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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Julia Abueva captivates APEC leaders in concert

Thirteen-year-old Julia Abueva dominated a concert for 21 world leaders, including US President Barack Obama, in Singapore’s Esplanade last night.

The world leaders were gathered for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.

Of all the performers in the production, Abueva had the most exposure - she opened the concert with a solo, was included in the finale, and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) decided to bring her back for the encore.

Abueva, an endorser of Swatch watches, is the youngest soloist handpicked by the STB for the concert, which brought together the best in Singapore entertainment and showcased the rich and diverse cultures in Asia.

To ensure precision and excellence, STB directors and Singapore officials attended all rehearsals.

“I can’t believe I got the chance to sing for President Obama! I know exactly where he will be sitting and I can see his seat even when the lights are on me, so I will try my best not to stare at him while I’m performing!” Abueva earlier said.

Abueva has to her credit almost seven years of experience and hundreds of performances across Asia, and recently the United States.

Based in Singapore for almost 10 years, Abueva is no stranger to performing for state events, but the teenager said she was “seriously stunned” when she found out she was to sing for Obama.

Recently acknowledged as one of “Asia’s Wonder Kids,” Abueva balances life as a performer and a regular student.

In the last year alone, she played the lead role in two musicals (“Sleepless Town” in Singapore, “The Fantasticks” in Manila), sold out her first solo concert at The Esplanade, cut her first single, was invited to guest at Nashville’s springtime concert, and was featured on Oprah as one of the World’s Most Talented Kids - while maintaining her honor roll standing in school.

“My parents and I choose performances that will really help me grow and ideally don’t conflict with school. Just like last summer, I was able to play Luisa in ‘The Fantasticks’ in Manila. I feel it stretched me as a performer and it was during my summer break, which was great. We agreed we will only choose a performance over school if it is really big enough,” she said.

Currently an eighth grader at the Singapore American School, Abueva is very familiar with Obama’s rise to the US presidency and is a big fan.

“I love him and he is a great man. Knowing that he will be watching me and listening to me is just unbelievable,” she said.

Julia Abueva (13yrs) is featured on Score in the OKTO Channel Singapore.

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