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Finding her voice...again

With an upcoming major solo concert, online sensation and rising singer Katrina Velarde, who is known for her moniker Suklay Diva, tells us how relieved she was to be able to sing again, after an attack of Bell’s palsy that left her right face paralyzed.

Finding her voice...again
Katrina headlines a solo concert on  Feb. 1 at the New Frontier Theater in Cubao
She revealed that she had suffered from the disorder three years ago when she was seven months pregnant. One could only imagine her dilemma being her family’s breadwinner while also thinking of the life she’s carrying in her womb. 

“I was so afraid, I was worried that the baby would be affected. I was relieved when the doctor told me that the baby was fine. It seemed that my child took all the nutrients in my body during pregnancy that’s why it happened,” Katrina shared.

“But I’m okay now. Most people wouldn’t really notice that I have suffered from the disorder unless I tell them about it,” she added.

Katrina said that drinking water was so difficult for her when the muscles on the right side of her face were temporarily paralyzed, let alone speak and sing. She had to undergo numerous therapy sessions before she could properly speak and sing normally.

“The treatment worked and after my recovery, I was able to sing again. I was able to find my voice again. I really had to be patient and optimistic about my recovery because I’m the breadwinner, and as a single mom, I have so many dreams. And singing is the only way I know to achieve those dreams,” she said.

Katrina is all set for her first solo, major concert titled SiKat Ako, which is happening on Feb. 1 at New Frontier Theater (formerly Kia Theater) in Quezon City.

With Mon Faustino as musical director and Paolo Valenciano as stage director, SiKat Ako features Katrina at her very best as one of the most talented and hottest young divas in the industry today.

“I thank Viva for believing in me. I’ve always dreamed of singing in big venues, but I didn’t expect that it would happen sooner than I expected,” the 24-year-old singer mused. 

Katrina is a well-known fixture in the country’s singing contest scene in the 2000s as she was one of the amateur singers to beat alongside contemporaries Angeline Quinto and Charice Pempengco. 

Her first taste of the mainstream spotlight happened when she became a monthly finalist of ABS-CBN’s singing competition Little Big Star. She then made it to the grand finals of the second season of Talentadong Pinoy in 2010 where she competed as part of the singing group New Born Divas with Alyssa Quijano and Jennifer Maravilla. Katrina was further catapulted to the mainstream when she competed under the “groups division” of the very first season of The X-Factor Philippines with the all-girl vocal group AKA JAM under the mentorship of Gary Valenciano. She also starred on TV-5’s hit musical-serye Trenderas opposite Lara Maigue and Isabel de Leon in 2014.

Katrina gained international acclaim as a solo artist when a video of her performing Beyonce’s “Dangerously In Love” while using a purple comb as a makeshift microphone. The video went viral online when Beyonce’s bass player shared it on her Facebook page leading netizens to call her the “Suklay Diva.” 

Her most recent viral hit is a collaboration with balladeers Bugoy Drillon, Darryl Ong, and Michael Pangilinan—collectively known as BuDaKhel—in their cover version of Mariah Carey’s and Boyz2Men’s seminal hit “One Sweet Day,” which garnered over 10 million views on YouTube and an outpouring of massive fan reactions not only in the Philippines but the world over as well. 

In between successful local and international concert tours, Katrina continued to upload unique, innovative, and unforgettable musical performances online that garnered millions of views and countless positive and overwhelming reactions from vocal coaches and fans from all over the world. Her hilarious webisodes on YouTube where she gives make-up tutorials and product reviews have also gained massive and steady traction from YouTubers around the world.  

Katrina was also one of the featured artists on ASAP’s top-rating segment “Versus,” where she did a historic singing battle with talented PDA champion Laarni Lozada. The backstory of this TV appearance further endeared Katrina to her fans as she dedicated her now historic performance to her sister who passed away due to breast cancer a few days before the guesting on ASAP. 

Finding her voice...again
 Katrina Velarde, otherwise known as Suklay Diva, is an online sensation who rose to stardom after several videos, showing her singing famous songs of international artists, while using a comb as her pretend microphone, went online worldwide. 
Meanwhile, Katrina was also one of the Top 10 interpreters of the 2018 PhilPop Songwriting Competition via the song “Tama Na,” written by Michael S. Rodriguez and Jeanne Maulit Rodriguez and she is also part the advocacy album Awit At Laro, produced by Gary V for the benefit of UNICEF, Tukod Foundation, and Shining Light Foundation.

Like her SRO gigs in Music Hall in Ortigas, fans and music aficionado alike can expect an unforgettable evening of superb music in SiKat Ako with Katrina’s amazing vocals, electrifying stage presence, and bubbly personality as the concert’s piece de resistance.

In line with the on-going promotional campaign of the concert, Viva Records released a 3-track mini album of the same title that features “Tama Na,” along with “Ikaw Pa Rin” and  “Kung Naging Tayong Dalawa” by songwriting duo Thyro & Yumi. “Kung Naging Tayong Dalawa” is centered on the theme of the what-ifs and maybes of an unrealized relationship. The SiKat Ako mini album can now be streamed on Spotify and downloaded on iTunes.

“I’m very grateful for this opportunity, but of course it makes me feel so nervous,” said Katrina. “We are working we hard to make this concert a memorable one and we will make sure to give the audience a fantastic show.”

Joining Katrina as her special guests are Gary Valenciano, BuDaKhel, and the Adlib Dancers. 

SiKat Ako is a joint project of Manila Genesis Entertainment and Management Inc. and Viva Live. For tickets contact Manila Genesis (706-2171; 535-0786; and 535-0088), Viva Live (687-7236), and Ticketnet (911-555). 

For updates on Katrina, follow her on Twitter (@katvelarde24), Instagram (@katrinavelarde24), follow Katrina Velarde on Facebook and follow Katrina Velarde on YouTube.   

Topics: Katrina Velarde , Suklay Diva , SiKat Ako , New Born Divas , The X-Factor Philippines
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