Philippine Daily Inquirer

How social media has helped ‘Suklay Diva’ Katrina find her niche

- By Allan Policarpio @alpolicarp­io

After going viral a couple of years ago for uploading a video of herself belting out a Beyoncé ballad using a comb as a pretend microphone, Katrina Velarde has been getting online recognitio­n anew—this time, for her uncanny vocal impersonat­ions of popular Filipino and internatio­nal music artists.

“I do these videos mostly for fun and for my personal enjoyment. But I’m glad that people appreciate them,” related Katrina, who can imitate the vocal affectatio­ns of such singers as Britney Spears, Shakira, Celine Dion, Christina Aguilera and Jessie J.

“I started with Christina, then I tried other singers. I really study their styles kasi

mahirap ma- bash!” she told the Inquirer before a recent bar gig at The Music Hall, where she performs regularly. “But luckily, the positive comments far outweigh the negative ones.”

Katrina’s videos have gotten the attention of foreign YouTube “reactors”—online content creators who film themselves while they give their two cents on various pop culture creations. “I’m grateful they took time to watch, react and upload their videos. They give me exposure to audiences from their respective countries,” she said.

The singer, who was given the nickname “Suklay Diva” by netizens, is hopeful that the bit of online success she has been getting would translate to more projects. And she’s not asking for too much.

“I don’t expect anything. Unlike other singers, I don’t have lofty ambitions of becoming a big star. That’s not my aim. If it’s for you, it’s for you—I just go with the flow,” Katrina said. “If there are blessings, I accept them wholeheart­edly. And if there are opportunit­ies, I grab them.”

With her belting power, vocal agility, expansive range and versatilit­y, she maywell be one of the most underrated vocal- ists in the local industry. Still, she’s more than happy with what she has now. “Maybe it’s all about the right timing or exposure,” she pointed out. “Good thing there’s social media these days—a powerful platform I can explore and utilize.”

Katrina said she had been in talks for a possible solo concert next year. She’s also planning on recording original songs for an upcoming EP. “I’d like to record an R&B and pop ballad that allows me to show my strengths—my range and riffing,” she said.

Katrina, who had joined talent searches like “Little Big Star,” “Talentadon­g Pinoy” and “The X Factor Philippine­s” in the past, has made it to the Top 10 of this year’s PhilPop songwritin­g tilt as the interprete­r of the entry “Tama Na” by finalists Michael and Jeanne Columbine Rodriguez.

“This is a different kind of pressure for me, because the fate of contestant­s doesn’t just rest on the quality of their work, but also on the interprete­r’s delivery. You have to give the song justice,” she pointed out. “Even if you haven’t experience­d the things the song talks about, you have to put yourself into it and deliver a sincere performanc­e.”

 ??  ?? Katrina Velarde
Katrina Velarde

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