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A Tribute to Broadway Singing Phenom Lea Salonga

Updated on March 10, 2013

"And if you really believe in your heart of hearts that you have the talent, go for it...

But you`ve got to make sure you really have the talent. I was watching that TV show, American Idol, and they were showing these auditions. The contestants think in their heart that they`re talented, and the judges would say, `You are appalling. You cannot sing.` And I painfully had to agree. But they really believe that they have something. You need a very objective person to say you`ve got talent." --- Lea Salonga

Filipino people are indeed fond of music, they dont just love it they enjoy it a lot with zest and with all of their heart and mind. Overseas Fillipino Workers (OFWs) will surely turn on their radios, mp3s, stereos and the likes to shrug-off homesickness and loneliness of working in foreign land, and when they do come back home don't be surprized that many of their gifts intended for their family, relatives and friends are music-inspired so as to speak. Music indeed seems to have rooted in every veins of Filipinos and expect many of them belt out their voice (pleasant to hear or not) singing their favorite songs in karaoke bars all over the country with the best of their abilities. For those who have spare money during celebration of different occasion like Birthdays, Wedding, Baptismal, Anniversaries and etc. also expect singing and even dancing to be part of the merrymaking.

With these affection generously given to music, it is not surprizing that a bunch of very talented singers from the Philippines had made their presence felt in the international singing stage. Lea Salonga, Appl D Apps of Blackeyed Peas, Journey's frontman Arnel Pineda, Asian singing champion Regine Velasquez, Oprah's favorite young singer and belter Charice Pempengco, Europe then sensation Billy Joe Crawford, recent world singing champion on his age bracket Ralph Salazar, and Josephine "Banig" Roberto who edge out Christina Aguilera in Star Search many years ago, all created stir in the world singing arena as they made their country proud by virtue of their exceptional performance of winning prestigious singing contest worldwide or mesmerize their audience with their spellbinding voices. This hub is a tribute to a very wonderful Filipina who brought home honors and cheers to her compatriots., that is, Lea Salonga who once captivated the world with her angelic voice and immense charisma...

Lea Salonga... the singing nightingale with a crystal clear voice will wow again her audience with her mesmerizing performance as Grizabela.
Lea Salonga... the singing nightingale with a crystal clear voice will wow again her audience with her mesmerizing performance as Grizabela.

Lea Salonga- Her baptismal of fire in singing started at the tender age of seven. She performed in the Musical The King and I by Repertory Philippines which serve as her debut as a very young professional in a musical. Since then her brilliance in singing was recognized as she performed in other productions like Annie, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, Fiddler on the Roof, The Rose Tattoo, The Sound Of Music, The Goodbye Girl, Paper Moon, The Fantasticks, and Flower Drum Song

Her profesional music career flourished further. At age of ten Lea recorded her first album, Small Voice, that help her clinched a Gold record in the Philippines. She rendered an opening number for Stevie Wonder during his 1998 concert which was held in Manila. Her string of victories seemed to be unstoppable, at age 13, she won an impressive three straight Aliw Awards for Best Child Performer from 1981 to 1983.

The year 1989 was indeed the year that helped Lea in her career as a professional singer. She was chose to play the lead role as Kim in the Musical Miss Saigon a break that catapulted the then young Filipina to world fame especially in the musical arena. During the audition with the composers of "Miss Saigon, "Lea Salonga rendered the heartwarming song  "On My Own" from "Les Miserables" by Boublil and Schönberg's. The panel that conducted the audition were swept off by their feet by the captivating rendition of the song made by Lea.

Lea Salonga was bestowed with the much-coveted Laurence Olivier Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Musical for the 1989-1990 season. Based earlier in London, Miss Saigon moved to Broadway in 1991. Lea Salonga's rise to stardom was cemented further as received the Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards for the role as Kim.

Lea Salonga played the lead role of Eponine in the popular Broadway production Les Misérables In 1993, then Lea flew to Los Angeles to sing her Oscar winning song "A Whole New World" (the song theme of Walt Disney's Aladdin, where Lea sing the voice of Princess Jasmine) at the 65th Annual Academy Awards. That year Lea launched her self-titled international debut album with Atlantic Records in her home country which netted 3 million copies sold worldwide, bulk of which comes from the Philippines.

Aside from singing the voice of Jasmine for Aladdin, Lea's Disney film credits includes Fa Mulan for Mulan (1998), as well as the voice of Mrs. Kusakabe (Satsuki and Mei's mother) in Walt Disney's 2005 Hayao Miyazaki's My Neighbor Totoro. Lea is set to play the lead role "Grizabela" in the local production of the musical Cats next year. Cats composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber is based on Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats.

Lea Salonga singing the animated flick Mulan's Theme Song

Lea Salonga's rendition of I Dreamed a Dream. This video from Youtube is viewed more than 400 thousand times.

The singing prowess of Lea is cystal clear in this video which is already viewed more than 1.3 million times in YouTube.


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