dedicated to Pempengco's mother. The performance received rave reviews in The New York Post and The New York Times. The duet was eventually featured on the September 19 episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show .

Pempengco would then perform at the October 11 Andre Agassi Grand Slam for Children Benefit Concert at Wynn Las Vegas. It was at this event that she met one of her musical influences, Mariah Carey.

In November, she appeared on Good Morning America with David Foster to promote David Foster's album, "Hitman: David Foster and Friends". She performed The Bodyguard medley and "I Will Survive." At the end of the month, she performed "Because You Loved Me" on the Good Housekeeping Showboat float at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

In January 2009, Pempengco performed in Washington, DC at the Martin Luther King Jr Realizing The Dream Gala at the Hyatt Regency Hotel and at the Pearl Presidential Inaugural Gala at the Mandarin Hotel in Washington, DC.

In February, she performed at two post-Oscar award events, Oscar Night at Mr. Chow's and Oprah's Oscar After Party. She debuted a new original song entitled "Fingerprint", which was written by Robbie Nevil and produced by David Foster.


Voice
Pempengco was vocally trained by her mother and was said to have never received any formal training. The New York Post once called her a vocal prodigy for being able to sing 'big songs' even in her tender age.

David Foster once mentioned in his interviews that Pempengco has the capability of mimicking others voices which he said, is a good characteristic of a better singer. Also, Josh Groban said that Pempengco's voice is one of the most beautiful voices he has heard in a long time.

Her voice is said to be in the mezzo-soprano vocal range, though her upper register can also be categorized as a dramatic soprano. Her vocal power and tone has always been compared to Whitney Houston, her vocal timbre and quality to Celine Dion, her R&B influence to Mariah Carey, and her belting style to Regine Velasquez. In many of her interviews, she has referred to these divas as her musical influences.

To date, one of her highest belted notes is a G#5 in her live performance of "One Moment In Time".

Charity
Under the guidance of her mentor, David Foster, Pempengco performed for many charity events that included the Carousel of Hope Gala (October 2008), Rising Stars Gala (October 2008), Harmony with David Foster & Friends Gala and Concert (September 2008), and Friends of the Israel Defense Forces Gala (December 2008).

Pempengco also sponsors the education of seven children through World Vision Philippines.


Awards and recognitions
3rd Honors - Little Big Star Big Division, Season 1, Philippines
Most Requested Foreign Act of 2007 - StarKing, South Korea
Most Memorable Moment of 2007 - The Ellen DeGeneres Show, USA
Pinoy World Class Talent - 20th Year Anniversary of the Music Museum, 2008, Philippines
Key To The City of Rotterdam - Mayor Ivo Opstelten, 2008, The Netherlands
Best New Female Recording Artist - Aliw Awards, 2008, Philippines
Newsmaker of the Year 2008 - Balitang America, Philippines
People of the Year 2008 - People Asia Magazine, Philippines
Plaque of Recognition - The Spirit of EDSA Foundation, 2009, Philippines
Special Citation Award - MYX Music Awards 2009, Philippines
National Newsmaker - Ateneo de Davao University TAO Award, 2009, Philippines

Filmography

Notable television guestings
Star King two appearances October 13, 2007 and December 28, 2007
The Ellen DeGeneres Show December 19, 2007
The Paul O'Grady Show April 8, 2008
The Oprah Winfrey Show two appearances May 12, 2008 and September 9, 2008
Good Morning America November 18, 2008
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade November 27, 2008

Acting
Maalaala Mo Kaya: Ice Cream story of Charice's life, July 26, 2008

 

 

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