Remember Michelle Ayalde of Meteor Garden OST fame?
Her song, which was popular in 2003, at the height of the F4 fever in the Philippines, had lyrics that go: Ang hanap ko / Ang yong pag-ibig / Magkasama nating damhin / Ang pag-ibig ko.
She warmly welcomed friends from the Philippines who came to see her launch her album Hipnotic in Malaysia.
The first stop was at her pre-launch party, held last Wednesday, July 13, at Soju Auto City, an upscale bar in Georgetown, Penang (four hours away by land or one hour via plane from Kuala Lumpur).
It was 11:45 PM, Michelle was on standby at Soju’s VIP room, when this writer, one other writer and two Star Magic staff members came to meet her.
Michelle instantly lit up upon seeing friends from the Philippines. She was wearing a printed white shirt as some sort of cover-up to her very sexy costume underneath.
It was quite a surprise to see her all-grown up years after she was first launched in Philippine showbiz via Star Magic Batch 10 in 2001.
Here, PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) lists ten things we discovered about Michelle in the few days we’ve seen her, on and off cam, in Malaysia.
1. She can sing Chinese songs.
Before signing up with Penang-based record label Worldwide Platinum Records, Michelle started as a performing artist for Soju, which has three branches in Kuala Lumpur and two outlets in Penang.
Most of the crowd in Soju are Chinese and they are often wowed when the Filipina singer croons some ballads in their native language.
Michelle gamely posed while waiting for her act at Soju, Auto City.
2. She gets nervous right before a show/event.
“Kinakabahan ako!” Michelle gushed.
She even asked this writer to touch her cold and sweating hands to prove how tense she felt an hour before the press launch of her Hipnotic album.
It was held at the Warner Music headquarters in Sunway, Malaysia last Friday, July 15.
At the lobby of Warner Music HQ, Michelle showed PEP a copy of her seven-track album, Hipnotic.
3. But she slays it on stage!
Witnessing her perform on stage, it was evident that the 30-year-old singer's nervousness was unnecessary.
Michelle performed "Hypnotic" at her after-party in Soju, Sunway, Malaysia.
4. Her songs have interesting contradictions.
Malaysia-based magazine Cleo’s June 2016 issue describes Michelle’s seven-track album as “mature, versatile, and effortlessly catchy.”
True enough, Hipnotic's carrier single is an upbeat R&B song titled "Hypnotic."
She also has a song titled "Love," which seems to be inspired by a Disney animated musical.
5. She opens doors of opportunities for fellow Filipinos.
Most people that Michelle closely works with at Worldwide Platinum Records are her family and friends.
6. She idolizes Regine Velasquez.
Growing up, Michelle’s number one musical influence is no less than Asia’s Songbird Regine Velasquez.
Michelle was all smiles as Malaysian-based photographers took her pictures at the presscon of her album, Hipnotic.
7. Michelle once considered her vocal trademark as a flaw.
Worldwide Platinum Records producers Paolo Banaga and Joshua Braganza encouraged Michelle to veer away from being a typical belter.
“Ayaw niya kapag nagka-crack ang boses niya. Kapag nagre-record kami sobrang ayaw niya yun. Gusto niya ulitin,” said Paolo.
“Pero sabi namin [ni Joshua], maganda 'yang karakter na ‘yan. Yun ang magse-set sa kanya na kapag narinig mo, ‘Uy, Michelle yung boses na ‘yan.'”
A shot of Michelle during her interview with Bandila at Taman Tasik Ampang Hilir park in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
9. She doesn't drink liquor at work.
After her pre-launch event at Soju, Auto City, Penang, Michelle did not take (not one sip!) of the Soju Bomb cocktail drinks that were served at the VIP area.
On August 12, Michelle will launch her Hipnotic album in Manila.