Charmaine Clarice Relucio Pempengco (born May 10, 1992), better known as Charice
(a portmanteau of her first two names), is an international Filipina singer who
rose to popularity through YouTube.
She is reportedly recording her U.S. debut album in the first quarter of 2009.
It will be released under Warner Bros. Records and will be produced by her
mentor, David Foster.
Pempengco was born in San Pedro, Laguna, Philippines. She and her younger
brother, Carl, were raised single-handedly by their mother, Raquel, after they
left their father due to domestic violence when Charice was only three years
To help support the family, she began competing in amateur singing contests at
age seven, from town fiestas in their province of Laguna to several vocal
competitions on TV. She is said to have joined over 80 singing contests.
In 2005, Pempengco joined ABS-CBN's Little Big Star, a talent show in the
Philippines loosely patterned after American Idol. Eliminated after her first
performance, she was later called back as a wildcard contender and eventually
became a finalist. Although she was a consistent top scorer in the final rounds,
she only finished in third place.
Pempengco made minor appearances in local television shows and commercials, but
had essentially fallen off the radar after her stint at Little Big Star. It was
not until 2007 that Pempengco gained worldwide recognition after an avid fan
called 'FalseVoice' started posting videos of her onto YouTube. The videos
garnered millions of hits making Pempengco an internet phenomenon.
In June 2007, Pempengco was invited to do a demo-recording for Ten
Songs/Productions, a music publishing company in Stockholm, Sweden. She recorded
seven songs - one of which is an original song entitled "Amazing" - while the
other tracks are covers of various musical genres. Few of the songs that she
recorded in Sweden was eventually rerecorded in the Philippines for her
self-titled album, Charice.
Pempengco was invited to the South Korean talent show Star King after a video of
her performing the Dreamgirls anthem "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" became
a hit on a Korean video sharing website. On the October 13, 2007 edition of the
show, she performed "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" and "A Whole New World"
with Kyuhyun from Super Junior .
She flew to the United States for the first time after being personally invited
by Ellen Degeneres to perform on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Pempengco performed
two songs on the December 19, 2007 episode of the show - "I Will Always Love
You" and "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going".
After her appearance on Ellen, Pempengco made a second appearance on South
Korea's Star King as the "Most Requested Foreign Act." on the December 28
edition of the show. She performed Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" and had a
duet with singer Lena Park.
In 2008, her self-titled Philippine debut album Charice was released in May
2008. The mini album, consisting of six songs and six backing tracks, received
gold certification in the Philippines in October 2008.
Pempengco appeared on the May 12 edition of The Oprah Winfrey Show in an episode
entitled the "World's Smartest Kids", in which she performed Whitney Houston's
"I Have Nothing". It was through the recommendation of Oprah Winfrey that
legendary music producer David Foster took Pempengco under his wings.
She made her debut on the international concert stage on Foster's May 23 tribute
concert, Hitman: David Foster and Friends, at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino
in Las Vegas, Nevada. She performed a medley of songs from The Bodyguard as well
as her standard, "And I Am Telling You". One of the other performers at
the concert was Pempengco's idol, Andrea Bocelli. Bocelli subsequently expressed
interest in performing a duet with Pempengco. A CD/DVD of the concert, which
included Pempengco's Bodyguard medley, was released on November 11, 2008. The
show was aired several times on PBS starting in December 2008 under their Great
Pempengco was personally invited by Andrea Bocelli to be a guest on his birthday
concert "The Cinema Tribute," held on July 20 at the Teatro del Silenzio in his
hometown of Lajatico, Tuscany, Italy. Aside from her solo performances, she also
did a duet of the song "The Prayer" with the famous tenor in front of more than
Pempengco made a second appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show on the September 9
"Dreams Come True" episode, in which Oprah referred to her as "The Most Talented
Girl in the World." She sang Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" with David
Foster on piano, then Oprah went on to surprise her with an appearance by Celine
Dion via satellite, who invited her to sing a special duet at Madison Square
Garden as part of Dion's Taking Chances Tour.
She performed her promised duet with Celine Dion at Madison Square Garden in New
York City on September 15. They sang "Because You Loved Me," which was dedicated
to Pempengco's mother. The performance received rave reviews in The New York
Post and The New York Times. The duet was eventually featured on the September
19 episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show .
Pempengco would then perform at the October 11 Andre Agassi Grand Slam for
Children Benefit Concert at Wynn Las Vegas. It was at this event that she met
one of her musical influences, Mariah Carey.
In November, she appeared on Good Morning America with David Foster to promote
David Foster's album, "Hitman: David Foster and Friends". She performed The
Bodyguard medley and "I Will Survive." At the end of the month, she performed
"Because You Loved Me" on the Good Housekeeping Showboat float at the Macy's
Thanksgiving Day Parade.
In January 2009, Pempengco performed in Washington, DC at the Martin Luther King
Jr Realizing The Dream Gala at the Hyatt Regency Hotel and at the Pearl
Presidential Inaugural Gala at the Mandarin Hotel in Washington, DC.
In February, she performed at two post-Oscar award events, Oscar Night at Mr.
Chow's and Oprah's Oscar After Party. She debuted a new original song entitled
"Fingerprint", which was written by Robbie Nevil and produced by David Foster.
Pempengco was vocally trained by her mother and was said to have never received
any formal training. The New York Post once called her a vocal prodigy for being
able to sing 'big songs' even in her tender age.
David Foster once mentioned in his interviews that Pempengco has the capability
of mimicking others voices which he said, is a good characteristic of a better
singer. Also, Josh Groban said that Pempengco's voice is one of the most
beautiful voices he has heard in a long time.
Her voice is said to be in the mezzo-soprano vocal range, though her upper
register can also be categorized as a dramatic soprano. Her vocal power and tone
has always been compared to Whitney Houston, her vocal timbre and quality to
Celine Dion, her R&B influence to Mariah Carey, and her belting style to Regine
Velasquez. In many of her interviews, she has referred to these divas as her
To date, one of her highest belted notes is a G#5 in her live performance of
"One Moment In Time".
Under the guidance of her mentor, David Foster, Pempengco performed for many
charity events that included the Carousel of Hope Gala (October 2008), Rising
Stars Gala (October 2008), Harmony with David Foster & Friends Gala and Concert
(September 2008), and Friends of the Israel Defense Forces Gala (December 2008).
Pempengco also sponsors the education of seven children through World Vision
Awards and recognitions
3rd Honors - Little Big Star Big Division, Season 1, Philippines
Most Requested Foreign Act of 2007 - StarKing, South Korea
Most Memorable Moment of 2007 - The Ellen DeGeneres Show, USA
Pinoy World Class Talent - 20th Year Anniversary of the Music Museum, 2008,
Key To The City of Rotterdam - Mayor Ivo Opstelten, 2008, The Netherlands
Best New Female Recording Artist - Aliw Awards, 2008, Philippines
Newsmaker of the Year 2008 - Balitang America, Philippines
People of the Year 2008 - People Asia Magazine, Philippines
Plaque of Recognition - The Spirit of EDSA Foundation, 2009, Philippines
Special Citation Award - MYX Music Awards 2009, Philippines
National Newsmaker - Ateneo de Davao University TAO Award, 2009, Philippines
Notable television guestings
Star King – two appearances October 13, 2007 and December 28, 2007
The Ellen DeGeneres Show – December 19, 2007
The Paul O'Grady Show – April 8, 2008
The Oprah Winfrey Show – two appearances May 12, 2008 and September 9, 2008
Good Morning America – November 18, 2008
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade – November 27, 2008
Maalaala Mo Kaya: Ice Cream – story of Charice's life, July 26, 2008