A Lea Salonga Interview
CAREER (LIVE AND RECORDINGS)
US ASIANS: What provided the opportunities for you to record your first album, Small Voice – that became a Gold Record, at the age of ten?
LEA SALONGA: There were people close to me that believed that I had something special enough that it was worth recording my voice and selling my records. My mother was the biggest proponent of this... she personally headed to Raon to bring copies of my early records to the stores, and the one who believed that a "kid's record" would sell when no one else thought it would. So, she created the opportunity. It wasn't handed to her, or me.
US ASIANS: What did you learn from your music idols such as the Osmonds, Carpenters, Olivia Newton-John and Abba? Do you have any additional idols that have influenced your music career and/or stylings?
LEA SALONGA: These singers all had/have clear voices that really helped the listener focus on the lyrics besides the tone and music.
US ASIANS: When you were 14 and singing with people such as Martika, Shaniece, Rashaan Patterson, Drew Barrymore, Kim Fields and Alyssa Milano – did this confirm that you were doing something that you love to do for the rest of your life?
LEA SALONGA: Not really, no. Confirmation came when I was doing Miss Saigon.
US ASIANS: Do you still train with teachers such Zenaida Amador (drama), Baby Barredo (drama and voice), Mary Hammond (voice) and others before performing on stage?
LEA SALONGA: Zeneida Amador passed away, and I haven't trained with Tita Baby for so long. Mary lives in London so I don't train with her currently... my voice teacher is Marta Woodhull and she's based in LA. When I have the time, I do train with her when I feel I need help to reach high notes before a long run, to get my body technically prepared for the grind.
US ASIANS: Performing before which celebrity provided the most rewarding experience? It is noted that you’ve performed for Queen Elizabeth II, George Bush, First Lady Mrs. Bush, George W. Bush, Prince Phillip, Hilary Rodham Clinton and Bill Clinton.
LEA SALONGA: None of them... it was a privilege and an honor, but not necessarily rewarding. It's more rewarding singing to my goddaughters... I get the best reactions from them, but I fear that even my voice is getting old to them.
US ASIANS: What do you attribute to your many fans spanning many various generations from young to old?
LEA SALONGA: Maybe it's the music that I sing, or that the medium in which I perform most of the time caters to both the young and old.
US ASIANS: Do you still play classical piano or banduria (string instrument)? Did you your training on these instruments provide some creative insights on how to sing certain parts or roles?
LEA SALONGA: I don't play music anymore... but it's something I'd like to take up again.
US ASIANS: In the future, do you feel that your audience would love to hear songs that you sing during your “unwinding/relaxing” situations with your friends such as Britney Spears songs (i.e. Toxic?!?!?!) and unexpected choices?
SALONGA: Uh, no. I like keeping my "unwind"
songs just that.
LEA SALONGA: Each recording is different, and each show offers something for me to extend my skill. Can't say that one in particular achieves that goal.
ASIANS: How does doing voice work differ from performing
LEA SALONGA: It differs only in the sense that I focus on
only one thing: my voice. Not my appearance, my wardrobe, make-up, hair,
nothing. Just my voice. In a way it's very liberating doing voice work,
as it releases you from thinking about anything and everything else.