It was her last day at The Music Hall, a bar and performance venue located at Metro Walk Complex in Pasig City. Outside the venue, there was a queue of people who still wanted to get inside, but the music bar was already at full capacity though it was only nine in the evening.
Inside the venue, when Katrina Velarde hit the stage, the applause from the crowd was almost immediate, and the energy of the paying audience didn’t wane even on her second set. Obviously, Katrina was their darling and they boosted the singer’s confidence with their warm cheers.
Katrina is a regular performer at The Music Hall but she had to stage her last gig for the year to prepare for a bigger show early next year. She also needs to hit the studio to work on her solo record which features original compositions.
“I’m excited to do this but I am also nervous. I haven’t done anything big like this before. It’s my first time to headline a solo show in a bigger venue,” Katrina told Manila Standard in an interview.
Katrina will have a concert on Feb. 1 at the New Frontier Theater (Kia Theatre) at the Araneta Center in Cubao. For her, this is just the beginning of her dream to make a mark on the music scene.
“I’d like to consider this as an opportunity to show the public what I can offer as a performer. The show is sort of a celebration of my career as a singer and my way of thanking the people who continuously follow my journey in this business,” Katrina said in Tagalog.
“The record, an EP (extended play, is part of my dream. Well, every singer has this dream to have an album. That’s why I’m having mine, too, ” she adds.
Those who closely follow her career, they can easily refer to the young singer as the power vocal who mesmerize the online world with her impressive covers of popular hits. In fact, what started off as a fun video cover for her idols turned out to be one of the reasons for her claim to fame today.
Katrina started joining singing contests at a young age but it was only when she was able to audition for X-Factor Philippines in 2013 that she got her big break.
A veteran of such competitions, one of the judges, Charice Pempengco (now Jake Zyrus), was even able to recognize her as one of her rivals in previous small town competitions.
She was able to go home with an outstanding “yes” from all four judges, and this was just the beginning of how the then 17-year old high school student turned into the Katrina Velarde we know today.
It was Gary Valenciano who personally mentored the group that Katrina fell into when she was in X-Factor. The six-piece girl group was called A.K.A. Jam, composed of Alyssa Quijano, Auriette Divina, Monique Lualhati, Jhelsea Flores, Ashley Campbell and, of course, Katrina. The group went on to have quite a following with their undeniable talent and charm. Though they weren’t able to bag the biggest prize of the competition, they still made a mark on the judges’ and people’s minds.
From there, Katrina made headlines in October 2013 when she uploaded a video of herself on Facebook singing while using a purple comb as a makeshift microphone. The video eventually went viral after it was shared by several users online amassing almost 1.5 million views on Facebook alone, dubbing Katrina as “Miss Suklay Diva.”
A number of her uploads online reached millions of views, these include her rendition of Beyonce’s “Dangerously In Love” and Kuh Ledesma’s “Till I Met You” as well as her outstanding interpretation of Ellie Goulding’s “Burn,” while she borrowed the vocal talents of her idols such as Shakira, Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, and Celine Dion among many others.
Her uploaded live performance of Michael Bolton’s “Go The Distance” was another viral hit for The Suklay Diva, it had a record-breaking 4 million views, and counting, on YouTube.
Now, the online sensation is continuing to produce and create more music, and even more “Suklay Covers” of her favorite artists to be uploaded on her channel. Even collaborating with other social media famous singers to share more of what she can do as a singer and even as an impersonator.
But one of her biggest projects this year was to interpret Michael Rodriguez and Jeanne Columbine Rodriguez’ Philpop 2018 entry “Tama Na.” The ballad track was able to get into the list of the Top 10 finalists of the country’s premier songwriting competition.
“Tama Na” is now available on Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music and all digital music stores. The music video can be viewed on Viva Records YouTube channel.
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