Jose Mari Chan reveals Lea Salonga, Monique Wilson almost became a part of ‘Christmas in our Hearts’

Lea Salonga, Monique Wilson could have sung ‘Christmas In Our Hearts’ with Jose Mari Chan

/ 10:22 PM September 03, 2023

(From left) Lea Salonga, Jose Mari Chan, Monique Wilson. Images: Instagram/@msleasalonga, Screengrab from YouTube/GMA Network, FILE PHOTO

(From left) Lea Salonga, Jose Mari Chan, Monique Wilson. Images: Instagram/@msleasalonga, Screengrab from YouTube/GMA Network, FILE PHOTO

Jose Mari Chan — who’s known as one of the “symbols of Philippine Christmas” — revealed that theater actresses Lea Salonga and Monique Wilson almost became his duet partners in the song “Christmas In Our Hearts.”

During an episode of “Fast Talk with Boy Abunda”  last Sept. 1, Chan said that he first approached Salonga to sing the female lines of the song that he composed for Christmas almost 33 years ago, but which eventually went to his daughter Liza.


“At that time, Lea Salonga was a hit because of ‘Miss Saigon.’ So I approached her and asked her if she would do a duet with me. And sabi nya, ‘Yes, I’d be glad to!’” he said.


Despite the Broadway liking the “melody and words,” their collaboration didn’t push through since her recording company at that time “didn’t allow her to record for a competing label.”

“My next choice was Monique Wilson who was an understudy for ‘Miss Saigon.’ And I like her, she’s a very nice person with a beautiful voice,” Chan continued. “Unfortunately, that [same] weekend, she went to Tagaytay, and you know the story — she lost her voice.”

Even if the collaboration with the theater actresses didn’t push through, the “Beautiful Girl” singer believed that it’s the “Holy Spirit” telling him that his daughter was meant to be his duet partner.

“I guess the Holy Spirit was leading me towards my daughter [Liza]. And so, I went to my daughter’s bedroom. So I asked her, ‘Can you learn this song quickly? ‘Cause I’d like to record this with you?’ And the rest is history,” he said.

The song was such a hit up to this time that American a capella group Pentatotix recorded the song in October 2022 for their album “Holidays Around The World,” with no less than Salonga.

‘Too Christian’

During the interview, Chan said that the melody of “Christmas In Our Hearts” was written in 1988 to accompany the poem written by a friend. However, he’s still surprised with the song’s success since it was said to be “too Christian” at the time.


“I never thought that two years later, I’d use that melody for a Christmas song,” he said. “As a matter of fact, the producers of Universal Records said ‘masyadong Christian tong kantang ‘to (this song is too Christian).’ Why don’t you come up with a romantic Christmas song?”

“So I wrote ‘A Perfect Christmas’ and they were so sure that it would be a success. But they didn’t expect ‘Christmas In Our Hearts’ will become a big hit,” he further added.

In a separate interview, Chan said he is thankful to those who consider him to be a “symbol of Philippine Christmas” while expressing his joy to his memes that usually re-emerge during the Christmas season.

Apart from “Christmas In Our Hearts,” and “Beautiful Girl,” Chan’s hit songs include “A Love to Last a Lifetime,” and “Please Be Careful with my Heart.” EDV


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TAGS: Jose Mari Chan, Lea Salonga, Monique Wilson

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