The following is the full transcript of the live Internet Chat session with actress/singer, LEA SALONGA, the singing voice behind the Disney movie, MULAN, done last July 17, 1998 at the Talk City Live auditorium.

The session was organized by the PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE (PHNO) and TALK CITY and participated by nearly 900 people.  For more information about this session, click here to read the PHNO news story.

Auditorium session start: Friday July 17, 1998 23:00:00 (EST)

<Speaker> And now ::::drum roll::::: appearing for her second
<Speaker> performance in Talk City, let's welcome LIVE,
<Speaker> the talented and gracious,
<Speaker> brought to you by Philippine Headline News Online (tm)
<Speaker> and Talk City(tm); !!!!!

<Speaker> Lea, welcome back to Talk City!

<LeaSalonga> HELLO!!! Nice to be back!

<AskLea> hunnypot says: Was it difficult for you to be accepted in roles that are not strictly in roles meant for Asian females, such as Eponine in "Les Miserables?"

<Speaker> Folks, we're experiencing technical difficulty,
<Speaker> Lea will be right back!
<Speaker> Keep sending your questions!

<Speaker> Lea is back in Talk City tonight by popular request,
<Speaker> for her lead singing role in the animated hit movie,
<Speaker> MULAN!
<Speaker> Lea Salonga made her professional debut at
<Speaker> the age of 7 in Repertory Philippines'
<Speaker> production of The King and I

<Speaker> Lea has since appeared in Cat on A Hot Tin Roof,
<Speaker> Fiddler On The Roof, The Rose Tattoo, Annie,
<Speaker> The Sound of Music, The Goodbye Girl, Paper
<Speaker> Moon and The Fantasticks.

<Speaker> At the age of 10 she began her recording career
<Speaker> and received a gold record for her first album
<Speaker> Small Voice.

<Speaker> She has also hosted her own musical television
<Speaker> show, "Love, Lea", and opened for Stevie Wonder
<Speaker> during his concerts in Manila.

<Speaker> Lea is back with us again!

<Speaker> Folks, Lea will be here shortly!
<Speaker> Keep the questions coming!

<Speaker> In 1989, Lea went to London to play the
<Speaker> role of Kim in the hit musical Miss Saigon
<Speaker> for which she received a Laurence Olivier Award.

<Speaker> Lea is back with us!

<AskLea> mysterygirl says: Lea, welcome back to Talk City! It's really great to see you again! Tell us what have you been up to since we last saw you?

<LeaSalonga> Of all the times for my line to disconnect... it had to be right after the intro! Ah well, things can only get better from here, right? I apologize...

<LeaSalonga> In answer to your questions, the concert in London - Hey Mr. Producer, doing the promotional junket for Mulan in Orlando and just being home and vegging out!!!

<AskLea> chrisscot says: Can you describe your experience in your performance at the Hey Mr. Producer concert?

<LeaSalonga> Oh man! The experience was indescribable... seeing some of the biggest stage stars right there on stage with you... working with some incredible artists... I felt privileged, honored and thrilled!

<AskLea> lovelorn says: How long did MULAN take to film?

<LeaSalonga> All in all, from inception to release, around 5 years. I went on board in 1995.

<AskLea> trumpeter says: What's it like filming an animated movie? What is the biggest challenge?

<LeaSalonga> The biggest challenge? Not having too many visual aids to work off of. With the exception of some rough animation and pencil sketches, all you have to work with are the producer, directors and songwriters to help one along. Then again, it helps me to focus on singing the part without any distractions, which is of great help to the animator.

<AskLea> trunk says: Lea, you are my idol!!! -) Any new projects coming up?

<LeaSalonga> Thanks, trunk! No new projects in the works, but there are a few things being discussed... but I'll keep mum until contracts are signed!

<AskLea> accelerator says: Do people recognize you on the streets?

<LeaSalonga> Only in Manila!

<AskLea> brevity says: Chatting is different from singing, we all wish we could hear your voice while we are chatting. My question is, what do you do to keep you voice in shape for performances?

<LeaSalonga> Get plenty of sleep when I'm working (around 8 hours is perfect!), and warm up before a performance. Without sleep, my voice sounds like a frog's.

<AskLea> actionruler says: Any aspirations for acting??

<LeaSalonga> None really... I'm not into going big in Hollywood. My love is doing musical theater, and if I do that for the rest of my life, I'll be happy.

<AskLea> tryoutking says: What's the funniest thing that has ever happened while filming one of the animated movies??

<LeaSalonga> The funniest thing??? hmmm... things get pretty serious when we're working on one of those things... the audition for Aladdin was funny though... It was the first audition where the people auditioning me bowed their heads to NOT look at what I looked like, but concentrate on my singing. It was a little strange, but I understood the reason.

<AskLea> nockabout says: You had a TV show too, didn't you? What was the name of it, and what was it about?

<LeaSalonga> I hosted a few TV shows, but my own show was called "Love, Lea" and I hosted it with my brother Gerard. It was a mini-variety show for kids.

<AskLea> mumbojumbo says: I heard you opened for Stevie Wonder...wow!!!! What is he like to work with?

<LeaSalonga> I didn't really get to work with him unfortunately, but I did get to meet him and he was very nice. He's one of those people who can sing all night if given the chance.

<AskLea> starward says: What Broadway plays have you been in, and what were your roles?

<LeaSalonga> I've been in Miss Saigon (Kim), and Les Miserables (Eponine). Two in one lifetime ain't bad, but I'd love to do more.

<AskLea> popup says: You have any records out? Where can we find them?

<LeaSalonga> If you're in Manila, my newest album "In Love" was just released last July 2. It's available in any record store. However, in the US, the last recording released was the Les Miz 10th anniversary.

<AskLea> murray says: Do you have a website?

<LeaSalonga> Yes I do... http://www.xnet.com/~wmeistr/LEA/.

<AskLea> heloooo says: When you made the transition from acting and singing in Philippines to the U.S. was it hard? What were the differences and most noted changes you had to make to adjust?

<LeaSalonga> It wasn't too difficult... the most difficult part was performing everyday, doing 8 shows a week. I never did that in Manila, so it was a shock to my body. However, thanks to voice lessons (and fewer shows), I survived and got tougher. Now, 8 shows is easy to do.

<AskLea> anytimepal says: Have you performed for any royalty or nobility?

<LeaSalonga> Yes, I have... most notably for Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.

<AskLea> ry-q says: Lea, with all your success in life, what would be the one thing that you cherish the most and why?

<LeaSalonga> My privacy. It's the one thing I'm protective about.

<AskLea> fmc says: Lea, when is your video for the concert in San Francisco coming out in the US?

<LeaSalonga> It isn't... we saw the video, and the quality was questionable.

<AskLea> q-tippppp says: Do you have any advice to give to young performers trying to get started in musical theatre or the music industry in general??

<LeaSalonga> Advice? Well, first: determine if you have the talent to make it.  Second: train with a good teacher. Third: try your luck at auditions and see how you do.  Fourth: if you get into a show, work your butt off like anything, and strive for nothing less than perfection.

<AskLea> fmc says: Lea, any guest appearances scheduled this year at any talk shows in the US?

<LeaSalonga> I wish! I'd love to do Rosie and Oprah one day..

<AskLea> fmc says: When is your next concert here in the US? Where?

<LeaSalonga> I don't know yet... hopefully I get to do one in New York soon. It's the one place where I haven't done a concert.

<AskLea> fmc says: Did you enjoy your performance in New York for Miss Saigon more than that in the U.K.?

<LeaSalonga> Yes, I did... because I got over the adjustment period of doing the show, performing in New York was a breeze. It was just about having fun this time, without as much of the initial pressure.

<AskLea> q-tippppp says: If you were to make another American album, which American producers would like to work with?

<LeaSalonga> There are a lot of wonderful producers, so I wouldn't know where to start. Definitely one who's good at making lush orchestrations. I love that!

<AskLea> ry-q says: I know that you probably have seen and been to many beautiful places, my question is this- where would you want to settle down in the future? =)

<LeaSalonga> Probably New York. There ain't no place like it!

<AskLea> diane says: What was the premier showing of MULAN like? Where was the premier shown? Were you there personally?

<LeaSalonga> I was only at the Philippine premiere, not at the Hollywood Bowl one. I was in London doing Hey Mr. Producer when the film premiered in LA. My brother went though... and said it was amazing! He kept a blanket as a souvenir.

<AskLea> diane says: Just want to tell you that everytime I listen to the music, you singing "Reflections" just totally blows me away! Great voice, Lea!!! My question: Are you recording your own personal CD or cassette at present to include your Disney songs, "Reflection" included?

<LeaSalonga> Thanks! No, I'm not doing a record right now to include Reflection, but that's an idea. Incidentally, there's a longer version of the song I sang, and I think Michelle Kwan skates to that version.

<AskLea> reechee says: Lea...is it true you're getting married next year?

<LeaSalonga> Nope! My boyfriend's brother is the one getting married. I have yet to get a proposal!

<AskLea> clause says: Do you still go back to the Philippines for visits? Where do you live in the US?

<LeaSalonga> I'm chatting from the Philippines as we speak! Oh, in the US I live in New York.

<AskLea> clause says: Are you doing any Broadway show these days?

<LeaSalonga> I wish!

<AskLea> jl says: How do you think, as an Asian, one can break into the musical theatre scene in the US or UK?

<LeaSalonga> In my opinion, I believe it's a matter of having the talent and a lot of perseverance. And a good work ethic that everyone can respect. But to break in, a lot of luck is involved too.

<AskLea> chrisscot says: Have you accepted the role for the 10th Anniversary from Cameron?

<LeaSalonga> First things first... they have to ask me to do it. But I would if they did!

<AskLea> puding says: Is there any chance of releasing an international album again?

<LeaSalonga> Not anytime soon unfortunately... It'll be a while before I get one done. I need to meet with producers first to find a perfect match before getting into the studio.

<AskLea> nahtanoj says: Where do you see yourself in ten years?

<LeaSalonga> Married... with children!

<AskLea> nahtanoj says: Is there some comprehensive list of all your recordings (e.g. the version of "A Whole New World" released in the Philippines and "Animal Tales")?

<LeaSalonga> No, there isn't. Because these projects were made with different recording companies, it may not be possible for one comprehensive recording.

<AskLea> puding says: What was the last movie you saw?

<LeaSalonga> Aside from Mulan? hmmm... the last films I saw in New York were Godzilla and The Truman Show.

<AskLea> nahtanoj says: Can you describe your new album in the Philippines "Lea...In Love"?

<LeaSalonga> It's an album of love songs written by a few of the Philippines' more illustrious and prolific female songwriters. It's not loud or heavy... just easy listening... just right for listening with a pertner.

<LeaSalonga> oops! partner.

<AskLea> nahtanoj says: Would you consider singing in the "Mulan" sequels which are bound to be released?

<LeaSalonga> Why not?

<AskLea> nahtanoj says: What one sentence best describes who you are and what's important to you?

<LeaSalonga> In one sentence? I am one very loyal, hardworking, professional NUTBAG! I'm crazy with my friends. and protective of the people I love.

<AskLea> chrisscot says: If you could describe Miss Saigon in three words, what would they be? Hard one huh?

<LeaSalonga> Three words??? Tough, tough, TOUGH!!! But seriously... fulfilling, challenging... and a joy to do.

<AskLea> anthem says: Lea, I am sure that you have much experience with auditioning. I myself enjoy singing and go to MANY auditions. How do you prepare yourself. And, if you don't make it, how do you cope. P.S. You're an inspiration and I love your voice!

<LeaSalonga>... It's as much as a root canal. I get very nervous and terrified before an audition, so I deal with it by making sure that I'm thoroughly prepared before stepping into the audition room. At least then, my reflexes will kick in, and I'll be able to get through.

<AskLea> kaibigan says: Lea, do you have any plans to do another Filipino movie, perhaps with Aga Mulach or Ariel Rivera?

<LeaSalonga> There are no plans for another Filipino movie. On this visit to Manila, I don't have to time to make one.

<AskLea> user says: What do you prefer to do on your freetime.

<LeaSalonga> Aside from sleep? Watch films, eat out, tinker with my computer (MAC RULES!!!), read, listen to music, and complete the occasional jigsaw puzzle.

<AskLea> steph-paris says: How do you relate to the work of Stephen Sondheim?

<LeaSalonga> His early work or later work? I don't know how I personally relate to them, but I do know that they are wonderful works to listen to. And as I discovered by doing into the woods and that Sondheim medley in Hey Mr. Producer... his stuff is a lot of fun to sing.

<AskLea> figuresk8r says: I was wondering if the song "It's Just goodbye" off your album was written specifically for you?

<LeaSalonga> No, it wasn't. It was already written before I snatched it. Great song though.

<AskLea> ugadawg says: I would like to know how did Ms. Salonga interact with the animators? Were they in the room sketching while she sang?

<LeaSalonga> Yes, they were. I was also videotaped for animation purposes.

<AskLea> cantabile says: Lea, I realize that you go through a lot of rehearsals, but could you please tell us how you mentally prepare for a performance, and how does it differ between a closed recording session, a long-running play (especially after several weeks), or one-time concerts.

<LeaSalonga> The process is pretty much the same... I study the songs and get all of them in my head (although in a recording session, I can read the lyrics and use the sheets for notes -- character, emotion, etc)... in a long running show, after a few months I have to check my script to make sure I remain true to the original intention of the scenes I'm doing... but the basic process is the same.

<AskLea> ally says: Was the transition from being Kim to Eponine difficult vocally?

<LeaSalonga> It was an easy transition to make, since Eponine was a shorter role. I found Eponine to be an easier sing.

<AskLea> bigsexy82 says: OK, were you able to meet Robin Williams when you worked on Aladdin? If so, is he as nice in person as everyone says he is?

<LeaSalonga> I never got to meet him! I wish I did though.

<AskLea> eponine14 says: Did you make a special version of "Reflection" for Michelle Kwan???

<LeaSalonga> No, I didn't... the original version of the song (circa 1995) was much longer than what's on the film now. In 1997, I updated that original version to be more similar to the film version (same lyrics in the first verses)... I wish that that was the version released on CD... ah well, hopefully someday... but it wasn't recorded just for Michelle.

<AskLea> ben1234 says: Loved Mulan. Did you like the story before you did the movie

<LeaSalonga> I didn't know the story before working on the movie... so I didn't grow up with the legend. I did fall in love with her character when I started to work on the film.

<AskLea> bigdamulog says: I loved the little part you sang in "A Girl Worth Fighting For'' Did you get to sing with the guys or was it all done separately?

<LeaSalonga> I did that separately.

<AskLea> calculus_1998 says: I am just curious how old is the Mulan legend in China?

<LeaSalonga> It's supposed to be around 2,000 years old.

<AskLea> reechee says: Lea...didn't Disney fear a little bit that Mulan is going to sound the same as Jasmine? Did you have to sing "differently"?

<LeaSalonga> I didn't consciously sing differently, but because the two films are so different (and the registers in which I sing as Jasmine and Mulan are different), I didn't have to think about it. But I do sound more like myself in Mulan than in Aladdin.

<AskLea> trixie14 says: Would you ever consider taking a job in a movie as a human instead of a carton?

<LeaSalonga> Of course!

<AskLea> eponine14 says: When did you first know you were going to be an actress on stage???

<LeaSalonga> I never made the conscious choice until I was in my late teens-early 20s. Up until then, it was only an after-school hobby, but not a career choice.

<Speaker> Folks, it looks as if we've lost Lea again.

<Speaker> We thank you all for coming!
<Speaker> As the spotlight dims, our show comes to an end tonight.
<Speaker> We Thank You our Great Audience
<Speaker> and a very special Thank You to our Guest
<Speaker> Lea Salonga
<Speaker> We look forward to seeing you back here again soon.

<Speaker> Talk City Live was produced in conjunction with
<Speaker>  Philippine Headline News Online(tm) & Talk City(tm),
<Speaker> a production of LiveWorld, Productions Inc.

<Speaker> If you would like to provide feedback on this chat please
<Speaker> go to. http://www.onnow.com/feedback.shtml
<Speaker> The feedback will help us to provide you with a best chat
<Speaker> experience online and provide valuable editorial for
<Speaker> OnNow - Liveworld's guide to live events.

<Speaker> Want to learn more about Lea?
<Speaker> Visit her website at:
<Speaker> http://compose-it.com/lea

<Speaker> Want to be the FIRST to find out
<Speaker> when your favorite celebrity is online?
<Speaker> go to http://www.talkcity.com/tcp/subscribe.htmpl
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<Speaker> on who the hottest stars are on Talk City!

<Speaker> We would like to take this time to thank you ALL!
<Speaker> Are there any final thoughts you'd like to leave us with?

<LeaSalonga> Were??? You mean we're done already??? We can't be done already!!!

<LeaSalonga> Well, sorry that I wasn't able to answer all the questions (what with getting disconnected and this lightning storm)... hopefully if there's another session, it'll run better.

<LeaSalonga> Well, as for final thoughts... I apologize again for not being able to answer every question... but thanks for joining me tonight! Hopefully if there's a next time, the weather will be clear and the connections solid. Thanks folks! Don't forget to visit my web page, and to the folks in Manila, buy my album, In love. And to those in the US, watch Mulan, if you haven't yet.

<LeaSalonga> Thanks everyone! See you all soon! Good night!

Auditorium Session Close: Saturday July 18, 1998 00:33:12 (EST)

(c) Copyright 1998-2005 by PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE


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