Charmaine Clarice Relucio Pempengco (born May 10, 1992), best known mononymously as Charice (a portmanteau of her first two names), is an international Filipina singer who rose to popularity through YouTube.She is reportedly recording her U.S. debut album in the fall of 2009. It will be released under Warner Bros. Records and will be produced by her mentor, David Foster.
Pempengco was born in San Pedro, Laguna, Philippines. She and her younger brother, Carl, were raised single-handedly by their mother, Raquel, after they left their father due to domestic violence when Pempengco was only three years old.
To help support the family, she began competing in amateur singing contests at age seven, from town fiestas in their province of Laguna to several vocal competitions on TV. She is said to have joined over 80 singing contests.
In 2005, Pempengco joined ABS-CBN’s Little Big Star, a talent show in the Philippines loosely patterned after American Idol. Eliminated after her first performance, she was later called back as a wildcard contender and eventually became a finalist. Although she was a consistent top scorer in the final rounds, she only finished in third place via text voting.
Pempengco made minor appearances in local television shows and commercials, but had essentially fallen off the radar after her stint at Little Big Star. It was not until 2007 that Pempengco gained worldwide recognition after an avid supporter called ‘FalseVoice’ started posting videos of her onto YouTube. The videos garnered millions of hits making Pempengco an internet phenomenon.