The Little Lea Salonga

Everyone knows how talented and brilliant Lea Salonga is. Apart from her mesmerizing appeal on stage and her skillful acting, her voice has been considered as one of the most captivating and powerful ones in the broadway musicale scene. Personally, she’s one of my music heroes. I started to admire her singing prowess when I was little. That was the time when my mom bought some cassette tapes for me with one of her popular singles in it, “Bakit Labis Kitang Mahal” (Why Do I Love You So Much?). Her voice was so sweet at the beginning of the said song but was taking pace and increasing in intensity as it progresses to the second chorus and bridge parts. From that moment on, I knew I wanted to be just like Lea Salonga.

Lea with her brother, Gerard Salonga.

Now I wonder… How did her career begin? Did she have any music or singing lessons when she was younger? What were her musical influences then? As an avid fan, I can’t help but question these things about Lea Salonga. Simply because I want to know what made her the brilliant singer and theater actress she is today. And maybe, emulate some stuff she did to become a successful singer or music artist someday. (Okay, I know it’s way too ambitious! ) When I decided to browse on a wikipedia entry about her (linked from her official website www.leasalonga.com), I found some fast facts about this Filipino pride:

  • She was born as Maria Lea Carmen Imutan Salonga
  • Her birthday is on February 22, 1971
  • Her debut to the theater scene is in 1978, when she was seven years old, as part of the play The King and I ; from which she was given the lead role, Annie
  • She began her career as a recording artist at the age of ten with her first album Small Voice
  • She even hosted her first television program entitled Love, Lea
  • She was also part of the cast of German Moreno’s variety show called THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT
  • She’s been a member of the Repertoire Philippines, along with her co-Miss Saigon actress, Monique Wilson
  • She had attended the University of the Philippines Singing Extension Program (though I really have to double check on this one…)

Photo from mysweetcupoftea

But what really intrigued me is how she bagged that role of Kim in the musicale, Miss Saigon. Upon browsing tons of websites regarding such matter, they all say the same thing: Lea Salonga went to an audition held by the Miss Saigon Team in 1988 at the Philippines. (Oh yeah! That was my birth year). Her family and friends from some theater group at the Ateneo urged her to give it a shot. So she auditioned with “On My Own” as her piece. Then, she made it to the call back and this time, was asked to sing “Sun and Moon” by Claude-Michel Schönberg. The Miss Saigon team knew, from the moment Lea hit her first note, that she’s got the biggest potential of getting the lead role, Kim. Anyway, here’s a youtube video I always watch whenever I’m on my broadway mood. Here, you’ll see what I’m talking about:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sy-A-wyzj7c

See? Lea is a true Filipino talent. That video was shot by someone when she was learning the audition song. As you can see, she’s a very fast-learner. And man, her voice is like an angel’s!

Here are some photos that I got online which you might as well enjoy:

Lea as "Kim".

And that’s your little Lea Salonga (Though I’ve included some photos of the grown-up Ms. Salonga, Hehehe!). As for her singing, you might not even hear the difference because she hasn’t really changed through time. She just keeps getting better every time.

Thank you for taking the time to read. Have a musical day ahead!

♥ TINA ♥