The singer formerly known as Charice Pempengco -- generally known to audiences as simply Charice -- debuted as a young Filipina singing sensation in 2008. Blessed with a mighty soprano voice reminiscent of idols Celine Dion and Whitney Houston, Charice became an international media star. Born Charmaine Clarice Relucio Pempengco on May 10, 1992, in San Pedro, Laguna, Philippines, Charice debuted on television in 2006 on Little Big Star, a Pop Idol-style talent show in the Philippines, and finished as a finalist. The following year, she appeared on the South Korean television show Star King, another Pop Idol-style talent show. Although she fell short of first place once again, videos of performances began circulating on YouTube and the singer was invited to the United States repeatedly to appear on television variety shows such as The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Good Morning America. Above all, repeat appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show did much to raise her international profile.
Amid the media blitz, Charice issued the eponymous mini-album Charice on Star Records in 2008. The album was comprised of six cover songs, including versions of "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" from Dreamgirls and "I Will Always Love You," the Whitney Houston vehicle from The Bodyguard. A second album, My Inspiration (2009), was a Mother's Day-themed collection released in time for the holiday. Around the same time, Charice released the single, "Note to God," written by Diane Warren and produced by David Foster, who had become a mentor for the young singing sensation. In 2010, Charice signed to Reprise for another self-titled, but this time full-length, release. Charice peaked at number eight on the Billboard 200 and entered the Top Ten in Japan, Korea, and Canada. Later that year, Charice joined the cast of Glee for its second season in the role of exchange student Sunshine Corazon. The following year, a second international effort was issued. Infinity featured the single "Before It Explodes," written by Bruno Mars, as well as "One Day," co-penned by Nick Jonas. In 2013, Charice released Chapter 10, an album composed of covers of songs like Bryan Adams' "Everything I Do, I Do It for You" and Sia's "Titanium." Around this time, Charice came out as a lesbian, debuting shorter hair and a new style. The introspective and rock-oriented Catharsis followed in 2016. The next summer, Charice revealed his identity as a trans man, changing his name to Jake Zyrus. ~ Jason Birchmeier & Neil Z. Yeung