It’s been a long journey for Filipina teen Charice Pempengco. She’s gone from being the 2nd runner-up of Little Big Star in the Philippines to being Oprah’s favorite most talented kid in the world.
Filipinos around the world and viewers of Korea’s Star King already knew of the young Charice’s powerful voice, but it wasn’t until Ellen DeGeneres flew her from the Philippines to Los Angeles that her star really began to shine.
Uploads of Charice belting out the songs of Whitney Houston and Celine Dion began drawing hundreds of thousands of viewers, but it was her performance of “And I Am Telling You” on the Korean variety show that first drew Ellen’s attention. The performance, which rivaled and many considered topped Jennifer Hudson’s Academy Award winning performance in Dreamgirls, drew millions of hits and ultimately a personal invitation from Ellen.
Months later, Oprah took notice and using her endless connections in the industry, eventually got Charice working with legendary music producer David Foster and the young Filipina sharing the stage with music royalty Andrea Bocelli and her dream duet with Celine Dion.
After releasing two albums in the Philippines, Charice is ready to make her international debut with her self-titled album released this week.
Twelve original tracks, her first album with all originals, showcase her powerful vocals while also showcasing her versatility in different genres.
Charice is a very radio friendly mix of pop and R&B tracks with a few upbeat, dance tracks that are able to rise above the plethora of similarly produced songs on the radio today on the strength of her vocals. Though this isn’t groundbreaking music, Charice gets the upper hand on other current young singers with her huge range.
After being discovered singing the power ballads of Whitney and Celine, the album lets Charice show her versatility by singing the uptempo pop/R&B tracks alongside those ballads.
Charice has shown off her dance moves singing songs from Michael Jackson and even the Justins Timberlake and Beiber, suggesting Charice has always been meant for more than power belting.
The tracks are thankfully not overproduced, allowing for Charice’s vocals to take center stage. The lead single “Pyramid” featuring Iyaz is a fine introduction to the American pop scene.
But the album features even more standout tracks that include the Ryan Tedder-penned “Did It For You,” “Nobody’s Singing To Me” written by Oscar-nominated Anne Preven, and “Reset” which includes a Tagalog-English/Taglish rap written by Charice herself.
The autobiographical ballad “In This Song,” co-written by Foster is a highlight as Charice’s emotions shine through her story of music being her family’s saving grace during their hardest times in the Philippines.
Overall, Charice is a great debut album for an amazing talent deserving of the many doors being opened to her. It easily announces Charice’s arrival onto the scene and presents the qualities that put her above most of the teen pop stars of today.