Lea Salonga | Talks at Google

Lea Salonga | Talks at Google

DADO BANATAO: PhilDev is a
little bit of an anomaly, I would say, simply because we
took on the challenge of trying to help the country,
the Philippines, develop itself economically. While there have been
so many foundations started to help the
country, a lot of them are humanitarian in
nature, or charitable. And that’s OK. I mean, there is instantaneous
help to the needy. But we can tell
you, when we started to do the research for
PhilDev we, right or wrong, concluded that there
is not enough wealth to affect the economy of
the country by doing that. So crazy people from
Silicon Valley, we said, let’s do something different
and see what happens. So the route of the theses,
or the strategic reason for PhilDev is that– and
again, this is further research. Talked to a couple
of Nobel laureates. Had dinner with them myself. And these are
economists that studied the evolution of developed
countries after World War II. If you look at
Japan and Germany, they were devastated
after World War II. How come immediately
after 20 years, Japan became the number
two economy in the world after the US? There was something there. And so they studied that. And so we adopted the
results of their study. And the one conclusion is
that a developing country must have a global
economy if you want to be a developed country. Why is that? Because in a developing
country, the economy size is really, really small. The global economy, the size
of the economy of the world, is infinity bigger. And if you think about it,
it’s kind of intuitive, that if all you do is
work within your economy, only the rich get richer. Because they’re the ones that
have the ability to invest. The poor stay there. That’s one conclusion. Now how do you actually
tap the global economy? It’s easier said than done. They also found
out that technology is the key reason how one
can tap the global economy, through technology-based
products and services. EMILY NISHI: Thank
you so much, Dado. [APPLAUSE] EMILY NISHI: Very inspiring. I loved how you talked
about technology, and wanted to just extend a
huge welcome to you, Lea– LEA SALONGA: Thank you. EMILY NISHI: –for being in
the heart of Silicon Valley. LEA SALONGA: I can’t
believe I’m here. This is awesome. This is awesome for us. Yeah. EMILY NISHI: So the
first question, actually, is I think everyone in this room
has grown up knowing about you, hearing about you, over the last
several years or decades, even, since you started your
career when you were seven. So you must have been working at
this for 10 years now at least. LEA SALONGA: Well, OK. Let’s just leave it at that. EMILY NISHI: So this connection
that we have with you. We’d love to hear, what’s your
connection with technology? How do you use Google? Do you Google yourself? Do you– LEA SALONGA: Oh, God, no. No. No. I kind of stay away
from Googling myself. But then, there’s so much
interesting content on YouTube, that you just can’t
help but need to go in. And also, so many
videos from the TV show that I just finished,
“The Voice of the Philippines,” a lot of the
content from that TV show is now
available on YouTube. So for people that have not
been able to see the show, if you’re not subscribers
to TFC– I mean, how many people would not
be subscribers to TFC? I mean, if you’re
Filipino, chances are you have TFC
in your house, just to have a connection to home. But I mean, a lot of the
videos, a lot of the performance videos, at the very
least, as well as my very opinionated
comments on performances, are available for anyone
in the world to access. And that’s been
great, because I’ve been able to then
use it as reference for– because the uploads are so
quick, to be able to look at it and see what strategies to
adopt for the following week, and to see how the other teams
and the other competitors are performing, and seeing
what we can do, and seeing, OK, that performance
was not so great. We need to improve
it for the next time. And so, I use it a lot for
research and information. And a lot of the
material that I’ve been learning over the
last couple of weeks, Victor put everything
on an Excel spreadsheet. And here’s the YouTube link, so
that you can learn that song. And I’m like, all right. OK. There you go. Oh, OK. There we go. And so, YouTube
has actually been helpful in that
regard for me as well. And I love playing
video games also. EMILY NISHI: I heard that
you’re a bit of a geek. LEA SALONGA: I’m
a bit of– yeah. EMILY NISHI: Tell
us more about that. LEA SALONGA: Yes. I have to put makeup on to hide
the dark circles under my eyes. I’ve spent many a
late night playing a lot of console video games. And I mean, it’s things like
“BioShock,” “BioShock 2.” It’s the “Assassin
Creed” series. And my favorite’s “Assassin
Creed 2,” only because of the most charming
protagonist ever, who is Ezio Auditore, if
anybody knows who that is. And if you don’t, shame on you. Because I think it’s one of the
best video game series ever. And my husband and I both
are huge on video games. And I think there are
certain games where I advance into the game
further than he does. And basically, it’s like
a, honey, no spoilers. Don’t tell me what happened. It’s like watching
“Breaking Bad.” It’s kind of to at that level. I haven’t caught on yet
to the phenomenon that is “Breaking Bad,” and he does
not let me hear the end of it. So I promised to catch up
on the plane ride home. So, I’ll probably be done
with the first season by the time I hit Manila. So at least he and I
will have something to talk about when he picks
me up from the airport. So he’s sad that it’s over. So there’s that. Both of us have gadgets galore. And it’s kind of funny. From the time that we
met, we’ve almost always had identical devices. I mean, when we first met, it
was the exact same Nokia phone, but in different colors. It’s like, aw. It was meant to be. There was that. And then he adopted the
iPhone before I did. And I held onto a Nokia. But it was a little
bit more advanced. And he’s like, why aren’t
you hopping onto the iPhone? I’m like, I’m going
to wait until I can send to unlimited
numbers of people by texts. And there’s still limits
to that technology. So, I need to hold off until
it can do what I want it to do. And when it did, and I’m like,
all right, I can sign on now. And so, since then, we’ve
had identical phones. And yeah. But we always get it
in different colors. And I always put a case on mine. Just because you need to
protect your investments. And he’s vain about his iPhone,
so there’s no case on it. There’s no protective layer,
because it’s so beautiful. I don’t want a shield. I’m like, you’re going to
regret that at some point. And he’s dropped it so
many times at the gym, at the office, at home. And then, I think there was
one time before we finally replaced his 4s s with a 5. We were at the cemetery
visiting his mother. He had his iPhone in his pocket. Opened the car
door, stepped out, and it fell onto the pavement,
and cracked the glass, and broke his heart
along with it. And of course in my
head, being a wife, anybody here who’s a wife, you
know that voice in your head. I told you. I told you. Don’t want to listen to me. OK, so you deal with that. So yeah. He was like, yeah, I’m going to
have to get the next one now. I was like, uh, duh, you think? Just all these little things
that go on in my head. But yeah, so w were
always surrounded by it. And we have a
seven-year-old daughter who’s very tablet-savvy,
and smartphone-savvy. She has an iPad. An iPad Mini. She knows what to do with it. I don’t have to
teach her anything. And it’s cool that
technology has advanced to the point of being so
intuitive that you can give a two-year-old that
bit of technology, and then they’ll be able
to navigate even better than the grownups
can, sometimes. But we have to censor the
games, obviously, and the apps that she is able to use. Like, can I buy– no,
you cannot have that one. Can I wa– no, you
cannot watch that movie. And of course, the parental
restrictions are activated. But yeah, we are in
technology I think on a pretty high-end
consumer level. I mean, we’re not
dumb-dumbs when it comes to the
stuff that we have, and the stuff that we use. And we employ a lot of it. And I employ a
lot of it at work. Obviously, I listen to music
and study music with my phone. And with the tablet,
being able to Xoom music, and being able to
go through lyrics, and being able to
use that for work. And I no longer get
CDs to study music. There’s a television
program called ASAP in the Philippines,
which is incredibly popular. It’s a Sunday
afternoon variety show. And whenever I need to
appear as a guest performer, their music department will
just send the mp3s for me to listen to. And the technology then is also
employed by the music director. They have their own
software that they use, which I know nothing about,
which my brother also gets to use, where
they cut the songs, and change pitches, change
keys, attach things together, so that at least we have
some sort of schematic going into a rehearsal. And we have an idea of what
to do in order to save time. So it’s also been
incredibly helpful with of productivity
side of that. CATHERINE BUAN: Yeah. Do you think technology has
made a big difference in– well, I hear that you use it for a
lot of inputs, and research, and rehearsal, and sort of
the incoming information and availability. But you are such a warm
person with a lot of emotion, and that’s such a
big deal in the arts. Do you think that
technology has also gotten to a point
where you can actually share more of that nuance? LEA SALONGA: Well, I
think that it is possible. And with what Victor has
created with “Broadway Live,” for example, which is able to
provide that kind of content. And the thing about
the arts and what I do, which mostly is like, live
performing and performing on stage, and it’s usually a
very interactive medium, where it’s people who are maybe just
a few feet in front of you and, there’s that
kind of energy, to be able to be savvy
enough to try and capture that kind of a
performance– first, you need to be in a room
full of people in order to fully represent
the experience. And I mean, for
the performer, it’s important that it’s a room where
there are however many people. For example, we did a
concert at the Allen Room at Lincoln Center. And we filled it with friends
and members of the theatre community. And I did the concert as
if I was just performing for the people in the room. However, I also had to
be conscious of the fact that this was going
to be recorded and eventually
digitally streamed, which would then bring this
experience into someone’s laptop, into
somebody’s living room. And I mean now,
with the way you’re able to stream stuff from your
laptops, or from your phones, onto a television set,
and then the experience is right there in
your living room. So then, I have to be
conscious of, Lea, you have to look at this
particular spot, because the camera is
capturing you from this angle. And if you look a
little too high, then you look a little weird. So there’s also that. And he had to be a Nazi about
that, which I appreciated. And then, I’ll hear
these big sighs from the back of the
room going, ah, yes. And so, there’s that. So the technology,
actually, in the room was extremely present,
with however many cameras, with a whole big camera
set up, and with dollies, and with cameraman, and
a recording console. And me having to figure out
which microphones to use, and having to test that
to create one, the best sound for me coming through
a speaker as possible, and also for capturing
it for preservation. So I think the
technology enables people to experience what’s
going on in a concert hall from their own home. But there also has
to be– for me, it’s really helpful when
there are people in the room to make it a very interactive
experience, and a very immediate audience-performer
experience. That kind of interaction
is very, very unique, and if the room
was empty, I don’t think we would have been
able to make that happen. Not long ago, I saw the iTunes
Music Festival performance of Lady Gaga. And I mean, it was wonderful. It was incredible. And I felt like I was there. But there needed to be also
this full audience that was interacting with her,
and applauding, and laughing, and crying, and
being in the room. There’s something about that. I mean, it’s great when
we’re able to capture it, and able to stream it, and
make the content available. But at the same
time, for what I do, I need an audience in a room. CATHERINE BUAN: So it
[INAUDIBLE] substitute. LEA SALONGA: Right. It’s not a substitute. I mean, there’s nothing like
being in a Broadway theater and watching say, a show
like “The Book of Mormon” and seeing all of
these things happening in the same room as you. And my husband and
I recently went. Obviously, we did not
take our daughter. That is not a show
to take children to. Absolutely not. And it was a show that he
would have wanted to see. And we had not really
listened to the cast recording at the time. So a lot about what was
happening on the stage for us was new. And there is so much profanity. If any of you have listened
to the cast recording of “Book of Mormon,” it’s a bit
of a shock initially. But then after you get over
it, it’s really, really funny, and it’s genius. And if you’re a fan
of “South Park,” this is right up your alley. It was just incredible. I mean, there is no replacing
that experience, obviously. But there is something to be
said about making it available. EMILY NISHI: That’s amazing,
which shines through in what you’re talking
about, and what you’ve applied as you’ve learned
how the industry has changed. It’s just the
depth of experience you’ve had as a performer. One thing that I
think all of us are familiar with that extensive
resume that you have. I mean, I think many of us
remember you from the Disney movies, from the
plays you’ve done on Broadway, in
London, and elsewhere, and just the sheer amount
of accomplishments. I tried to print
your Wikipedia page so that I could read about you– LEA SALONGA: Do
not even read that. EMILY NISHI: And it kept
printing and printing. It was multiple pages. LEA SALONGA: I need to
figure something out. So, I’m sure there’s
somebody in this room that will be able to help me. No, no, no. Because I called Wikipedia
out on a tweet this morning. And I was very angry. And I said, Wikipedia, you suck. And yeah. Because there were so many
inaccuracies on my page. And the funny thing is, I tried
to correct the Wikipedia entry. But the thing is– and I
read a “New Yorker” article about somebody else that tried
to do this, and was unable to. So I put a blurb, which
was all of two lines, Lea Salonga will be editing
this entry in the next few days because of the egregious
errors contained made by well-meaning people
who feel that they know her career better than she does. Thank you. And I dated it. And I think there were some
really cool people that took a screenshot of
it before somebody went in again and edited it out. So my question is this. How does a person like myself
edit their own Wikipedia entry? Because it seems to be much
more difficult than negotiating rush hour traffic on the
405 in LA, and probably 10 times more frustrating. So maybe if somebody
from Wikipedia would be able to
give me an answer. Tweet me at
@MsLeaSalonga on Twitter. You can find me,
and it really is me. And I do get combative and am
very opinionated with people. And the tone that I take
makes people say, oh, yeah, that really definitely is her. I’m not the nicest
person in social media. I can be a little ornery, and I
can be a little bit obnoxious. But it’s definitely me. And it’s me jet-lagged. That’s not nice. It’s not me being nice. I’m not always diplomatic. I’m extremely opinionated. Which regular viewers of “The
Voice” would have noticed. Yeah, but I’ve never made
anybody cry on “The Voice.” EMILY NISHI: Not yet. LEA SALONGA: No. I’m not Simon Cowell. First of all, I’m prettier. And yeah. But yeah. Yeah, so technology
has also been able to help me stay
in touch with fans. It’s no longer six
degrees or however many degrees of separation. There’s no more separation. If somebody decides
to say something, I have all the
freedom in the world to either ignore or engage. Ricky Martin gave me
a piece of advice. Do not, do not, do not engage. And he’s actually told
a story about having to be physically restrained
from his computer by a friend when, I think,
one comment was just the straw that broke
the camel’s back. And he was just like, why you? And somebody said,
no, do not, do not. And yeah. Incredibly handsome celebrities
like that have a bad day. EMILY NISHI: I think
[INAUDIBLE] some celebrities. Do you have any
good stories for us? You’ve worked in multiple
Hollywood circles and Broadway circles, et cetera. Won multiple Tony Awards. You’ve rubbed elbows with a lot
of these interesting people. Any good stories
or favorite actors? LEA SALONGA: Oh, OK. I have a story
about Hugh Jackman. And this is before his success
as Wolverine on “X-men.” Very few people– when he
blew up like crazy on film as Wolverine on “X-men.” When I saw the trailers,
I’m like, wait a minute. I know this guy. And I knew him because a
few years before the “X-men” movie came out, there was a
concert in London called “Hey, Mr. Producer,” which
is available on DVD. Shameless plug. Insert here. And I was invited to
be part of the concert to perform selections
from “Miss Saigon,” as well as selections
from “Les Mis,” and to be part of this
big Sondheim section. And I was only too
honored to do it. One of the girls, one
of my girlfriends, who had done “Miss
Saigon” with me, she said, OK, for
the second act, for the Rodgers and
Hammerstein section, you have to make sure that
you are sitting in the house. And I said, why? She said, just trust me. Just do it. OK. So I sit in costumes. Still in whatever
costumer I was wearing. So I’m sitting a few seats
away from another actor. And from out of
nowhere, a capella, you hear this voice
just singing, [SINGING] “There’s a bright golden
haze on the meadow.” I’m like, who’s that? Who is that? And it was the kind of a voice
that just made you sit up. And what’s going on? And you felt this anticipation. And then, here comes
this very tall, over 6 foot man, dressed up. He was about to open two
weeks later in “Oklahoma.” And so he came out, this tall,
beautiful, rugged Australian man, and just singing with
this big smile on his face, standing straight and tall,
and extremely confident. And I’m like, oh my God. And I heard sighs from the
other ladies in the audience at the time going, mm-hmm. Just looking at him. And he just continued to sing,
just note perfect, and smiling, and gorgeous. And I’m like, oh my god. It’s a musical theater man. And these kind of
men were so rare. OK. It’s rare, because– OK, I’ll
have to be completely frank. Musical theater is often
considered as gay man’s heaven. And I have had my share
of gay leading men. And some are able to play
straight better than others. But when I see
someone like that, and you’re doing a musical
theater, you have no idea. It’s like we get kind
of boy crazy at times, because it’s like,
they’re so rare. It’s like being a member of
“National Geographic,” sighting a very rare animal
out in the wilderness. It is of that magnitude. It’s just magical when
you finally spot one. And you have to get your
binoculars out, and take lots and lots of pictures,
and take copious notes. But he just stood
there and just sang. And I could not take
my eyes off of him, because he was
beautiful, and magnetic, and incredibly charming. And I think the “Oklahoma”
film starring him is available. It’s on YouTube. And you can find it on YouTube. And you’ll understand
when you see this. And it was a charm that could
transcend– once you looked at his face, your heart
just fell into your stomach, and you were just instantly
filled with adoration. And it’s not even a carnal
desire, when you look at him. It’s not even about that. Maybe a little bit about it. But it’s just more
of this masculinity. And I mean, yeah, of course
he would be cast as Wolverine. And I just wonder
if on that set, he ever broke out into musical
theatre songs with any other member of the cast. And I mean, he was very
popular in Australia as a quite well-known
musical theater leading man, and his success. Then, moved to the West
End and onto Hollywood. And he’s also won
his own Tony Award playing another Aussie
in “The Boy from Oz.” And I’m just so
happy that he’s just garnered so much incredible
success on film and on stage, and that he’s not
forgotten his roots. And I think he
actually received– I don’t know if
it was management advice, or
representative advice. You shouldn’t be
prancing on stage, singing and doing
musical theater. And I’m glad that he
didn’t follow that advice, because his kind of
magic, there’s something about him live in a theater,
just a few feet away from him. I saw the films. I saw the “X-men” films, and
I’ve seen the YouTube clips. But there’s nothing like being
a few feet in front of him. [SIGHS] Yeah. There’s nothing like that. I mean, he’s pretty darn
special live and up close. CATHERINE BUAN: Lea,
speaking of celebrity icons, having a person
like you, here– I mean your warmth is tremendous. And I think oftentimes, when
people come to see a celebrity icon interviewed one
on one, it’s to see, who’s the real
person underneath. And I have to say,
in a moment, we feel like we all
know you already. But I still have to ask, what
do we not know about Lea? LEA SALONGA: Oh. And Victor’s been one
of my best friends. I mean, he was the gay
of honor at my wedding. And my wedding was a
massive production, and he directed that. So I mean, what do
people not know? I mean, I don’t know. I mean, my life is
pretty much out there. And what you see is
pretty much what you get. And I pride myself on that. I mean, my family is that way. My brother is that way. My mother, oh, gosh, yeah. She’s very transparent. Which is great. I mean, if she has any
disdain for someone, the eyebrow goes up, and you
know where you stand with her. And it’s great. I mean, if you’re in
a good place with her, then she is incredibly warm,
and incredibly hospitable, and generous. But when she starts
to shut down, then it’s like,
good luck to you. I will be in the next
room if you need me. But yeah, incredibly
emotional woman. And I think both my brother
and I, we got some of that from her. But obviously, we
are only half her. And the other half
is as our father, who was very good at keeping
things close to the chest, and at not always
letting other people into what’s going on here. He’s actually a
mechanical engineer. So I’m the daughter
of an engineer. [APPLAUSE] LEA SALONGA: That’s something
not a lot of people know. He went to the US
Merchant Marine Academy in Long Island in New York. I think it’s like, Maritime
something something. It’s a commercial Maritime. That’s kind of what
his concentration was. And so, he did a lot of
that in the Philippines. And other funny
thing is that he said that, when he was
still at the Academy– his story is about him
at the Academy– he used to take the train from
school to the city and watch Broadway shows. And he remembers having seen
“South Pacific” on Broadway. So it’s kind of funny then, that
his daughter many, many, many, many years later, would end
up on the Great White Way herself, not just once, but two
or three times, or four times. Which I think makes
him very proud. I would think. I would hope. So I think my love
for technology must have come from that. So it have been a genetic
predisposition and curiosity for that kind of stuff. EMILY NISHI: Speaking
of curiosity, we’d like to invite the audience
to ask Lea questions directly. Anything you like. It’s not off limits. AUDIENCE: Hi, Lea. My name’s [INAUDIBLE], and I’m
from the YFPA organization. LEA SALONGA: Hey. AUDIENCE: Thanks for being here. My question is, I
saw on YouTube when you were auditioning
for “Miss Saigon.” And I think it was
like, a documentary. Can you tell us about
that experience? Because that was probably
more than 20 years ago or so? LEA SALONGA: Oh, my gosh. That audition was
filmed in 1988. AUDIENCE: Yes. Yes. LEA SALONGA: Oh, my gosh. That was a very,
very long time ago. I was a freshman in college. And I was actually in pre-med. So I would have taken a whole
completely different path into the sciences. So the audition, that is only
a few minutes that actually represented a three day
audition process for me. I mean, the first
day wasn’t filmed. The first day was when all
professional singers and actors were called and
invited to audition. Second day was open call. So I was on the
first day, because I had been a professional
singer in the Philippines for, at the time, 10 years. So I went in to sing. And I strategically
picked a song from “Les Mis,” having a feeling
that it might be possible that the music from
this new musical would be in a very
similar style. And they kind were not. But I mean, at least it gave the
people auditioning me a hurdle, that it was something that they
were already familiar with. And then I sang a
pop song to give them a bit of a range as
to what I could do. So the stuff that was captured
on film was my call back. And I had no idea if I was going
to be called back after that. So I then brought the
libretto of “Les Mis” with me and asked them to autograph it. Because I didn’t think I
would ever see them again. So I figured hey,
you know, what do I have to lose at this point? The experience was
very interesting. I never had a three-day
audition process before. It was something that
was very new to me, and very interesting,
and very nerve-wracking. And I mean, to actually
feel my knees literally knocking against each other
while trying to keep yourself together and singing a song
is extremely difficult. And at the age of 17,
it’s– I don’t know how many 17-year-olds could
go through it. But there were quite
a few teenagers that were able to get over that. And there were a few
of us, not even 20, that headed over to London
to actually start rehearsals for that, show which
was pretty cool. AUDIENCE: I guess they just
sort of stole my question. I was going to ask about working
with Boublil and Schonberg, and what that
experience was like. LEA SALONGA: Well,
the cool thing about having worked with
Boublil and Schonberg– I mean, first of all,
they’re kind of legendary in that they created
this incredible musical that still had a life, and
was just recently turned into a film, which again
starred Hugh Jackman, going back to him. Working with these
two, it’s actually like having your
fathers at first. Because you’re
trying to make sure that you sing their music right,
and that you make them happy. Many, many years later working
with them on other things after having added to my
resume, and after having added to my body of work,
they sort of became equals. And my mouth got a
little more sassy. And Alain remarked,
I don’t remember you being like this
when you were 18. Yeah, we all grow
up sooner or later. But they are incredibly lovely,
lovely men to work with. Incredibly collaborative. And Claude Michel
for me, I will always have a soft spot in my heart
for him, and not only because of his musical gift, but also
for his love for my country, for the Philippines. I mean, he set up Sun
and Moon Foundation, which is an orphanage. And he adopted his
elder daughter– he has two daughters–
his older daughter, Margo, from the Philippines. And he comes back at
least once or twice a year to look in on the
orphanage, and to make sure that everything is
still running smoothly. And I don’t know of anyone
of that kind of stature to have that kind of
consistent commitment to a cause like that, and to
always be able to make time. And he’s brought his
wife Charlotte over to look in on it. Or if he’s unable
to make a trip, then she does on his behalf. And he’s just a wonderful,
wonderful, wonderful man, period, as well as an
incredible musician, to get to work
alongside on projects. And it is an ongoing
relationship. AUDIENCE: I appreciate all the
time you spend with your fans. And like, the stuff
you do on social media is really exciting for us. I had a little
self-deprecating story. I went and heard you four years
ago in Louisville, Kentucky, I guess, at a concert. And you were doing that thing
where you invited audience members up to sing
“Aladdin” with you. And it was exciting, so I
was all psyched to do it. So I jumped up there, and
then I got stage fright, and had to stop. And it was sort of a bummer. Some other guy ran
up to the stage. But then after that, it became
this real terrifying thing, because I thought, wow, I’m
always hesitating in my life, and not making things happen. I couldn’t sleep for two days. It was so ridiculous. And then all my
friends and I, we started calling
these moments where you hesitate Lea
Salonga moments. It became a concept
in our discourse. CATHERINE BUAN: There’s
actually a name now for this. OK. AUDIENCE: So, thanks
for that, I guess. It was really exciting year. LEA SALONGA: That’s a
dubious honor to have. AUDIENCE: I had a lot
of adventures that year, sort of trying to make the most. LEA SALONGA: Aw. Thanks for sharing that story. That’s awesome. [APPLAUSE] AUDIENCE: Hi. My name is Jeannie. Nice to meet you, Lea. I’m in the field of
clinical psychology, so we’re in very
different fields. But as a clinician, one thing
that’s important is self-care. And so it’s a global superstar,
how do you practice self-care? LEA SALONGA: Oh. Well, the video games actually
do help, strangely enough. It’s one way to kind of vent
my anger and frustration without actually taking it
out on an actual human being. So, there’s that. I mean, just taking a wrench and
hitting a zombie in the face, it feels really good to do. And so, I find that
very therapeutic. Just conversations
with my friends. And I always make
sure to have dinner with a close clutch of friends. Victor is one of
them, and we have a close clutch of girlfriends
and other friends in New York City. I’m there so frequently,
so there’s always going to be like, a group outing
of some sort, where we eat, and we talk. And a lot of the time,
it’s not about theatre. We talk about relationships. We talk about children. And then we talk about the stuff
that has absolutely nothing to do with the outside world. We talk about what goes
on in our own lives. And sometimes in
talking things out, you’re able to then, when you
hear yourself say something, then everybody has input. Or if somebody else is
having a relationship issue, me being blunt,
will not even filter the thoughts that
pop into my mind. And they reach my
mouth before my brain can tell me to stop talking. And sometimes, it’s
appreciated, and sometimes it’s, I wish I didn’t hear that. I mean, there’s that. So it’s extremely therapeutic
to kind of get back in touch with the people
that know me best, and with people that know me
unfiltered, and uncensored, and real. I spend a lot of
time with my family. I spend a lot of time with my
daughter, and with my husband. And I guess part
of the self-care is returning to a very
real life of school pickups, and
parent-teacher conferences, and heading to the grocery,
and in doing the stuff to take care of your house. And sometimes, I
guess, in taking care of other human beings, you
kind of take care of yourself also. Because then you have
another responsibility that has absolutely nothing
to do with the work. And sometimes, working
as a performer, and when you have many
pairs of eyes looking at you and trained on you, I mean,
there is always a danger that you turn into this
narcissistic, self-centered monster. So when the energy then goes
from you to something else, then it kind of
balances things out. CHRISTINE SONGCO LAU: OK. So we have some questions
that we gathered online before this event
to make sure we had enough representation for
people that couldn’t make it here. And one of the
questions we had online was from Minnie [INAUDIBLE]
one of the Googlers here. She says, you were a freshman
at Ateneo during my senior year. And the biggest
news at the time was that you got the lead
role in “Miss Saigon. If you had not become a
successful international performer, what would have
been your second career choice? LEA SALONGA: I
really don’t know. It’s not something I
really think about now. I try not to think about
what could’ve been, because what is is
really pretty darn cool. So, I don’t know. I mean, I don’t know that
I would have continued my studies in
medicine, because I didn’t have a head
for chemistry. And just thinking about having
to go through organic chemistry really terrified me. So I’m kind of glad
that things worked out the way that they did. I don’t know. I probably would have
continued on in the arts path, but still kind of
keeping a toehold on the sciences a little
bit, because there were certain things
that did interest me. But then again, I
really don’t know. CHRISTINE SONGCO LAU: OK. One more question from
online, and then we’ll go back to in the room. Another question we had
online from Google Moderator is from Yao Ching. Do you sing in the shower? And if so, what song? LEA SALONGA: I actually
sing in the shower when I need to study material. When there’s a song
that’s really wordy, or a song that’s
really difficult, or something that
I just need to go over and over and over again,
then I do it in the shower. And the acoustics in there
are actually not bad. I can hear my voice really
clearly and be able to focus. So yes, I do, but not in
the way that people do. AUDIENCE: I wanted to ask,
how do you juggle being a mom, and then like the global
superstar that you are? You kind of mentioned some stuff
about picking up from school. It’s just a curiosity of
mine, because I’m a mom too. LEA SALONGA: Really well
thought-out scheduling, I think. And also, shared responsibility. I mean, my husband does
the morning drop-offs, because I cannot do them. Because I’m a night owl. And I hate getting up at
7 o’clock in the morning to do a drop-off. No. I’m doing pick-up. You are doing drop-off. And he’s a morning
person anyway, so it’s not
inconvenient for him. I think it’s just keeping your
priorities straight, and making sure that I spend most of my
time at home with my family. And when I do travel
outside of the country, the time away is limited, or
the time away from my family is limited, especially now that
my daughter’s getting older. And I’m finding that she
needs me more and more now, the older she gets, than
when she was much younger. It’s kind of interesting
how that’s happened. I do spend a lot of time
away from the Philippines when she’s on summer break. Because that is when
I’m able to travel. That’s when I can perform. And then, she comes with me. And then we try to find
interesting stuff for her to do. Museums. I mean, we took her to
the Natural History Museum in New York City when I was
there for a nice, long stay. And so, she got to actually
see dinosaur fossils. And she’s really
interested in dinosaurs, and she wants to be
a paleontologist when she grows up. And a fashion designer,
among other things. Yeah, so I think it’s just
a matter of figuring out what the priorities are, and
then scheduling accordingly. Which was what made “The Voice”
the perfect thing, because I was able to be home and do what
I loved to do at the same time. And because of the
reach of TFC and where ABS-CBN has placed
their networking, I was still seen by an audience
worldwide, or at the very least, in Filipino
homes worldwide, which was pretty cool. AUDIENCE: Thank you. We watched “The Voice”
too, and you were amazing. LEA SALONGA: Thanks. Thank you. And we won. [APPLAUSE] AUDIENCE: Hi. My name’s Rex. I’m with YFPA. It’s funny. When I got the email invite for
this, as I scrolled through it, the first words that caught
my eye were Princess Jasmine. And growing up, “Aladdin” was my
sister and I’s favorite movie. And I was just wondering. So much of Disney’s culture
is very magical, sort of like mysterious. And you got to work on arguably
one of the greatest Disney movies of all time. I was just wondering
if you could just shed some light on your
experience with Disney, and how that was. LEA SALONGA: It’s actually
pretty magical for us too, for the people that work. It’s like being in
the Emerald City, and being behind the curtain
where the Wizard was. But it’s also magical
behind the scenes. I mean, getting to work with
people like Alan Menken and Tim Rice– and these are musical
theater legends as well. Alan Menken having done
“Little Shop of Horrors,” and and now he’s represented
on Broadway in “Newsies,” and also having done
“Beauty and the Beast” and “The Little Mermaid.” And Tim Rice, who wrote
the lyrics for “Evita.” So that’s part of his resume. And so when I got to meet him,
and I was just this huge fan. The behind the scenes stuff. I mean, being cast as a voice
actor in a Disney movie, it’s refreshing, because your
actual appearance as a human being has absolutely no
bearing on whether or not you get the job. You literally can show up in
your pajamas, sing a song, and go home, and it’s all great. But the cool thing about
recording “A Whole New World,” and even “Reflection”
in “Mulan,” is that you do it in a room
with 75 other musicians, and all of you playing in
concert with one another. And for me, that is just an
incredibly magical experience, just singing with an
orchestra of that size. And the caliber of musicians
that are in the room, it’s just mind-blowing for me. And so as a singer, as
a musician, and getting to experience
something like that, and then later on
watching it on screen, there’s still the
whole, “how do they do that” feeling when you’re
watching a magician onstage. Disney is magical, period,
for the people that work behind the scenes as well. “A Whole New World”
was recorded a few days before my 21st birthday. So that was 20 or so years ago. And like, it still
blows my mind that I got to be part of
something that wonderful. AUDIENCE: That’s awesome. Thank you. AUDIENCE: Hi. Christine Velasquez with
Filipino Networking Association of Silicon Valley. First off, it’s such
a treat and a pleasure to be in your presence. I’m sure everyone could agree. I’ve heard you sing. I’ve heard your name
throughout the years. And to share in this energy
today is just such a treat. And being here and
seeing the realness around the way you carry
yourself, how grounded you are, and how down to earth
you are is something that is so appreciated. And I wanted to
acknowledge that. So my question was
brought up earlier about kind of more of the,
how do you balance all this, being on the world stage,
and work-life balance, particularly for
professionals and those who are starting their
careers and such? But you answered that in a
very nice, thoughtful way. So I thought that maybe
sharing more about your passion and following your
passion, obviously. What you’ve done
and accomplished is the epitome of
following your passion and being successful
on so many levels. And if you can share a little
bit of insight on that, and how that has really
helped you get you to where you are today? LEA SALONGA: OK. I think every person’s
passion path is different. But I guess it’s really, try
to go as hard as you can, I guess, when you’re
in your 20’s, when you have the energy to do it. And my mother always
gave this advice. Just focus on your
career when you’re young and getting into that. Because when it comes time
for you to have your family, it will happen when
it’s supposed to happen. But when you’re in your 20’s,
try to focus on your work, and establishing your
place in the world, and figuring all that out. So I think a lot of stuff
happened when I was younger. And then as I got
older, then I started to think about
family and children. And so the work would go, kind
of taper it down a little bit. But then things would
then kind of do this. And so, when I felt my career
would be on an upswing, I felt the need to also
still take advantage of it, but then it also would
involve travel and time away. So I mean, there is still
some degree of sacrifice that needs to be made. And also, I chose
my spouse well, in the sense that his
support for what I do and for me as a
human being is just something I thank God
for every single day. Because I mean, he
says things like this. He’s like, honey, I
mean, I would never ever stop you from doing
what you do, because you are in a unique position
to inspire people. And so, why would I ever
take you away from that, and take that away from you? So I mean, I will
always be behind you, and I will always support you. But in the same
breath also, it’s like, we need you here
at home too though. So I guess it’s just
balancing how much time away, and also figuring
out with my family and with my representatives just
what to accept, where to travel to, where it’s OK, and
trying to schedule things where the whole family
can come with me. And it’s just that
kind of thinking that always has to be
being used up in my mind. EMILY NISHI: So we’re
going to wrap it up. Thank you so much, Lea. I wanted to ask if you had
any parting words, as we start to close, related to
actually being Filipino, and some of the work
you’re doing with PhilDev. We’d love to hear
any advice for us as we try to engage with our
community and inspire others ourselves. LEA SALONGA: Well, first of all,
to everybody here at Google, thank you for the
invitation to come. I mean, as a nerd and
as a bit of a geek, you have no idea how happy
I am to be here right now. You just don’t. There’s that. And for me to be able to share
a little bit of myself with you. And since it’s going to
stream on YouTube, hi. It Is wonderful to align
oneself with an organization, like PhilDev. And because I’m one
who believes more in the “teach a man
to fish” approach to life than “give a man a fish. And I learned this
firsthand, because I put my younger brother
through music school. The return of
investment is going to be incredibly high for
the rest of his natural life, for as long as it keeps
on creating music, for as long as he makes
this world a better place. One, he’s an incredibly
gifted musician. And the whole family felt
recognizing this gift, we have to invest
in his education. And it is that kind of approach
that I guess that PhilDev is employing that
I feel resonates. And being able to help raise
funds for the organization, and being one to bring awareness
to the Filipino community about this organization, it’s
incredibly rewarding for me. So I mean, thanks to
PhilDev for the invitation to be part of Filipino
American History Month, and to help kick it
off this weekend. So, it’s pretty awesome. [APPLAUSE]


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