Charice Pempengco opens up in a tell-all interview on CNN’s ‘Talk Asia’



MANILA, Philippines—The life story of 19-year-old international singing sensation Charice Pempengco keeps on touching the hearts of people from all walks of life all over the world.

In a tell-all interview with CNN’s “Talk Asia,” Charice shares her turbulent childhood mired in poverty, her rise to fame and how she copes with what could be likened to a modern fairy tale.

“You are a force to be reckoned with. That voice comes from something bigger than yourself,” Oprah Winfrey once said of the 19-year-old singer.

‘Foster’ child

When it comes to Charice, there are many “firsts” and most recent is her having about 77 million You Tube hits. Second, she is the first Asian singer in history to rank in the Top 10 of “Billboard 200” in 2010.

Charice’s rise to fame began when a fan posted her videos via You Tube that was noticed by Ellen De Generes.  She was invited by De Generes to sing in her show live. Oprah Winfrey took notice and got her also into her show.

Life was not the same for her ever since.

She was invited by Grammy-winning producer David Foster to perform on his “David Foster and Friends PBS Show” in Las Vegas. Here, she was given the most-coveted opportunity to perform with other talents produced by Foster like Michael Bublé, Celine Dion, Andrea Bocelli and Josh Groban.

Up to now Charice is still in awe of her fate.

“Yes. Yes I still get overwhelmed. It happened so fast but at the same time I worked hard for it and I’m still working hard for it,” Charice said in an interview with CNN’s “Talk Asia.”

Motivation to sing

Life wasn’t so kind to Charice during her childhood years but it motivated her to help her mother through her singing.

“By the age of six I was cooking rice and some stuff for my little brother. I was giving him the milk and everything. Every time I did all the singing contests and it was horrible. You start from 10 p.m. and you finish at 7 a.m. and I had to go to school. She used to cry and she told me to stop and I said “no” because that was the only way we could get a lot of money from it. I really sacrificed everything but at the same time it felt great and it was worth it. Seeing my mom’s face every time I won made me feel great,” she told CNN correspondent Anna Coren.

Charice’s father abandoned her family when she was only three years old but the events in her life molded her to become what she is today.

“Well it was really a tough life, not really easy. My mom’s a single mom and she used to be my vocal coach and I really admire her. She’s definitely my inspiration and I look up to her a lot. I mean, I decided to be a singer because of her. It was a tough life before but now this whole thing that happened to me really helped me a lot.”

Tough childhood

Only recently, her estranged father was stabbed dead in a drunken street fight in San Pedro, Laguna. What followed was a heart-breaking reunion of the family.

Prior to this, she mentioned how she missed her father over the years.

Her interview with “CNN Talk Asia” happened weeks before her father’s death and even back then Charice did not speak ill of her father. She was in tears when asked if she missed him.

I actually don’t know. I don’t know. Maybe sometimes when I see some kids with their families. Sorry I keep crying. Maybe when I ask them sometimes, how does it feel to have a dad? And you know they tell me these great answers and sometimes I wish my dad is here. Maybe I do, sometimes. But at the same time, I don’t because of what happened. It’s hard. It’s really hard,” she said.

The full interview will be aired on CNN International simultaneously in Manila, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Singapore and Taipei on December 2 at 6:30 p.m., December 3 at 9 p.m., December 4 at 7:30 a.m. and 2:30 pm, December 5 at 9:30 p.m., December 6 at 4:30 p.m. and December 8 at 1:30 p.m.

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Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • rick f

    Charice is the only Filipino singer who captured my sanity as a self-confessed avid fan. I admire the vast talent of our local singers but her amazing voice is so unique and beyond compare. Once you hear her voice and watch any of her performances, you’ll be hooked up and addiction will go astray. The chills, goosebumps and sense of pride will kill you to the bones esp when you witness the foreign audience go wild and give her standing ovations. Never in my entire life I felt and done this.

    Discounting her emotional life story and good character, her pure talent is her main ticket to international stardom.

    This personal manifestation aims to level up the standard and quality of local patronage.   

  • Anonymous

    I still admire our best singers dulce, regine, sharon, sarah ,atbp,  because all of them are good. but lately this kid, this little girl shows that she is the future. because she is the best.

  • Anonymous

    No doubt one of the best entertainer this country ever produced, but also one the worst grandaughter one can have, throw a little love away or a coin to your lola.

    • Anonymous

      Would you be a good granddaughter if you are disowned by your lola?  Why should a granddaughter think of giving her fortune to the people who despise her most?

  • Anonymous

    We are happy for Charice and join her in taking pride for her many accomplishments. However, the honor of the very first Asian singer to hit the Top 10 in Billboard actually belongs to KYU SAKAMOTO who reached the revered spot of Numbe rone in Billboard via “Sukiyaki” in 1963. Let’s give credit where it is due. Keep up the good work Charice!

    • Paul Adraiene

      Hi JETR,

      If you read the article clearly, it said “Hot Billboard 200″ (of 2010). Kyu Sakamoto’s was Hot Billboard 100. Cheers!

    • teddyespela

      JETR, you’re so wrong. Check your fact before you make any comment. Charice is indeed the very first Asian to land on the Top 10 of Billboard 200 (which used to be Billboard 100). The Japanese singer you mentioned never landed in the top 10 otherwise Charice would not have gotten that recognition.

    • Anonymous

      Sakamoto was only number 14 not in the top ten.

  • Bahaykubo-girl Kulasa

    tegs, if you know the family personally, you have a basis maybe for your comment. but if you’re an outsider and just making an intriga, no need to sour-grape in this positive article. btw, it should be “one of the best entertainers,” and “one of the worst granddaughters,” and not how you wrote those phrases na masakit sa tenga, especially the last phrase (not only because of wrong english but maybe also wrong info).

  • Anonymous

    bahay kubo, baka pag namatay naman ang lola nya, to death na naman ang iyak nya. just like what happened sa ama nya. all i’m saying, generosity begins at home. kung hindi mo kaya mahalin at pag pasensyahan ang mga kadugo mo, sino pa ang kaya mong mahalin.

  • junjun

    Kind of tired with all these “woe-is-me” story. Settle down and move on with your life already, Charice. 

    Her story is so redundant it makes me puke reading again about it. She is so kind and talented that her insight and kind heart didn’t allow her to reconcile with her father before he died. Such meaningful, albeit public “grief” indeed. 

  • Victoria

    I admire Charice because of her singing prowess, very natural, it’s addictive. And being a Filipino, I’m overwhelmingly proud to see her  performances with big names in the international music industry, and being mentored and admired by the likes of Mr David Foster. She has worked hard (and is still working hard) to be where she is now. We should keep off her family affairs. I detest the negative comments of haters whose only aim is to ‘kick’ her as a bad person, but resent to watch and read her achievements. What a pitiful lot!

  • Anonymous

    its a pride of every filipinos for having charice , what we can she is a very-very talented singer who knows she can be mariah carey,celine dion or whitney houston  we proud of you charice.

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