Date of Birth10 December 1992, San Pedro, Laguna, Philippines
Birth NameCharmaine Clarice Relucio Pempengco
Height4' 9" (1.45 m)
Mini BiographyCharmaine Clarice Relucio Pempengco, better known as Charice, was born in San Pedro, Laguna, Philippines. When she was three years old, she witnessed her abusive father point a gun at her mom during an episode of domestic violence. Along with her mother and younger brother Carl, they left their father in search of a better life.
Charice was very young when her mother noted that Charice's rendition of Happy Birthday was very high-pitched and on-key. When Charice was four years old, her mother Raquel came home to discover Charice standing on top of the kitchen table singing Celine Dion's My Heart Will Go On. She initially thought the radio was on and Celine was singing. Charice had learned to operate the karaoke machine by observing her mother, who was a singer in a band, practice with her band mates. It was then that Charice's singing talent was discovered.
At the age of seven, with money hard to come by and with little food to put on the table, Charice urged her mother to teach her how to sing and let her join singing contests to help support their family. She went around the provinces of Laguna and Batangas, joining amateur singing contests in town fiestas and later, on little-known shows on television. She started winning most of the contests she joined, often borrowing money from friends and neighbors for the bus fare then paying them back after she had won. She estimates she joined 80-100 singing contests all in all.
In 2005 when she was twelve years old, she joined Little Big Star, a singing contest for children on TV network ABS-CBN, loosely patterned after American Idol. She was eliminated after the first round, but was called back as a wild card contestant later on in the show. From there she was a consistent top scorer in the elimination rounds but only wound up as a third placer in the finals due to low text votes. Dejected as she was really counting on winning the grand prize of P1 million pesos ($20,000) for her family, she wanted to give up on singing. She made minor appearances on TV shortly after Little Big Star, dancing backup and singing in the background on variety shows, but she had basically fallen off the radar. She eventually decided to just give it all up and return to regular schooling.
Little did she know that David DueÃ±as (a.k.a FalseVoice), a fan of hers, was so in awe of her powerful vocals and performances on Little Big Star that he started uploading them on YouTube. Her videos were racking up millions of hits online and one of her videos caught the eye of StarKing, a Korean variety show. In 2007, StarKing invited then 15-year old Charice to come to South Korea to perform. Dressed in pink and wearing pigtails, Charice blew the roof off the set as she performed a hair-raising and powerful rendition of And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going from the Dreamgirls soundtrack. The studio audience were floored to hear such a big voice coming out of such a small girl.
The video of that StarKing performance went viral on YouTube, garnering millions of views until the producers of The Ellen Degeneres Show took notice. Ellen aired an on-air invitation for Charice to come to her show. A month later, on December 2007, Charice and her mother flew to America for the first time to appear on the show, where Charice sang And I Am Telling You and Whitney Houston's I Will Always Love You. The audience was blown away, giving Charice the first two standing ovations she had ever received in her life. Charice went home to the Philippines an instant celebrity.
In May 2008, Charice was invited to guest on Oprah, for a themed show called World's Smartest Kids. She sang I Have Nothing by Whitney Houston and bought the audience to their feet, giving her another standing ovation. No one was more impressed than Oprah Winfrey herself though, incredulously asking her, "Girl, that was fantastic! Who are you?!"
The next day, Charice and her mother were already on a plane waiting to take off for the Philippines when Oprah called to stop the plane and bring them back to her office. Oprah had been so impressed with the girl and couldn't get her off her mind. She listened to Charice's story and told her, "Don't lose hope. I promise you something big will happen." She then called legendary music producer David Foster who took Charice on under his wing.
Charice, as David Foster's protÃ©gÃ©, suddenly found herself singing duets with Andrea Bocelli in Italy and with her idol Celine Dion in Madison Square Garden. She also shared the stage with other big names such as Michael Buble and Josh Groban. She performed at three of President Barack Obama's pre-inauguration galas and made a cameo appearance as herself in 2009's Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel. She also went on to appear on the Oprah show three more times after her initial appearance, the most recent one being last May 11, 2010, a day after her 18th birthday, to debut her self-titled international album CHARICE. Her single Pyramid with singer Iyaz topped the Billboard Dance chart at #1. Her album sales during its first week landed her in the #8 spot on the US Billboard Hot 200 chart, making her the first ever Asian artist in history to enter the Billboard top 10.
In June 2010, it was announced that Charice landed a recurring guest role on the hit TV series Glee, playing the character of Sunshine Corazon, a Filipino foreign exchange student to rival actress Lea Michele's character, Rachel Berry.