Asia's Songbird Regine Velasquez faced the entertainment press, including PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal), at the launching of her first album with Universal Records (UR) titled Low Key. The launch was held on the 9th floor of Universal Tower in Quezon Avenue last November 14.
Compared to her previous albums, Low Key has Regine singing mellow songs—all covers. Some of the tracks include Terri Gibbs's "Tell Me That You Love Me," Don McLean's "And I Love You So," Rita Cooldige's "I'd Rather Leave While I'm In love," Katie Irving's "I Never Dreamed Someone Like You Could Love Someone Like Me," Orsa Lia's "No Walls, No Ceilings, No Floors;" Cat Steven's "How Can I Tell You," Dennis Lambert's "Of All the Things," Dan Fogelberg's "Longer," Janis Japlin's "At Seventeen," Christopher Cross's "Never Be the Same," and the Beatles' "Strawberry Fields Forever."
Noticeably, Regine's rendition of the songs is more restrained, a far cry from the usual belting that she does in most of her albums.
"Yeah, that's why it's called Low Key, 'cause it's more relaxed, more laid-back," she agrees. "Hindi naman talagang pinigil, ‘no, but the songs are mellow din kasi, e. So, ang hirap namang magtititili ako na... It doesn't really call for it."
Who chose the tracks in the album?
"UR, of course, helped with the selection of the songs," says the Asia's Songbird. "Pero pinili ko talaga yung mga songs na I'm very familiar with. And most of these songs talaga are my favorites, the songs that you hear on the radio... Pag nag-iisip ka ng kantang favorite mo, parang kinakalimutan mo na. But when you hear it, you'll just say na parang, ‘Oo nga, alam ko ang kanta na ‘to.' And you sing along with it, di ba?"
PEP asked Regine why she decided to do an all-covers album again, like her last album with Viva Records, Covers 2.
"Kasi uso na naman siya ngayon, e," she replies. "Hindi pa ako nauubusan ng kantang ire-revive, e. I would really love to record naman an all-original album, kasi I haven't done that in a while.
"Yung panahon din ngayon, people like to hear something that they are already familiar with. So, sa akin, okay lang din naman to give our audience what they want. Plus, I happen to like naman all the songs. It's an opportunity for me to do this also kase these are the songs I used to listen to on the radio, and wishing that one day, I'll be able to have my own version. It has come true na.
"Pero like I said, I also would like to record original songs. Anyway, kapag gumagawa naman ako ng pelikula, gumagawa rin ako ng soundtrack. I'm able naman to do that, e. Like the theme songs, usually ginagawa nang original. Kung hindi man yung theme song, may ginagawang kanta especially just for the movie. So, nagagawa ko pa rin naman ‘yon," explains Regine.
Regine also reveals that she has songs in the album dedicated to her parents, Gerry and Tessie Velasquez. For her father, Regine recorded Dan Fogelberg's "Leader of the Band" while she picked Billy Joel's "She's Always A Woman To Me" for her mom.
What about a song for her special someone, Ogie Alcasid?
"Actually, if you listen to the whole album, halatang in love ako!" laughs Regine. "Halata talaga, kasi sabi nga ni Ms. Kathleen Dy ng Universal, very emotional yung album. So ‘yon, yun lang ang maiko-comment ko diyan."
REGINE'S NEW LEADING MAN. Before the start of the presscon proper, the music video of "Tell Me That You Love Me," Regine's first single in Low Key, was shown. In the music video, Regine was paired with half-Brazilian, half-Japanese model Akihiro Sato, who is one of the Top 10 Cosmopolitan bachelors this year.
What can she say about her leading man?
"Ang cute-cute niya," Regine says with a smile. "He's such a nice ‘boy.' No, he's such a nice guy. I hope something happens to him. Gusto niyang mag-artista. Nag-aaral managalog. He's very handsome. And I really, really hope that something really good will happen to him. Kasi he's only 25, and I think he's got potential.
"Pero ang cute niya, he's a gentleman. The whole time, medyo nanginginig siya, pero game siya. Kasi nga, he's not naman from here. I think he's been here for like six months lang, so hindi niya ako kilala. Naririnig na niya yung mga kuwento about me, ganun-ganun. So parang, ‘My God, I'm so honored.' Di lang niya alam, pinagsamantalahan ko na siya!" laughs Regine.
Regine also had some kissing scenes with Akihiro in their music video. Does Ogie knows about this?
"Sanay na siya, e," says Regine. "Hindi ko na nga pinapaalam. Nakikita na lang niya. Sabi niya [Regine makes a face], ‘A, may ganyan pala.' Parang yung movie namin ni Piolo [Pascual] yata, akala niya isa lang. Kasi normally sa last lang... Parang binibilang niya, ‘Ba't ang dami na?' Parang kumota na raw ako. Pero ganun lang naman ‘yon."
She then added, "Pero siya bawal siyang makipag-kissing scene. Unfair, ano? Basta ‘yon. Yun ang rules and regulations!"
MAJOR FIGHT WITH OGIE. Ogie mentioned in a separate interview that he and Regine had a major fight recently when he forgot about their fourth anniversary as a couple last November 11. Ogie was shooting scenes for the movie Desperadas 2 at the time. (CLICK here to read related story.)
"Siya ba ang nagsabi no'n? E, gago pala siya, e! Minura talaga!" quips Regine when we asked about her reaction.
"Hindi ko naman inaway, bonggang-bonggang hindi ko lang pinansin! Hindi, kasi usapan namin, anniversary namin, dinner. Akalain mo, nag-shooting! Inis na inis ako! Pero okay na ‘yon, nakabawi naman na siya nang bonggang-bongga. Binigyan niya ako ng cash!" she says in jest.
Was she supposed to prepare anything, like cooking a meal for him?
"Yeah, pero nag-pancit pa rin kami!" Regine laughs. "Long life, pancit... Hindi ako nagluto kasi na-depress na ako, nag-pancit na lang kami... Hindi naman, nakabawi din naman siya. At saka ano naman ako, uto-uto. Madali naman akong ma-uto. Yun kasing talent fee niya sa movie niya, mapupunta sa akin ‘yon!"
Does she have any plan of doing a "Regine Sings Alcasid" album?
"I really would like to do that," she says. "Sharon [Cuneta] did it, and he was so honored. It would be nice if mabigyan din ako ng chance to sing his songs ‘cause he's got beautiful songs. And most of them are dedicated to me!"
What happened to the movie that she was supposed to do with Ogie?
"Hindi ko nga alam, e," says Regine. "Kasi hindi na kami nagtagpu-tagpo sa schedule. Kasi nung time na puwede ako, siya naman yung hindi puwede. Nung puwede na siya, gumawa na ako ng soap [Ako Si Kim Samsoon]. Hindi na kami nagkita-kita.
"But I talked to Boss Vic [del Rosario, Viva Films top honcho], he still wants to do it. Hindi lang kasi nagtutugma yung schedule namin ngayon, e. Next year, I'll have a lot of out-of-the-country shows, so hindi nagtatagpo. Pero maganda naman kasi he's [Ogie] now doing his own thing. He has a movie [Desperadas 2] na girl siya, nakakatawa... Uy, may kissing scene din siya, ha! Sa lalake! Boy din! I'm excited for him.
"Hopefully magawa namin. Kasi maganda talaga yung story no'n, sobra! Ang cute-cute nung story no'n. 'Tsaka parang bagay talaga sa amin. Kasi romantic-comedy, e. But in the meantime, gagawa muna ako ng Totoy Bato. Ako yung ‘bato'!" jokes Regine about her next soap in GMA-7.
REGINE, THE TV STAR. Before talking about her new primetime series, Regine first thanked the press and the people who supported Ako Si Kim Samsoon. The romantic-comedy series did very well at the ratings. In fact, its last episode even topped the ratings game.
In Ako Si Kim Samsoon, Regine played an overweight single woman in her late 30s who fell in love with a younger man (Mark Anthony Fernandez).
"We didn't expect that it would be [a hit]. Siyempre comeback ko ‘yon, e, plus deglamorized ako, di ba? You know what's funny? When I'm in the fat suit, parang I'm so confident na magsayaw ng gano'n. Wala akong pakialam. Pero ‘pag wala, parang nahihiya ako. Sobrang thankful talaga ako sa Kim Samsoon," says Regine.
And now, GMA-7 has given her another soap, Totoy Bato, a TV remake of the Carlo J. Caparas novel. Totoy Bato was first made into a movie in 1977 and then a sequel followed in 1979, both starring Fernando Poe, Jr.
Regine will play the leading lady of Robin Padilla in Totoy Bato. This will be their third time to work together, but first time in a soap. They starred in the movies Kailangan Ko'y Ikaw (2000) and Till I Met You (2006).
Although Totoy Bato is primarily a dramatic series, Regine's role will still be on the comedy side.
"Comedy pa rin ako," she says. "I mean, romantic-comedy na action, na may konting drama. Kasi parang tanggap na somehow ng mga tao na gano'n ako. Nakikita nila akong umiiyak, pero gusto nila na bumabawi ako na nakakatawa pa rin. So I think GMA doesn't wanna veer away from that genre na somehow I am falling [into]."
Regine will play a singer in Totoy Bato, about which she says, "Parang mahirap nga kasi very... Parang I've never played a singer before. Parang it's so out of my character. So, it's challenging." Obviously, Regine is just joking.
Will regine also be doing action scenes in Totoy Bato, since Robin's past TV projects required all his leading ladies to do some stunts as well?
"Right now, nagte-train ako," she reveals. "Twice a week, meron akong boxing. Kasi ina-anticipate ko na yung mga action scenes. Kasi gusto nilang gumawa rin ako ng konting action. Ayoko naman na to be in a situation like that tapos wala man lang akong form. Kasi medyo lanky ako, e. Gusto ko medyo believable naman ako.
"Now I'm training twice a week, and also to lose the pounds I gained from Kim Samsoon, from eating all the pastries. Bilang ako si Kim Samsoon, nilunon ko lahat ng pagkain. Nagkakagulo pa sila sa braso ko ngayon!"
Mac Alejandre will direct Totoy Bato, which will start taping January next year.
DIVAS 4 DIVAS. On December 6, Regine will join Kuh Ledesma, Zsa Zsa Padilla, and Pops Fernandez in a major concert at the Araneta Coliusem. Billed as Divas 4 Divas, four of the top female singers in the country will perform together for the first time.
"Pinaghahandaan namin ‘to nang bonggang-bongga!" exclaims Regine. "Siyempre, bago yung apat kami. Kami ni Kuh nagsama na kami, kami ni Pops nagsama na kami. Pero hindi ko pa nakasama si Zsa Zsa talaga sa isang concert. So, exciting na kaming apat.
"Siyempre magulo ‘yon, kanya-kanyang ideas bilang iba-ibang personalities. Pero somehow we jive, e. So expect a really, really good show."
Who chose their repertoire?
"Kami lahat, ang gulo nga, e!" laughs Regine. "Kasi nga kung anu-ano ang gusto naming kantahin. Pero excited din kami to be on one stage together and to perform together. Siyempre kapag may performance, may rehearsal, may kung anu-ano. Excited kaming magsama-sama kaming apat.
"This has been Kuh's dream to do a concert like this. Matagal na namin ‘tong binabalak talaga. Hindi lang natutuloy dahil sa schedule namin."
Since the four of them are considered divas and the best in the music industry, who does Regine thinks will shine?
"Each of us, we have our strengths, e," she answers. "Like ako, I'm more of a balladeer. Si Kuh naman does soulful and ethnic songs, Zsa Zsa sings sultry songs, and Pops is good with dance music. So, maganda yung mix."
Regine says they will have no guests in the concert. She added, "Bawat isa will have one solo, but most of it will be production numbers or duet with ganito, trio, tapos quartet."
What about the billing?
"According to age!" she jokes. "Hindi, seniority: Kuh, Zsa
Zsa, Pops, and me. Hindi na issue ‘yon. We just wanna have fun. We're beyond
UPDATE: Regine Velasquez's 15th studio album Low Key achieves Gold Award status with its sales of over 12,500 units in less than a week since the release of the album.