By Jeffrey O. Valisno, Sub-Editor

Fairy tale

Posted on November 16, 2012

Concert Silver Nov. 16, 8 p.m. Mall of Asia Arena, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City

CONSIDERING THE many well-scripted rises to fame -- and the falls that inevitably follows careers built on media hype -- it is not easy to find a success story as genuine as the tale of singer Regine Velasquez these days.

After 25 years in the entertainment industry, Ms. Velasquez’s success continues to serve as an inspiration to many budding singers hoping to make it big in the music scene.

As a way to thank everybody who helped her through the years, Ms. Velasquez will stage a special one-night concert celebrating her quarter century in the music business.

Dubbed Silver, the concert will be held at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City tonight.

Ms. Velasquez will be the first Filipino artist to stage a major solo concert at the 20,000-seat venue which opened last May with international pop superstar Lady Gaga’s two-night concert.

With stage direction of Rowell Santiago and musical direction by Ryan Cayabyab and Raul Mitra, the concert will have Janno Gibbs, Lani Misalucha and Ogie Alcasid as special guests.

Ms. Velasquez will perform her hits and all her favorite songs with the 60-piece Manila Symphony Orchestra.

Born in Tondo, Manila, on April 22, 1970, Ms. Velasquez is the first child of Teresita and Gerardo Velasquez.

It was said that Ms. Velasquez always loved music and even before she could read, she was singing along with the family. Her father signed her up for small local singing competitions. He helped train her voice by having her sing while standing neck-deep in the ocean. Her mother also helped by teaching her how to move on stage and interpret songs.

When she was nine, Ms. Velasquez and her family moved to Balagtas, Bulacan, where she studied at Balagtas Central School.

She later studied at St. Lawrence Academy, where she won Vocal Solo and Vocal Duet awards for her school at the annual BULPRISA (Bulacan Private School Association) competition.

At 14, Ms. Velasquez joined the senior division of Ang Bagong Kampeon (The New Champion), a nationally televised singing competition, hosted by Bert "Tawa" Marcelo and Pilita Corrales. She auditioned with the song "Saan Ako Nagkamali." She won each episode through eight straight weeks and became the show’s first grand champion.

She won a contract with OctoArts, recording the single "Love Me Again" as Chona Velasquez. It was singer Martin Nievera who suggested that she drop the name Chona and Ms. Velasquez started using the name Regine.

In 1987, Ms. Velasquez released her self-titled debut album under Viva Records. The album contained the chart-topping singles "Kung Maibabalik Ko Lang," "Isang Lahi" and "Urong Sulong."

The following year, Ms. Velasquez was scheduled to stage her first solo concert on her 18th birthday. But organizers had to scrap that plan after it was announced that The Jets were scheduled to hold a concert on that same day. In protest, Ms. Velasquez cut her hair short to the surprise of her fans.

Sporting the cropped hairdo, Ms. Velasquez went to Hong Kong to represent the Philippines in the Asia-Pacific Singing Contest where she stunned the judges with her renditions of "You’ll Never Walk Alone" from Carousel and "And I am Telling You (I’m Not Going) from the musical Dreamgirls.

It was after winning that contest when the media started calling Ms. Velasquez "Asia’s Songbird."

Now married to Mr. Alcasid and the mother of one-year-old Nate, Ms. Velasquez is busy working on three TV shows, including her newly launched morning cooking show Sarap Diva.

Tickets for Silver costs P5,280; P3,960; P3,170; P2,640; P800 and P370. Call SM Tickets at 470-2222 for more information.