Why Anton Diva owes Regine Velasquez ‘a debt of gratitude’
It goes without saying that Anton Diva has a lot to be thankful for to Regine Velasquez, whose voice she used as the foundation of her career as a singer and impersonator.
“I don’t think I could have had built the house I’m living in or bought the car I’m driving right now if it weren’t for Regine—wala siguro akong naipundar. She’s the reason I have this job,” she told the Inquirer at a recent press conference for her birthday concert, “Shine XXII AD,” on June 15 at the Cuneta Astrodome.
“I owe her a debt of gratitude,” added the 42-year-old performer, who started working at sing-along bars, after much convincing from people who thought her singing voice and that of the “Asia’s Songbird” share some striking similarities.
Anton, who was an electronics and communications engineering student at the De La Salle University, surmised that she would probably be working in broadcasting—behind the scenes
—had she not been introduced to Regine’s music.
“I think I would be sitting in an office somewhere, living a very different life,” she said. “Luckily, I gave this industry a try. I’m very happy I’m here, doing what I love most.”
And as an impersonator, there’s no greater validation than getting her idol’s stamp of approval, and, later on, friendship.
“Whenever we see each other, I still can’t believe that I ended up being friends with her. I have never thought I would be able to stand so close to her and touch her. She replies to my posts on social media and even promotes my shows on her page … That’s a big thing,” she said.
“That’s Regine for you—such a very generous person,” she added.
Anton has been in the business for 22 years now, but has pretty much preserved the quality of her voice—something she owes to her discipline.
“If I didn’t take good care of my voice from the start; if I had smoked, did drugs or drank alcohol … I probably wouldn’t be able to sing as well anymore. If you want to prolong your career and voice, you should take care of it, because no one else will,” she stressed.
But while her singing talent is undeniable, she still gets criticisms from detractors once in a while.
“Some people would tell me that I can’t impersonate Regine or reach the high notes anymore. But I’m just human; I’m not perfect. My voice isn’t always in tiptop shape. All singers have off days,” she said. “You don’t always get the amount of rest you need.”
That’s why she’s not taking any chances for her upcoming concert, where she plans to deliver a repertoire not limited to Regine’s songs.
“I will really take some time off from my bar gigs leading to the show. I will take voice lessons,” she related. “I will be memorizing scripts, studying new songs. This is a big task and challenge for me, but I’m willing to take it.”
Produced by her friend, fellow stand-up performer Teri Onor, “Shine XXII AD” (call 911-5555) will also feature Vice Ganda and, of course, Regine herself, as special guests. “It’s heartening because they continue to support me even if they’re already big stars,” Anton said.