Asia's Songbird Regine Velasquez faced the entertainmentpress, including PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal), at thelaunching of her first album with Universal Records (UR) titled Low Key. Thelaunch was held on the 9th floor of Universal Tower in Quezon Avenuelast November 14.
Compared to her previous albums, Low Key has Regine singingmellow songs—all covers. Some of the tracks include Terri Gibbs's "Tell Me ThatYou Love Me," Don McLean's "And I Love You So," Rita Cooldige's "I'd RatherLeave While I'm In love," Katie Irving's "I Never Dreamed Someone Like YouCould Love Someone Like Me," Orsa Lia's "No Walls, No Ceilings, No Floors;" CatSteven's "How Can I Tell You," Dennis Lambert's "Of All the Things," DanFogelberg'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 morerestrained, a far cry from the usual belting that she does in most of heralbums.
"Yeah, that's why it's called Low Key, 'cause it's morerelaxed, more laid-back," she agrees. "Hindi naman talagang pinigil, ‘no, butthe songs are mellow din kasi, e. So, ang hirap namang magtititili ako na... It doesn'treally 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 veryfamiliar with. And most of these songs talaga are my favorites, the songs thatyou hear on the radio... Pag nag-iisip ka ng kantang favorite mo, parangkinakalimutan 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 albumagain, like her last album with Viva Records, Covers 2.
"Kasi uso na naman siya ngayon, e," she replies. "Hindipa ako nauubusan ng kantang ire-revive, e. I would really love to record namanan all-original album, kasi I haven't done that in a while.
"Yung panahon dinngayon, 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, Ihappen to like naman all the songs. It's an opportunity for me to dothis also kase these are the songs I used to listen to on the radio, and wishingthat 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 originalsongs. Anyway, kapag gumagawa naman ako ng pelikula, gumagawa rin ako ngsoundtrack. I'm able naman to do that, e. Like the theme songs, usuallyginagawa nang original. Kung hindi man yung theme song, may ginagawang kantaespecially just for the movie. So, nagagawa ko pa rin naman ‘yon," explains Regine.
Regine also reveals that she has songs in the albumdedicated to her parents, Gerry and Tessie Velasquez. For her father, Regine recorded DanFogelberg's "Leader of the Band" while she picked Billy Joel's "She's Always AWoman To Me" for her mom.
What about a song for her special someone, Ogie Alcasid?
"Actually, if you listen to the whole album, halatang inlove ako!" laughs Regine. "Halata talaga, kasi sabi nga ni Ms. Kathleen Dy ngUniversal, very emotional yung album. So ‘yon, yun lang ang maiko-comment kodiyan."
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 themusic video, Regine was paired with half-Brazilian, half-Japanese model AkihiroSato, 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 anice guy. I hope something happens to him. Gusto niyang mag-artista. Nag-aaralmanagalog. He's very handsome. And I really, really hope that something reallygood 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, medyonanginginig siya, pero game siya. Kasi nga, he's not naman from here. I thinkhe's been here for like six months lang, so hindi niya ako kilala. Naririnig naniya 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 ngapinapaalam. Nakikita na lang niya. Sabi niya [Regine makes a face], ‘A, may ganyanpala.' 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?' Parangkumota na raw ako. Pero ganun lang naman ‘yon."
She then added, "Pero siya bawal siyang makipag-kissingscene. Unfair, ano? Basta ‘yon. Yun ang rules and regulations!"
MAJOR FIGHT WITH OGIE. Ogie mentioned in a separate interview that he and Reginehad a major fight recently when he forgot about their fourth anniversary as acouple last November 11. Ogie was shooting scenes for the movie Desperadas 2 at the time. (CLICK here toread related story.)
"Siya ba ang nagsabi no'n? E, gago pala siya, e! Minuratalaga!" quips Regine when we asked about her reaction.
"Hindi ko naman inaway, bonggang-bonggang hindi ko langpinansin! Hindi, kasi usapan namin, anniversary namin, dinner. Akalain mo, nag-shooting!Inis na inis ako! Pero okay na ‘yon, nakabawi naman na siya nangbonggang-bongga. Binigyan niya ako ng cash!" she says in jest.
Was she supposed to prepare anything, like cooking a mealfor him?
"Yeah, pero nag-pancit pa rin kami!" Regine laughs. "Longlife, pancit... Hindi ako nagluto kasi na-depress na ako, nag-pancit na langkami... 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, mapupuntasa 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 chanceto sing his songs ‘cause he's got beautiful songs. And most of them arededicated to me!"
What happened to the movie that she was supposed to do withOgie?
"Hindi ko nga alam, e," says Regine. "Kasi hindi na kami nagtagpu-tagpo saschedule. Kasi nung time na puwede ako, siya naman yung hindi puwede. Nungpuwede na siya, gumawa na ako ng soap [Ako Si Kim Samsoon]. Hindi na kaminagkita-kita.
"But I talked to Boss Vic [del Rosario, Viva Films tophoncho], he still wants to do it. Hindi lang kasi nagtutugma yung schedulenamin ngayon, e. Next year, I'll have a lot of out-of-the-country shows, sohindi nagtatagpo. Pero maganda naman kasi he's [Ogie] now doing his own thing. He hasa 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 storyno'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 firstthanked the press and the people who supported Ako Si Kim Samsoon. The romantic-comedy series did very well at the ratings. In fact, itslast 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 thefat 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 KimSamsoon," says Regine.
And now, GMA-7 has given her another soap, Totoy Bato, a TVremake 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 timein 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'srole will still be on the comedy side.
"Comedy pa rin ako," she says. "I mean, romantic-comedy naaction, na may konting drama. Kasi parang tanggap na somehow ng mga tao nagano'n ako. Nakikita nila akong umiiyak, pero gusto nila na bumabawi ako nanakakatawa pa rin. So I think GMA doesn't wanna veer away from that genre nasomehow 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. Parangit's so out of my character. So, it's challenging." Obviously, Regine is justjoking.
Will regine also be doing action scenes in Totoy Bato, sinceRobin's past TV projects required all his leading ladies to do some stunts aswell?
"Right now, nagte-train ako," she reveals. "Twice a week,meron akong boxing. Kasi ina-anticipate ko na yung mga action scenes. Kasigusto nilang gumawa rin ako ng konting action. Ayoko naman na to be in asituation like that tapos wala man lang akong form. Kasi medyo lanky ako, e. Gustoko medyo believable naman ako.
"Now I'm training twice a week, and also to lose the poundsI gained from Kim Samsoon, from eating all the pastries. Bilang ako si KimSamsoon, nilunon ko lahat ng pagkain. Nagkakagulo pa sila sa braso ko ngayon!"
Mac Alejandre will direct Totoy Bato, which will starttaping January next year.
DIVAS 4 DIVAS. On December 6, Regine will join Kuh Ledesma, Zsa ZsaPadilla, and Pops Fernandez in a major concert at the Araneta Coliusem. Billedas Divas 4 Divas, four of the top female singers in the country will performtogether for the first time.
"Pinaghahandaan namin ‘to nang bonggang-bongga!" exclaimsRegine. "Siyempre, bago yung apat kami. Kami ni Kuh nagsama na kami, kami niPops nagsama na kami. Pero hindi ko pa nakasama si Zsa Zsa talaga sa isangconcert. So, exciting na kaming apat.
"Siyempre magulo ‘yon, kanya-kanyang ideasbilang 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 kunganu-ano ang gusto naming kantahin. Pero excited din kami to be on one stagetogether and to perform together. Siyempre kapag may performance, mayrehearsal, 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 schedulenamin."
Since the four of them are considered divas and the best inthe music industry, who does Regine thinks will shine?
"Each of us, we have our strengths, e," she answers. "Like ako, I'm more ofa balladeer. Si Kuh naman does soulful and ethnic songs, Zsa Zsa sings sultrysongs, and Pops is good with dance music. So, maganda yung mix."
Regine says they will have no guests in the concert. Sheadded, "Bawat isa will have one solo, but most of it will be production numbersor duet with ganito, trio, tapos quartet."
What about the billing?
"According to age!" she jokes. "Hindi, seniority: Kuh, ZsaZsa, Pops, and me. Hindi na issue ‘yon. We just wanna have fun. We're beyondthat."
UPDATE: Regine Velasquez's 15th studio album Low Key achieves Gold Award status with its sales ofover 12,500 units in less than a week since the release of the album.