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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 October 2018

Asia’s songbird Regine Velasquez is back in Dubai with Ogie Alcasid

Two of the Philippines's most popular singers, the couple Regine Velasquez and Ogie Alcasid, are returning to Dubai on Thursday.
The Filipino singing stars Ogie Alcasid and Regine Velasquez during their 2010 concert in Dubai. Charles Crowell for The National / February 5, 2010
The Filipino singing stars Ogie Alcasid and Regine Velasquez during their 2010 concert in Dubai. Charles Crowell for The National / February 5, 2010

Much has changed in Regine Velasquez’s life since her last Dubai performance in 2010. Back then, the Filipino singer, dubbed Asia’s Songbird, was accompanied by the singer and songwriter Ogie Alcasid.

Months after the show, Velasquez and Alcasid made their engagement public and got married. The engagement was hardly a surprise, given the amount of rumour and speculation surrounding them. It makes the duo’s appearance on March 27 at Emirates Golf Club their first concert in Dubai as a married couple. The pair are still passionate about music and performing on stage – and that excites Velasquez more than anything else.

“Singing and performing is a gift,” says Velasquez. “It is irreplaceable and our passion for it will never fade.”

Established stars

Velasquez is considered to be one of the Philippines’ most successful singers, with an extraordinary track record of album sales, hit singles and sold-out shows. Her imprint can be seen on today’s generation of young Filipino pop stars who are inspired by the tale of the provincial girl who made it big through talent and hard work.

Alcasid, on the other hand, started out as a singer before dabbling in songwriting. His flair for words and melodies has generated a number of hit songs – for himself and other singers. A self-confessed fan of both Filipino and foreign lyricists, the 46-year-old Alcasid has mentioned several times in the past his desire to be known more as a songwriter than a singer.

Velasquez names Hulog ng Langit and Sa Piling Mo as two of her favourite Alcasid compositions. The first was written for the couple’s son, Nate, while the latter was inspired by Velasquez.

She says they complement each other as artists – a fact that has been evident even before they became a couple – “We both love music and have the same sense of humour. Our friendship is probably the secret of our chemistry.”

Shifting priorities

Domestic life and motherhood have prompted Velasquez to slow down and reassess her priorities. Being a mum has provided her the opportunity to temporarily relinquish the spotlight and enjoy private life.

“Motherhood for me is my prime career,” says Velasquez, who gave birth to their child, Nathaniel, in November 2011. “Everything else is secondary to me now.”

Velasquez says she’s starting to master time management to accommodate both her career and motherhood. Since returning to the entertainment scene in 2012, she has embarked on a series of concerts as well as hosted and made guest appearances in television shows. Her last movie, Of All the Things, was also a success despite several delays, including Velasquez’s pregnancy.

Her latest album Hulog Ka Ng Langit captures her present state as a mother and wife. “The challenge, really, was to have a special, not-so-typical baby album. An album that can be appreciated by everyone – kids, parents, lovers and family,” she said last year. The record reaffirmed Velasquez’s status as a hitmaker, with the album debuting in Manila’s record bars at No 1 despite a minimal promotional campaign.

Back in the game

At 43, Velasquez is not contemplating walking away from a remarkable career that began in 1986. She feels that she’s in a new chapter and that her brief hiatus has allowed her to reinvent herself.

She credits her fans for their continuous support and says that part of giving back is through live performances – something that Velasquez hopes to do more in the coming years. She is particularly looking forward to performing again in Dubai with her husband. “Filipinos who live in Dubai always want to have a great time – and our last concert certainly had that vibe.”

• Regine Velasquez and Ogie Alcasid perform on March 27 at Emirates Golf Club, Emirates Hills in Dubai, doors open at 5pm, concert starts at 8pm

artslife@thenational.ae