On first glance, Charice (Pempengco) looks like any other teenager: pretty, petite, filled with energy and a wide and engaging smile. But when the sweet-faced 17-year old opens her mouth to sing – with a profound, rich and soaring 10 decibel voice from every inch of her 5 feet 1 inch body – the audience quite literally gasps. And as 13 million hits on YouTube tell us, that audience is growing at a staggering pace. As Oprah Winfrey said during a recent Charice performance on her show, “You are a force to be reckoned with. That voice comes from something bigger than yourself. You’re pulling it up out of some place deeper than your little body.” Producer David Foster concurred and instantly signed Charice to his 143/Reprise Records.
Born and raised in the Philippines, Charice is no newcomer to the stage. Her talent was discovered at age 4 when her mother, a singer herself, noticed her daughter’s loud, rather enthusiastic version of “Happy Birthday” and decided to teach her proper vocal technique. By age 7, Charice was competing in local contests and belting out songs by Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and Celine Dion.
In 2007, a web-savvy fan began posting a series of Charice’s performances on YouTube. These included her performances of “I Will Always Love You” and “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going” from the “Dreamgirls” soundtrack – both of which were broadcast on the Filipino talent show Little Big Star. That led to a performance on the popular South Korean talent show Star King. Once that appeared on YouTube, she became an authentic internet sensation. Charice soon attracted the attention of American TV shows and appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. Several months later, she appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show bringing Oprah and the audience to tears when she sang.
Enter 15-time Grammy winning producer David Foster who invited Charice to perform on his David Foster and Friends PBS Show at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas alongside such star studded names as Michael Bublé, Celine Dion, Andrea Bocelli, Katharine McPhee and Josh Groban. When the David Foster and Friends show returned to the Mandalay Bay this spring, Charice received no less than six standing ovations. In between the two Vegas appearances, Charice went on to perform with Andrea Bocelli (“The Prayer”) in Tuscany and Celine Dion at her Madison Square Garden show in New York City. “It was a dream come true. She’s my idol. I felt like the luckiest kid in the world,” confessed Charice in People Magazine on her experience performing on Celine Dion’s stage.
Charice also made two subsequent appearances on Oprah Winfrey. Her most recent one included a heart stopping song by multi-Grammy winning songwriter Diane Warren which became an instant Top 10 hit on iTunes. Charice also has a featured role in the new “Alvin and the Chipmunks” movie.
Currently recording her debut CD in Los Angeles which is scheduled for a late fall release, Charice is also joining the David Foster & Friends national tour which begins in Chicago on October 21st. Next stop for Charice? “I want to sing AND dance with Justin Timberlake,” she laughed. Her 13 million fans would certainly look forward to seeing that.
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