Nina performing at Ayala Center Cebu, June 2011
Marifil Nina Barinos Girado
November 1, 1980
Marifil Nina Barinos Girado-Enriquez (born November 1, 1980), known professionally as Nina, is a Filipina singer, occasional songwriter, record producer, TV and radio personality. She made her recording debut in 2002 after signing a recording contract with Warner Music Philippines. Following the release of her debut album, she received numerous awards from different organizations and multiple album certifications by the Philippine Association of the Record Industry (PARI). She established her position in the Philippine music industry in 2005 after releasing her third album Nina Live!. The album earned her the first ever Diamond award for a female OPM artist. In the same year, she staged a Nina Live! concert at the Araneta Coliseum which became her biggest solo concert to date.
In 2006, she released her self-titled album which earned her the most nominations (eight) for the Awit Awards. Later, she was criticized for releasing too many covers, and got in a feud with her ex-boyfriend Nyoy Volante's parents when she filed a lawsuit against them. She regained success in 2009 after performing and touring with the Sessionistas. In the same year, she released her last studio album under Warner, Renditions of the Soul, which was taken from her Wave 89.1 radio show of the same title. The album was both critically and commercially successful. She signed a recording deal with Universal Records in 2010, and represented her country in the Pattaya International Music Festival a year later.
In a career spanning over a decade, Nina was cited as the artist who popularized the acoustic phenomenon in the Philippines. In 2004, the Philippine Business Excellence Award named her as the No. 1 Female R&B Singer in the country. In addition, MEGA listed her as One of the Women to Watch in 2004. In 2009, Nina Live! was certified Diamond by the PARI, becoming the fourth biggest-selling album in OPM history. It holds the record for best-selling live album and best-selling Filipino album of the 2000s, also making Nina the first female Diamond recipient in the Philippine music scene. She was named as the best-selling female recording artist of 2009 by the Guillermo Mendoza Memorial Scholarship Foundation. In 2011, Wave 89.1 Urban Music Awards presented her a Special Achievement Award for her contributions to the music industry. Aside from her commercial success, she has earned ten Awit Awards.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Career
- 3 Artistry
- 4 Philanthropy and other activities
- 5 Legacy and accolades
- 6 Discography
- 7 Filmography
- 8 See also
- 9 Notes
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Marifil Nina Girado was born on November 1, 1980 in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines. She is the third child of Filbert Girado Sr., a businessman and member of the Bayanihan Boys Choir, and Maria Daulet (née Barinos), a nurse who plays piano. Her parents raised her in Quezon City together with her siblings Dewanne, who is member of the band Lipstick, King, who is also a singer, and Patrick, who is a musical director. When Nina was five years old, she started singing in a corner of a room and her father noticed it. After seeing the potential in his daughter, Filbert trained her critically. Like the traditional technique of vocalization, she was submerged into a drum of water while belting out her high notes. Later, she was declared as daily winner on GMA Lunchdate's "Bulilit Jamboree" in 1985. In 1991, she joined the most popular defunct talent search in the Philippines, Tanghalan ng Kampeon, where she became a champion for seven weeks.
Filbert's plans for Nina have changed when she grew older. Instead of a professional music career, he wanted his daughter to earn college degree, and to join him in the United States to find work. She took up Accountancy at Miriam College, since she was good at numbers. Her father insisted that she would take up Law as a latter course. Because of too much love for singing, she disobeyed her father and joined different bands. He eventually gave up on trying to stop her, and just told her to maintain good grades. She did get good grades, and was even a consistent dean's lister.
At seventeen, Nina became a vocalist of the XS band. In 2000, she finished Accountancy while performing for different bands including The Big Thing, MYMP, Silk and the Essence. After college, she recorded an amateur demo CD with the help of a friend. It was composed of three tracks, including the Steve Perry song "Foolish Heart", "Breathe Again" and "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)", recorded in a home studio with only a guitar for accompaniment. Her brother King brought her demo to different recording labels. Ricky Ilacad, who was managing director of Warner Music Philippines at that time, heard the demo and immediately wanted to sign her up even without seeing or hearing her in person. Two months after her father died of a heart attack in the U.S., she signed her first recording contract with Warner.
2002–04: Heaven and Smile
In the last quarter of 2002, Nina released her debut album under Warner Music, entitled Heaven, alongside her first single of the same title. The album is inspired by contemporary R&B and pop music, and it was well received by critics, with The Philippine Star stating "Heaven is quite a package. Production is sleek and Nina’s delivery, smooth [...] it is never heavy nor frenetic. It is instead used as a stable base for Nina’s sweet but definitely multi-octave singing voice. This is surely her strongest point and it is really a blessing to know that she can skillfully wield her vocals to conform to the demands of every song." The lead single, "Heaven", did not really become a commercial hit despite peaking inside the top ten of Philippine charts. In December 2002, "2nd Floor" was released as a radio-only single. Even though the song was not commercially released, it charted inside the top ten and won her the Best R&B Song award on the 16th Annual Awit Awards in 2003. "Jealous" was released as the second official single and it became Nina's first number one hit, topping various Philippine charts for three weeks. It also allowed her to grab the Best New Artist award on both Awit Awards and MTV Pilipinas Music Awards in 2003. The third commercial single is her acoustic version of Steve Perry's "Foolish Heart", which became her second number one single as it charted even better than her previous releases. The song was a critical acclaim, being described by critics as "proof of Nina's musicality." "Loving You", a Ric Segreto original, became the last commercial single from Heaven. It did not top the local charts, but peaked inside the top five. In October 2003, the album was re-released when it reached the double platinum mark.
In December 2003, Nina released her second studio album, Smile, accompanied by its lead single, "Make You Mine". The album's sound is bigger and bolder than her debut album's, consisting of upbeat rhythmic jams and powerful sentimental ballads. "Make You Mine" was described as a "rich harmonic chemistry of Nina's mesmerizing vocals and hypnotic urban-style beats with a blend of funky strings, an upbeat R&B piece that offers a blissful listening experience." It became her third number one single, making Nina the first female OPM artist to have three number one singles in a span of one year. The following single, "A Girl Can Dream", features her labelmate Christian Bautista in the music video. The song peaked inside the top five of charts. "Sayang Naman" is the first Tagalog single that she released and it became the last commercial single from the album. It reached the top ten of local charts, but is considered to be her least successful single at the time. Smile gave Nina her songwriting debut when she wrote the song "Can't Say I Love You" in it. The song was described as a "sensually engaging ballad."
In early 2004, Nina became part of the recording for the song "Biyahe Tayo" which was used for the WOW Philippines...Biyahe Tayo! campaign. The campaign was founded for the promotion of Philippine Tourism. Artists who participated in the campaign included Lea Salonga, Sharon Cuneta, Francis Magalona and other famous Filipino acts. In November of the same year, she was chosen by popular American songwriter Diane Warren to record the Cyndi Lauper original "I Don't Want to Be Your Friend", which became a chart-topping hit in the country, for Warren's love songs compilation album Diane Warren Presents Love Songs. She is the only Asian artist featured on the album. In the same month, Warner Music Philippines released a Christmas album which features her and some of the label's in-demand acts at the time, including Christian Bautista, Kitchie Nadal, Dice & K9, Paolo Santos, Thor and Artstrong. The album was followed by their first major concert as a group, held at the Folk Arts Theater, entitled Pop Ko 'To! The All-Star, All-Hits Concert. In the same year, she appeared on the debut albums of Bautista and her brother, King.
2005–07: Commercial success with Nina Live! and Nina
In 2005, Nina temporarily broke away from the urban-influenced sound to record covers of classic love songs. She came out with her first live album, Nina Live!. The album is composed of classic love songs from the 1970s to the 1990s, which she recorded live at the PHI Resto and Bar in Metro Manila on January 30, 2005. According to her, the idea of a live album started when Warner saw her performing on different bars and lounges. The label told her, "Why not put it in CD form or in a DVD, so that the people could take home [her] show." The first single, "Love Moves in Mysterious Ways", was released in February 2005 along with the album. It peaked at number one on local charts for twelve consecutive weeks, becoming Nina's biggest hit to date. Before the second single was released, Nina Live! was already certified 3× Platinum by the Philippine Association of the Record Industry (PARI), eventually selling 90,000 units in the Philippines. "Through the Fire" is the second official single which also peaked at number one for a week. The song features her highest recorded vocal register in full chest voice to date. "Constantly" was released as the third official single and was immediately followed by the final commercial single, "I Love You Goodbye". Nina Live! sold over 300,000 copies in the Philippines in 2009, earning a 10× Platinum (Diamond) certification by the PARI, and grabbing the fourth place on Philippines' best-selling albums list. It also made Nina the first female OPM artist (third OPM artist) in the country to receive a Diamond record award. Aside from over-performing commercially, Nina Live! was well received by OPM critics. In a review, Titik Pilipino stated "this album only proves that Nina can do wonderfully with covers."
Nina Live! was later released in home video, and was followed by a concert at the Araneta Coliseum. In 2005, Nina was listed at No. 75 on Philippines' FHM 100 Sexiest Women in the World. In the same year, she collaborated with American singer Joe Pizzulo in his album, All the Best. In 2006, she dated long-time friend and fellow acoustic singer Nyoy Volante, but the two broke up a year later. In February 2006, she was chosen to sing the theme song for I Will Always Love You, which eventually became the highest-grossing movie of GMA Films. In June of the same year, Goldilocks Bakeshop chose her as spokesperson for their 40th anniversary (40 Thoughtful Years), where she recorded the promotional song "Araw Mo". In the same year, she appeared on Hotsilog: The ASAP Hotdog Compilation, covering Hotdog's seductive ballad "Lumapit Ka".
Nina released her self-titled fourth album in August 2006. She decided to release a self-titled album due to the fact that she has already established her name as an artist, and would like the public to know her as who she really is. She also admitted that Nyoy Volante was an inspiration for the album, saying "[Volante's compositions] were just so beautiful and inspiring that eventually I was encouraged to create an all-original album." Titik Pilipino praised her in a review, saying "Nina does almost everything right [...] She’s more refined, polished." On the November–December 2006 issue of MYX Mag, Mike Luis of Freestyle reacted positively to the album, stating "The mid-tempo tracks are groove-worthy, the slow jams are sexy, and the two remakes were nicely done." "I Do", a song that is heavily influenced by R&B-dance, was released as the album's lead single, but it was the second single, "Someday", that topped the local charts, staying in the position for eight weeks. "Someday" also received positive response from music critics. The Philippine Daily Inquirer described the song as "introspective, traffic-stopping [...] that boasts of a rich melody and Nina’s emotive panache." In 2007, she released the third and final commercial single, "I Can't Make You Love Me", which was both critically and commercially successful. The song topped the radio charts and became a critical acclaim, with the Philippine Daily Inquirer stating "Bonnie Raitt’s anthemic song for the lovelorn is hard to top, but Nina gives a beautifully dressed-down version."
In August 2007, Nina was chosen by Sean Lim, director of sci-fi indie film Xenoa, to record the theme song, "Collide", for the movie. The song was nominated for Best Song Written for Movie/TV/Stage Play on the 2008 Awit Awards. In October 2007, she re-released her self-titled album in a special limited edition entitled Nina Featuring the Hits of Barry Manilow. The album consists of two discs—the standard edition and a 9-track compilation which features her renditions of Barry Manilow originals. It is also considered to be a product of her Very Manilow concert at the Music Museum. "Somewhere Down the Road" and "If I Should Love Again" were released as commercial singles, and both peaked at number two on local charts. A few days after the release of Nina Featuring the Hits of Barry Manilow, Warner and Club Myx (the label) released her first remix album in collaboration with DJ Dense Modesto, entitled Nina in the Mix: The Dense Modesto Remixes. Also in 2007, she became part of Thor's cover album Soul Obsessions... Duets with Thor, singing a Mariah Carey original, "Whenever You Call". In 2008, Nina Featuring the Hits of Barry Manilow earned a Platinum certification by the PARI, making Nina (the album) double platinum.
2008–10: Professional and personal struggles, and Renditions of the Soul
In 2008, Nina released another cover album, where Warner collaborated with Diane Warren for the second time. It is entitled Nina Sings the Hits of Diane Warren, and consists of successful ballad hits written by Warren. The album was certified Gold by the PARI after one week of commercial release, and eventually, it turned Platinum. Its official singles include the Aerosmith original, "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing", and the Faith Hill original, "There You'll Be", which Nina describes as a "thank you" to her fans. She expressed her gratitude in an interview, saying "I still have much to fulfill [...] I owe it to my fans [...] showering me with love and unbridled affection." The album was panned by critics, with Titik Pilipino stating "To be honest, what [they]'ve been expecting at this point in Nina's career is an album of original compositions suited to her voice [...] she didn't have to shout and be a vocal Chinese acrobat." OPM critics reacted negatively to the kind of musical process she was doing, noticing that her most popular albums, Nina Live! and Nina Featuring the Hits of Barry Manilow, contain covers. Her most popular singles, "Love Moves in Mysterious Ways", "Foolish Heart" and "Through the Fire", are also revivals. In an interview with the entertainment press at Red Box, Nina defended herself, saying "It's fulfilling to sing any song, maybe a cover or an original song, just the fact that I'm singing is fulfilling enough." She further stated that her fans were the ones who requested it. In the same year, she was featured on the self-titled debut album of Gabby Concepcion.
In January 2009, ASAP, a variety show on ABS-CBN where Nina has been a regular performer since 2003, paired her with other ASAP mainstay artists, who are also in-demand performers in various bars and restaurants, namely Duncan Ramos, Aiza Seguerra, MYMP, Sitti and Richard Poon, forming a group called the "Sessionistas." The Sessionistas became the most-requested jamming segment on the show, leading the ABS-CBN management to hold an ASAP Sessionistas major concert at the Araneta Coliseum. The concert at the big dome was sold-out, and it was followed with other sold-out concerts in Cebu City, Batangas City and on their U.S. tour. On May 8, 2009, she was invited to guest on STAR World's TV show, Asia Uncut, becoming the only Filipino to visit the show, aside from Lea Salonga. During the interview, she was officially tagged as the "Asia's Soul Siren."
In an interview with SNN: Showbiz News Ngayon's Kris Aquino in early 2009, Nina stated that she would file an estafa (fraud) case against ex-boyfriend Nyoy Volante's parents Evangeline and Oliver for not paying their debts. She added that in 2007, the couple borrowed ₱1.4 million from her. The following year, Oliver issued several checks as payment for their debt. Some of the checks, however, bounced, she said. She further stated that in July 2008, she entered into a compromise agreement with the couple under which Evangeline immediately paid her ₱300,000 in cash. The couple also agreed to settle the balance of ₱1.1 million in monthly installments—from August 20, 2008 to February 20, 2010. They later gave her nineteen postdated checks which were signed by Oliver. Nina said that although she was able to cash some of the checks, some—which totaled ₱550,000—were not honored due to insufficient funds.
In September 2009, Nina released her fifth studio album, Renditions of the Soul, another cover album which came from her special weekly acoustic radio show of the same title which aired on Wave 89.1 during Friday and Sunday evenings. The album gave her record-producing debut when she produced all the album's tracks herself. It was well received by critics, with Manila Bulletin stating "The 17-track album is more emotionally subtle, yet the songs just have as equally powerful messages like her previous hits [...] Nina’s singing perfectly renders the message of every selection: Love, longing and the purity of emotional surrender." "I'm Yours" was released in May 2010 as the only commercial single from the album. Warner held a sing-along contest for Nina fans and the winner got the chance to be on the single's music video. However, the single had no promotion, since Nina has left the label during its release. The video barely features her, and just shows some of her photos from the Renditions of the Soul album photo shoot. The album was commercially successful, being able to reach Platinum status in July 2010 despite having the least promotion.
After receiving a Diamond certification by the PARI for Nina Live! in October 2009, Sarah Geronimo's fans protested Nina getting the award ahead of Geronimo. Nina immediately stated in an interview that she deserves the award, and that there was no conflict between her and Geronimo. In an interview in November 2009, she revealed that she is engaged with her non-showbiz boyfriend, a businessman whom she named Enrico "Coy" Enriquez. Early in 2010, she had sold-out concerts with multi-diamond awardee Jose Mari Chan, Freestyle, Side A, Richard Poon, Sam Milby and The Company, including her two-night solo concert at the Music Museum entitled Nina... The Diamond Soul Siren. On June 30, 2010, she performed the song "Bagong Pilipinas", together with other artists, on the inauguration of Philippine President Benigno Aquino III. She wore a green Filipiniana dress for the event. On July 9, 2010, she performed with South Border and Kris Lawrence on Usher's concert in Manila as a front act. On September 11, 2010, she performed live on Billy Crawford's 25 B.C. concert at the Music Museum as a special guest. In October 2010, Warner released her four-disc box set greatest hits compilation, entitled Diamond: Greatest Hits 2002-2010. Her cover of "Love Will Lead You Back" was used as the album's only single. In December 2010, she performed "Hagkan", which was originally recorded by Sharon Cuneta, as theme song for ABS-CBN TV series Sabel. In 2010, she was named as the best-selling female recording artist of 2009 by the Guillermo Mendoza Memorial Scholarship Foundation. In the same year, she also appeared on the albums of Jay R, Kris Aquino and Poon.
2011–13: International exposure, Stay Alive and All Good
In January 2011, Nina was given a Special Achievement Award by the Wave 89.1 Urban Music Awards for releasing notable chart-topping hits and reaching Diamond certification with Nina Live!. On February 5, 2011, she had a pre-Valentine concert with the Sessionistas at the Araneta Coliseum entitled ASAP Sessionistas 20.11. Her performances of "Note to God" and "Got to Be There" were applauded by fans and critics alike. She was supposed to portray the roles of Megara and Deianira on Hercules 12, a pop-emo musicale, but later dropped out due to conflicts with her schedule. On March 18, 2011, she performed three of her past hit singles, including "Someday", at the Pattaya International Music Festival 2011 Galaxy Stage in Thailand. Before the event, she was given the "Golden Key to the City of Pattaya" recognition by the city mayor, and hung out with other Asian artists who participated on the music festival. On March 25, 2011, a documentary featuring her and Gary Valenciano was aired on TvN Asia (Korea). In June 2011, issues of maltreatment to her former personal assistant surfaced the news. She denied the allegations, saying that her former P.A. has always been given proper compensation and that the Volantes are probably the ones responsible for the rumor. In August 2011, she joined the ASAP Sessionistas' second U.S. tour which ended in September. In December 2011, she became part of concerts by Noel Cabangon and Duncan Ramos. In the same year, she was featured on the albums of Kris Aquino and Cabangon.
Late in 2010, Nina revealed that she was recording a studio album set for release in mid-January 2011. It was originally set to be the first of her two-album recording deal with her new label, Universal Records. After a couple of push-backs, Stay Alive was finally released on November 19, 2011. In choosing such title for the album, she explained, "It's like some people are saying that I'm gone [...] So I’m here to say that I’m still here and staying alive." She called the album "special" due to the fact that she contributed from its musical production to the cover art design." Stay Alive was a universal acclaim, being called "futuristic and edgy" by critics who also predicted that it "may set new trends in Filipino music," tagging Nina as the new "dance diva." Philippine Entertainment Portal praised the album, stating "Stay Alive is a testament to Nina's evolution as an artist and determination to be a better performer." "Dance" was released on October 6, 2011 as the lead single from the album. Nina explained, "The carrier single is a dance song for it to be different from my previous albums." The song is described as "an upbeat track with a catchy melody." Its music video was released on December 9, and features Nina in Gaga-ish costumes while performing a dance routine. Due to lack of promotion, the song failed to achieve commercial success. On January 30, 2012, "However Much Love" was released as a radio-only pre-Valentine single. The song was critically acclaimed, being called a "standout" by Abby Mendoza of Philippine Entertainment Portal. It also performed well commercially, becoming Nina's first chart-topper since 2008. On February 13, she staged a pre-Valentine concert entitled Update Your Status... at the Music Museum, which supported the album. In the same month, she expressed disappointment with the album's lack of promotion, saying "[Universal] always have a meeting, but no actions are initiated. They give us schedules that are not really followed. When it's already okay, then they cancel it." On April 14, she staged another concert at the Music Museum, entitled Timeless: Tribute to a Diva, which was dedicated to late pop diva Whitney Houston. "Believe in the Dream" was released on April 24, 2012 as the third single from Stay Alive, accompanied by a lyric video.
On May 8, 2012, Nina signed a five-year recording deal with Viva Records, following the expiration of her contract with Universal. In an interview, she stated that during her Love2Love2Love concert in 2010—which was produced by Viva Entertainment, the label's head Vicente Del Rosario, Jr. expressed interest in managing her career. However, she has already signed under Universal at the time. Shortly after her separation with the label, she transferred to Viva with the help of Geleen Eugenio. She expressed working on a new album, saying that it will have "the same Nina sound [...] New songs maybe, can be cover, can be original, but we’re eyeing on original songs." She had her acting debut with the label, stating "I'll be going to Singapore to do acting workshop. Because I myself, honestly, don't know much about acting. So if ever I will star in a movie, I'm not half-baked, I'll be prepared. And also for myself, I want to be prepared, especially if I'm heading straight into a new direction." Nina posed on the Burlesque-inspired cover of Playboy Philippines magazine's May—June 2012 special issue, where she is seen nude with only her private body parts being covered. She stated that it was personally her decision to do a daring shoot, and later explained that it is her way of "immortalizing herself in her best shape yet." She also mentioned working on a big theatrical play as preparation for her acting debut. In October 2012, she appeared in a cameo role for the film A Secret Affair, where she performed the movie theme song "Don't Say Goodbye". In the last quarter of 2012, she was given a weekly segment on TV5 variety show Wil Time Bigtime entitled "InstaJam," and was promoted to regular performer in 2013 for the segment entitled "Mini Concierto," under the show's new title Wowowillie.
On January 25, 2013, Nina staged her comeback concert at the Music Museum entitled Nina Reborn, accompanied by the release of her first album under Viva Records entitled All Good. The concert had its cable television premiere on May 4, 2013 at 9:30P.M. PST on Filipino cable channel PBO (Pinoy Box Office). Manila Bulletin gave Nina Reborn positive response, saying "Nina as a powerhouse singer is a given, but the seeming restraint she demonstrated that night was just as effective and lent her vocals more heft and soul." The Philippine Star stated, "Nina is one of those interpreters who can take on any song [...] The results are very good." All Good consists mostly of original songs, with five cover versions of OPM classics. The album was a critical acclaim, with The Philippine Star explaining that its purpose is "not to surpass her previous achievements, but to empower its belief that [Nina] has more to offer as a recording artist." Journal praised the album's sound, stating "A more mature Nina is what people will hear [...] All Good is a suite of beautiful songs." "Sa Isang Tingin" was released on February 23, 2013 as lead single for the album. It was described to having a "strong melody [that is] somewhat influenced by high-recall Tagalog songs of the yesteryears." Despite being claimed as an official single, no music video was recorded for the song's promotion. On March 3, "Hurting Inside" was released as a promotional single, accompanied by a lyric video published on Viva Records' official YouTube page. On October 22, "When the Love Is Gone" was used as theme song for the 2013 romantic drama film of the same title.
2014–present: Hiatus, pregnancy and return to Warner Music
In February 2015, Nina made a special appearance on the 20th-year anniversary of variety show ASAP where her performance of "Vision of Love" with fellow singers Juris and Kyla became a trending topic in social media. After taking a break from showbiz, Nina announced that she gave birth to a baby girl, Ysabella Louise, on December 24, 2015 after an eight-year relationship with her husband Coy Enriquez. She labored for 13 hours and decided to give a painful birth, without anaesthesia, to feel the sacrifices of being a mother. In an interview with Philippine Entertainment Portal, she expressed choosing to keep her personal life private, stating "I chose to be quiet and just go on with my life normally. I have people in my life who are also into their privacy. [I don't want to drag them in my world] which is totally different to theirs." She added that she is not hooked in social media and she often just post pictures to promote her shows. On June 14, 2016, she was featured on the debut single of R&B duo Joshua Desiderio and Lloyd Zaragoza (JO.LLO), entitled "Ikaw ang Bida." On June 19, 2017, Nina made an appearance on Wish 107.5 radio station's "Charlie Puth Special" where she performed "Attention" and her hit single "Jealous" during the Wish Bus roadshow. The event was organized by the radio station in collaboration with Warner Music, her original record label. She announced returning to Warner for release of her eighth studio album. Nina had her acting debut for the indie film DAD: Durugin ang Droga, which is an advocacy film promoting awareness on drug addiction. The film was directed by Dinky Doo J. Clarion, supposedly for the 2017 Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino, and was released in September 2017.
Since she entered the Philippine music industry in 2002, Nina has been compared to Mariah Carey due to her similarity to Carey's vocal range and musical style. She can even imitate Carey's high whistle registers, and has performed Carey's popular hits in her different concerts and gigs. She expressed being a fan of Carey by saying that she never attempted to watch concerts before she became a recording artist, until Carey's Manila performance. She also cited Carey as a major influence in her debut album Heaven (2002), although she still stressed the originality of her sound, saying "But it's not like I want my career to imitate or even be compared with hers [Carey]. In the end, I want to be acknowledged as a singer of my own brand of music." Some of her other musical influences include Whitney Houston, Alicia Keys, Gary Valenciano, Ella Mae Saison and Regine Velasquez. She has also collaborated with international acts such as Diane Warren, Joe Pizzulo, The Cascades, Fra Lippo Lippi, Keith Martin, Kenji Williams, Lea Salonga, Billy Crawford, Charice Pempengco and Arnel Pineda of Journey.
Aside from singing, she also plays instruments, saying "I play a little bit of the guitar and the piano." She first showed her skills on playing the piano in the 2004 Pop Ko 'To! concert. She credits her brother, King, for her interest on it. She can also play the acoustic guitar but prefers the keyboard, believing that it is her key to becoming a composer.
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Nina was a singing champion on Tanghalan ng Kampeon, with her winning pieces "Better Days" and "Love Takes Time". She expressed having so much sacrifices for her singing career, stating "I always order Halo-halo without ice. If I want to eat ice cream, I have to let it melt first or else microwave it. I also don’t eat spicy food or mint candies." She explained, "Of course, it was hard for me [...] But you get used to it." She also sings twenty songs a day for practice. She takes good care of her voice and maintains a healthy diet, and swore it takes her only three days or less to recover from throat infections. In her 2011 documentary on TvN Asia, it was revealed that despite all the fame and success, Nina still regularly comes back to the Center for Pop Music to train her vocals and make it even stronger. She is also known for doing covers of popular hits. She expressed herself in a statement, saying "I can say that the songs I sing in my albums very much represent who I am [...] I try to make it my own even if it was done originally by another artist."
Music critics shared the same opinion on Nina's vocal ability. Professional writer-editor Ginnie Faustino-Galgana stated "There is no doubt that Nina is one talented singer. Her vocal range is decidedly wide. Her voice itself has proven itself youthful and adaptable to any beat." Freelance writer Resty Odon said in a review, "Nina can afford to do just covers because she has a voice that’s easy to love." In terms of song selection, he adds "She works the range and volume she sounds best in." The Philippine Music Registry complimented her range and control, saying "Her voice range always amazes people, reaching the highest notes with extreme control and with a sentimental timbre. She renders her songs with emotion and soul, thus made her the Soul Siren." She was ranked at No. 6 on the Top 20 Filipina Divas list by the Female Network.
Nina has recorded music videos with dance steps and professional choreography, including her singles "Heaven" (2002), "Make You Mine" (2003), "I Do" (2006) and "Dance" (2011). She has also incorporated dancing in her song numbers during live concerts and stage performances, notably in Nina Just Wanna Have Fun (2005) and Nina Reborn (2013). During her shows, she has performed the songs "Get Right," "It's Like That," "Wings" and "Price Tag" with choreography. "Only with You" (2011) is one song that she performs live while doing a synchronized dance routine with her back-up dancers. Nina's choreography consists of various genres, including pop and ballroom dance. She had a recurring appearance on ASAP's pop/hip-hop dance segment "Supahdance Plus." When she was a kid, she also took up ballet classes but soon stopped to focus on singing. In 2010, she pursued ballet along with playing tennis to keep herself physically fit.
In November 2007, Nina won the Monthly Champion title on ABC-5's Shall We Dance?, where she competed against bossa nova singer Sitti, and actress-comedian Tuesday Vargas. She and her partner, Efren Ibo, performed a freestyle-jive inspired by Beyoncé's song "Irreplaceable". Judge Audie Gemora was impressed with her performance, commenting that she both sings and dances cleanly, while World Ballroom Champion and judge, Ednah Ledesma, congratulated Ibo for bringing out the best in Nina. Another judge, Regine Tolentino, reacted positively and thought that she and Ibo took their dance to another level. The episode aired on December 2, 2007. On January 18, 2009, Nina competed against Iya Villania and Sitti on ABS-CBN's Magpasikat, a temporary replacement for the suspension of the noontime TV show, Showtime. She received positive comments and opinions from the judges, which led her to be the winner, sharing the title with Sitti. Later during the show, it was announced that Showtime would be back on its regular time slot after a court granted a Temporary restraining order (TRO) from the Court of Appeals against the 20-day preventive suspension by the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB). In May 2011, she joined The G-Force Project dance recital, performing a burlesque dance.
Philanthropy and other activities
In 2004, Nina was honored as the Singing Ambassador of Goodwill by the Center for Pop Music Philippines for performing for the less-fortunate institutions, fund-raising concerts and inspirational talks to students. She also became part of the recording for the song "Biyahe Tayo", which was used to promote Philippine Tourism (WOW Philippines), mentioning the different provinces, scenic spots, and events of the country. She recorded it along with legendary Filipino acts including Lea Salonga, Rivermaya, Sharon Cuneta, the APO Hiking Society and Francis Magalona. Since 2007, she has been participating on the annual Earth Day Jam event. On April 20, 2008, she and her brother King participated on the Philippine Daily Inquirer's read-along session in celebration of Earth Month. In June 2008, she performed on the first Filipino Exposition in the Middle East at the Dubai Trade Centre, patronizing much-loved Philippine-made products and brands on display for three days. In July 2008, she became a representative for "Pose for PAWS," a fundraising event for the animal shelter launched by the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS). In December 2008, she performed on the fundraising dinner for Ploning entitled Plato Para Kay Ploning, after the film was submitted as Philippine entry for Best Foreign Language Film on the 81st Academy Awards. On May 29, 2009, she supported Friendster Cares, a benefit concert for the education of less-fortunate kids. In August 2009, she performed on YCONCON: Isang Araw Lang – The Sequel concert at the Araneta Coliseum, which supports Daniel Razon's "Free College Education" program.
In November 2009, Nina was one of forty Filipino artists who contributed to "Kaya Natin Ito", benefiting the victims of Typhoon Ondoy. She was vocally coached by Regine Velasquez and was asked to do an impromptu whistle as her solo part on the song. All proceeds from the sale of the song went towards the disaster relief efforts of the Philippine Red Cross and Gawad Kalinga. On June 30, 2010, she was one of the Universal Records artists who performed the song "Bagong Pilipinas", composed by Ogie Alcasid, for the inauguration of Philippine President Noynoy Aquino. Alcasid said that he openly accepted the request to write the song to give a new hope for the country and to encourage all Filipinos to unite. Later, she performed on Aquino's victory street party with Kyla, Jay R and Jed Madela. On October 22, 2010, she had a concert at The Terraces, Ayala Center Cebu entitled Think Pink. All proceeds from the event went to ICanServe, a cancer foundation. On April 27, 2011, the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines opened its $50 million annex building, and she was one of the guests who performed on the program before the ribbon-cutting ceremony. On June 5, 2011, she performed on the Tunog Wunderground concert, which encourages people to vote for Puerto Princesa Underground River as one of the New7Wonders of Nature. On July 31, 2011, she performed on a concert in Japan entitled Moving On, which was produced by GMA Pinoy TV and IPS for the sixth anniversary of Access TV. On November 20, 2012, she participated in the Saludo fund-raising concert for soldiers' families, benefiting HERO Foundation. On November 21, 2013, she performed in the National Clean Air Month concert. On November 27, she performed on Music That Moves, a benefit concert for the survivors of Typhoon Yolanda.
In June 2006, Nina became the spokesperson for Goldilocks Bakeshop, and released her "considered-to-be" first ever physical single, "Araw Mo", a birthday song used for the promotion of Goldilocks' 40th anniversary of service. Sales of the single entirely went to charity, the Leukemic Indigents Fund and UNICEF. Aside from Goldilocks, she has done a commercial for Ellips Cologne, with fellow acoustic singers Nyoy Volante, Luke Mejares, and Jimmy Bondoc–each rendering an excerpt from songs identified to them like “You're My You” (Volante), “Let Me Be the One” (Bondoc) and “Because of You” (Mejares) on the commercial. Her songs were also used for Colgate and Nescafé commercials. She was even chosen to be the first Filipina to endorse Sennheiser microphones. She also became a testimony for Gan Advanced Osseointegration Center (GAOC). Mango, Levi's and Mark Alexander became her sponsors. In 2007, Nina strutted onstage during "The Lion King" segment of Furry Tales fashion show, after not being included on the "Penshoppe Denim" segment. She has become part of musical variety show ASAP on ABS-CBN, variety game show Wil Time Bigtime on TV5, and has hosted her own weekly radio show on Wave 89.1 entitled Renditions of the Soul.
Legacy and accolades
Nina's musical style and voice have set some remarkable trends in OPM and acoustic music. According to The Philippine Star, "Nina deserves to be called as one of local music's treasures. Her album titled Nina Live! became a benchmark in acoustic recording." The album's format has influenced and has been adapted on the live recordings of artists such as Freestyle, MYMP, Sitti, Christian Bautista, Rachelle Ann Go and Aiza Seguerra. Music critic Remy Umerez of Journal wrote, "Nina set the bar high for female singers of her generation with the multi-platinum success of her solo albums in the mid-2000s." Yugel Losorata of The Philippine Star wrote that Nina releasing All Good, reflects her mindset of thanking back the local music scene that has provided her blessings other lady acts can only dream of.
Sarah Geronimo has cited Nina as one of her influences. She expressed wanting to sing with Nina for her 2005 concert, The Other Side, at the Araneta Coliseum. Morissette Amon credits Nina's toned-down style of singing as it influenced her to be "steady" [sic] in terms of singing. She paid tribute to Nina in one of her recorded live performances. Regine Velasquez has cited Nina as one of her favorite artists and has performed Nina's original songs in her live shows.
- Heaven (2002)
- Smile (2003)
- Nina Live! (2005)
- Nina (2006)
- Nina Sings the Hits of Diane Warren (2008)
- Renditions of the Soul (2009)
- Stay Alive (2011)
- All Good (2013)
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- Julie M. Aurelio, Showbiz & Style. "Singer Nina sues ex-BF’s parents for estafa". Philippine Daily Inquirer. May 13, 2009
- Yugel Losorata, Showbiz. "Soul Siren scores historic feat". Manila Bulletin. January 22, 2010
|Awards and achievements|
| MTV Pilipinas Award for Favorite New Artist