Four years ago, Dave Dueñas, then a nursing student from the Philippines hit upon an idea: he would make a name for himself by posting a video on YouTube that would generate a lot of hits. The only problem – he didn’t know what to post.
The 24-year-old noticed that one of the most viewed clips on the video-sharing site was 11-year-old Bianca Ryan’s audition for “America’s Got Talent”. He struck a Eureka moment – he would post a clip of a 13-year-old Filipino girl singing a version of Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” on “Little Big Star”, a local talent show similar to “American Idol”.
The world was about to be introduced to Charmaine Clarice Pempengco, better known as Charice.
The video didn’t take off overnight. Dueñas, whose YouTube handle is FalseVoice, needed to do some legwork in order to get it off the ground. He posted comments on other videos asking people to check out his clip. It took a little over a year but the video eventually generated over a million hits. Charice’s performance drew comparisons with Bianca Ryan’s video. This gave FalseVoice an idea – he would pit the two petite singers against each other in a video face-off. The rest is cyber history.
Little Voice, Big World
FalseVoice’s “Faceoff” video caught the attention of a producer from Artist Company Ten, a music publishing company in Sweden. They invited Charice to Stockholm to record seven songs for a demo. In October 2007, Charice sang on “StarKing”, a Korean talent show. She belted out “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” from the Dreamgirls soundtrack. The studio audience was floored.
FalseVoice posted Charice’s video online and her performance caught the attention of talk show host Ellen DeGeneres. The comedian and “American Idol” judge screened the video on her show on November 28 and threw an open invitation to Charice to come on her show. Three weeks later, Charice made her US television debut on the “Ellen DeGeneres Show” where she received her first of many, many standing ovations to come.
Her performance on Ellen’s show caught the attention of Oprah Winfrey, queen of US daytime television. Oprah invited Charice to appear on her show and was floored by Charice’s riveting rendition of Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing”.
She was so taken by Charice’s voice that she got in touch with renowned record producer David Foster. Foster recounted the moment during a 2008 concert in Las Vegas: “Oprah calls me. And when little O calls, you drop everything. She asks, would I mind having this girl sing on this show, my show, here tonight? It turns out little O knows best. And I couldn’t find a better future star to sing the music that’s such an important part of my musical past.”
The teenager’s rise to international stardom in the past three years has been nothing short of meteoric. Her single “Pyramid” hit the No. 1 spot on the US Billboard dance/club chart. A day after her 18th birthday in May, Charice released her self-titled debut album with a performance on “Oprah”.
Charice on Little Big Star:
When Ellen spotted her on
Watch a music video of her first single ‘Pyramid’ feat. Iyaz, here...
Charice’s first appearance
Charice on Oprah