Ask any entertainment bigwig who our most versatile artists are today and the name Rachel Alejandro almost always comes to mind. As a singer, composer, TV and movie actress, stage performer, concert artist, and theater producer; Rachel is surely one of the hardest working talents in the business. No field is left unconquered for this dynamo, she who has reached the pinnacle of success at every level and at such a young age. Rachel is the epitome of what dedication, creativity, intelligence and pure talent can bring a true artist.
Not that good genes haven’t played a wee part in her emergence. Daughter of 70’s singing legend and original “Kilabot Ng Kolehiyala”, Hajji Alejandro, Rachel early on had stepped out of her father’s shadow and made a name for herself. Making her debut performances in theater ( “Sound Of Music”) and television (“That’s Entertainment,” “Aawitan Kita”) Rachel awed the industry with her unmistakable singing and acting abilities.
Soon enough, Rachel was deluged with recording and movie offers. At the age of fifteen, Rachel came out with her hit paean to teen heartthrobs, Mr. Kupido. In 1991, she won the 5th Annual Awit Awards, Best Performance by a Female Recording Artist for Kay Tagal. 1992 was a banner year. First, Rachel received the Guillermo Mendoza Memorial Foundation Awards for Best Female Singer and Entertainer. That same year, she was again recognized in the 6th Annual Awit Awards for Best Performance by a Female Recording Artist for her remake of her father’s classic Nakapagtataka. Then, she won the Golden Stag International Song Festival Award for Best Interpretation of a Romanian Song. In 1993, Rachel won the 7th Annual Awit Award for Best Duet Recording for Babalik-Balikan. The next year, Rachel hit a Grand Slam, winning her fourth straight Awit Award, this time for Best Ballad Recording and Song of the Year with Paalam Na. Since then, Rachel has produced four more albums allof which reached either Platinum or Gold. She is now working on her newest album under Viva Records.
“Singing for me is as natural as breathing. I learned to sing the same time I learned how to talk. It’s the thing that bonds my family together – my dad, me, my cousin Nino, my sister Barni. We were all raised and educated on my Dad’s singing alone. I don’t know what we would have become without it”.
Rachel made her movie debut opposite Herbert Bautista in “Hulihin Si Nardong Toothpick.” Since 1990, most of Rachel’s roles have been as an antagonist or kontrabida – mainly because of her ‘mataray’ features and sharp tongue. But her more recent roles have portrayed her as an intellectual with a heart of gold (“Notoryus” and “Mumbaki”). For now, acting has taken a backseat to singing, give-or-take a few kontrabida guest spots on TV.
Nowadays, you’ll find Rachel slowly coming off her two year hiatus. She will tell you that during those two years she’s found – for the first time in her fourteen-year professional career – time to devote herself to the things she missed. Things like friends, family, recreation and most of all, a chance to love again – away from the prying eyes of the public. Things may not have worked out to her wanting (Rachel recently ended her relationship with actor Lee Robin Salazar), but the future has definitely not closed its doors on her. Rachel looks forward to fulfilling her many singing commitments here and abroad while she finishes up on her ninth upcoming album for Viva Records. There’s an international dance record on the drawing board, plus she contributed to the MetroPop Grand Prize victory of Angelo Villegas’ with her heart-breaking interpretation of his composition Forever and a Day. No dooubt about it, Rachel is back and better than ever. She’s come a long way from that chubby little girl clinging to her famous dad as he sang from one TV variety show to the next. Today, Rachel can truly say she’s found her voice in a spotlight that is all her own.
Rachel Jingco Alejandro was born to pop idol Hajji Alejandro and his then-wife, a media-shy businesswoman who has since remarried and is now based in the US. Together with her dad, sister Barni, and Hajji’s new partner Rio Diaz, Rachel grew up in Manila and the US. When Hajji and Rio separated and decided on basing themselves in the US permanently, teenage Rachel made the painful decision that instead of living in the States shuttling between three parents, she could concentrate on her career more if she just stayed with her grandmother in Blue Ridge. And with the blessings of both her mom and dad, at the age of 17, Rachel emancipated herself and struck out on her own, renting an apartment and living by herself.
Despite Rachel’s highly independent nature and early maturity, she still values family above all else.
“I have always held family ties in high regard,” she relates. ” When I was in New York, I took a train to Maryland where my mom lives. I only spent a day with her and then I went back. Ganon ako, eh. Kahit na one day lang with my mom is enough. We’re always like that.”
On Rio Diaz: “I honestly believe that Tita Rio knew me more as a person than my own mother. It’s primarily because I didn’t grow up with my mom and I don’t see her that often. pero siyempre, iba pa rin ang nanay.”
“I never begged for anything from them, all the things na nakikita nila sa akin ngayon are the things I acquired from working hard. I was raised by my grandmother and yet, she never spoiled me. I wasn’t lola’s girl. She would take care of me dahil apo niya ako but yung maging very malambing to me, she wasn’t the type. But she was the one who encouraged me to sing. She also taught me how to dance. My lola was a good dancer,” she giggles. (excerpted from Women’s Home Companion magazine)
Rachel treasures every opportunity to have family with her. One such opportunity arose during the launch of PERFECT TEN Rachel’s anniversary album.
”...my entire, as in entire, family gathered in one room for the first time – my dad, my mom, my stepparents on both sides, stepsisters, stepbrother, lola. I’ve always been the person who puts people together, the reason why people will see each other. I’m very family oriented, very, very close to my family. Every moment I’m not working I spend with them and the friends I’ve made through them, and we’re like this one big family. It keeps me happy. I’ve always believed that you have to have people close to you to share your success or your trouble with. You can’t heap it all on one person. It’s nicer when there’s a lot of them ready to support you.” (interview with Dez Z. Lucero, Woman’s Home Companion, September 4, 1996)
On the other hand, despite coming from a broken family, Rachel claims she and her sister have grown up wonderfully and attributes everything to the trust, love, support and wisdom of their dad, Hajji. He filled the vacuum beautifully.
“He showered us with ten times more affection and love and time than perhaps a dad with a family intact.”
Queen of Vamp
Rachel is a huge Anne Rice fan, and especially favors the Vampire Chronicles. She even went through a major goth phase, reflecting in everything from her clothes to her music videos. Find out in her own words how vampires have “bitten her.”
“It’s really entertaining,” she laughs. “My friends and I adopted names from Anne’s characters and we use them whenever we beep each other – even our messages are quotes from her novels. We are that enthusiastic about them. In fact, I went to New Orleans and did the whole Anne Rice tour bit. I’ve even enrolled myself to the fan’s club. I got a sticker at the back of my car that says,’Vampire Lestat Fan Club’. I know a lot of people hate the novels because they got turned off with ‘Interview With The Vampire’ which is also the book I least like in the Chronicles. But I stayed with it; the second novel was nicer, the next even nicer, and nicer.”
Rachel even adopted for herself the name Akasha, the queen of the vampires. Her choice to use the name of this singularly sinister blood-sucking queen came about not because she IS one, but because of a quality she shares with her – that of a “mother” of their respective groups. Rachel explains that, just like Akasha, people congregate to wherever she is, like children to their mother.
Rachel’s fascination with vampires is reflected in her list of favorite books. Click here to find out what other books she’s a sucker for.