Gretchen Barretto to launch CD of torch songs

Controversial actress Gretchen Barretto has metamorphosed into a singer as she recorded her first album under Star Records set to be released on Valentine's day. "I'm 37! It's hightime I do something I love! At para naman di nasayang ang taon, masabi namangdi ako puro iskandalo lang. May ginawa naman ako last year!" exclaims Gretchen.



The latest word is that Gretchen Barretto is now a torchsinger!

No less than Star Records is releasing a compact disc (CD)where Gretchen-until now known as a star, an actress, a model, a productendorser, and a fashion diva-metamorphoses into a singer.

The CD will have all of 12 songs, all of them "oldies," allof them speaking of love requited and unrequited, and all of them sung byGretchen herself. Appropriately, the CD, entitled Unexpected, will have a February 14 launch.

The 12 songs in the CD include: "Fly Me to The Moon,"written by Bart Howard and popularized by Frank Sinatra; "A House Is Not aHome," originally recorded by Dionne Warwick, and later by Barbra Streisand,who included it in her medley "One Less Bell to Answer"; "I Love You More ThanYou'll Ever Know," lyrics by Donna Hathaway.

"Moon River," made famous by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's; "Love Affair," asong from the Cary Grant movie "An Affair to Remember"; "Please Don't Ask Me" by John Farnham.

"I Will," written byPaul McCartney while in India, and sung by the Beatles; "More," a 1950s song madefamous by the Italian-American crooner Perry Como; "Unexpected," a lesser-knownsong from the play Song and Dance.

"All the Things You Are," composed in the 1930s by JeromeKern, written by Oscar Hammerstein; "Love Me For What I Am," a still popularCarpenters song with a refrain that goes: "You've got to love me for what I am/For simply being me/ Don't love me for what you intend or hoped that I wouldbe/ And if you're only using me to feed your fantasy/ You're really not inlove/ So let me go/ I must be free."

And for her only Tagalog song, Gretchen sings "Ikaw Lamang,"a touching song professing deep love, popularized by Zsa Zsa Padilla.

According to insiders, Gretchen produced Unexpected herself. Her hand iscertainly all over the packaging itself. For her shoot, she has the excellentAustralian photographer Darren Tieste, whose work she became acquainted withwhen he shot her for a YES! magazinecover in early 2007. For her makeup, she has the talented Patrick Rosas, herstylist and long-time friend.

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This is, of course, to be expected. Gretchen is known to be"OC," or obsessive-compulsive, about anything she spends her energies on.

GRETCHEN'S COVER TEXT.In fact, insiders say, Gretchen herself wrote the text that would go on the CD cover.

The whole text, according to an insider, reads:

"Today, I know the deepest level that I am. I am an incredibleWoman!

"I am bratty, sensitive, touchy, pouty, moody, fearless,reckless, careless, rageful, feisty, controlling, demanding, blunt, rough,outrageous, bitchy, daring, obsessive, tactless, vain, extravagant, flirty, atease, extremely lustful, ridiculous, a mistress, and a wondrous woman tomyself most of the time.

"But I am also loving, caring, affectionate, thoughtful,hardworking, organized, neat, hilarious, playful, fabulous, genuine,unforgettable, fascinating, captivating, fashionable, alluring, stunning, afriend, a listener, a model, a goddess, a celebrity, a singer, an actress, anaunt, a sister, a mother, a girlfriend, a role-playing wife, a baby.

"The greatest learning of my life is that it is fine by meto be despised for who I truly am than to be adored for who I really am not.

"I have learned to love myself and love others and need tobe loved in return.

"Love reigns!

"Love is the very reason I am living my life to the fullest,for loving overcomes the most fearful, unexplainable and unexpected."

GRETCHEN ON THE PHONE.PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) was intrigued by this new development inthe life of the star that show business has come to call La Greta.

Bettina Aspillaga of Backroom Inc., the talent managementcompany owned by Boy Abunda and which manages Gretchen, confirmed that the CDis done: "All the songs have been recorded. All that needs to be done is thepackaging, the cover layout, things like that. In fact, it will have a softlaunch on February 10 on [ABS-CBN'S Sunday noontime show] ASAP ‘08."

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Asked why the CD is entitled Unexpected, the unflappable Bettina says matter-of-factly: "Becauseit's unexpected of her to sing."

Bettina explains: "People don't know it, but si Gretchen hasbeen taking voice lessons for many years. Nearly every day, in her house, apianist comes. Kanta siya nang kanta. Kung minsan mag-isa, kung minsan withfriends." She adds with a laugh, "Iyon ang karaoke niya."

At 8:37 last night, PEP had Gretchen on the phone. We toldher that she seems to have a new career going here. Sounding in high spirits,she replied: "O, di ba? Baka akala niyo I'm not doing anything! O, ayan, mayalbum ako."

Giggling, she added: "Kailangan maging platinum ito, ha! Kaya di ako mamimigay. Kelanganbumili ka ng maraming kopya at gawin mong regalo! At pag naging successful ito,e di gawa ako ng second album! May career na ako!"

She said she thought of doing the album "back in September,October" last year and recorded it through the months of "November, December." Soundingplayful, she continued: "Di raw puwede mag-pelikula, di puwede mag-TV, naku anona lang... naisip ko, baka puwede mag-recording! Ok naman daw. I'm 37! It's hightime I do something I love! At para naman di nasayang ang taon, masabi namangdi ako puro iskandalo lang. May ginawa naman ako last year!" Then she laughed out loud.

Gretchen, who has always called a spade a spade, added: "I'mnot a singer. I'm not kidding myself. It's just fun. It's a feel-good thing. TheCD is about love, and it's just right for Valentine."

We told her the songs all seemed emotion-filled and camefrom another time. "I'm an old soul. I like old songs. When I sing these songs,I have to be in a certain state. I have to be in love. I want people to fall inlove. Who knows, maybe you'll fall in love when you listen to my songs. This isthe state of my emotions right now."

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"Fly Me to the Moon" for instance, she said, "is from the[1991] movie Once Around starringRichard Dreyfuss. It's about an old guy who fell for a young girl... Then ‘I LoveYou More Than You'll Ever Know,' well, sometimes you cannot put into words whatyou feel. Many things in your life happen that you cannot say in words. Butthere's music. You let the music speak for you."

Meantime, "Please Don't Ask Me" has lyrics that go, in part:"Please don't ask me what am I thinking/ It's about you/ Please don't ask me Inever can see you/ What can I do?/ My first impulse is to run to your side/ Myheart's not free and so I must hide..."

We asked her why that song in particular, and she replied:"Please don't ask me. Baka ma-carried away ako e kung ano ang masagot-sagot kona naman!"

Obviously referring to all the talk saying she and partnerTonyboy Cojuangco are currently headed for splitsville, she said: "Right now,as you can see, I'm quite wholesome. Quiet lang ako. Pakanta-kanta lang ng oldsongs. I'm not controversial. Kulang pa ang mga nagsasalita riyan." Then shefollowed up with peals of laughter.

She said Tony and their daughter Dominique have heard thealbum. A number of other friends have also already heard the songs. One of themtold PEP: "She's no Regine Velasquez. But she can be a torch singer. Her songssuit her."

Where Gretchen is concerned, we wager that once again she'sjust having the time of her life. We happened to ask if she had put on weightsince we last saw her. She said she was even thinner now and couldn't seem togain weight. Then she added, "I have to start to eat. I need to add threepounds. I can't look like a model! I have to look like a singer!"

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