Julia Fordham to render Filipino version of worldwide hit 'Happy Ever After'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 19) — British singer-songwriter Julia Fordham is giving her classic hit "Happy Ever After" a local makeover.

"Here in Manila, I'm working on a new version that I'm going to be singing," Fordham told CNN Philippines' The Source.

She laughed and added, "I can't even say 'Tagalog' well."

The "(Love Moves In) Mysterious Ways" singer said she considers "Happy Ever After" to be the song that took her "around the world." It first debuted in her self-titled album in 1988, and it earned her a platinum disc.

The single has a South African verse, as it was written in light of the imprisonment of anti-apartheid and democratic icon Nelson Mandela, "and how can that situation ever have a 'Happy Ever After,'" Fordham explained.

"I felt like in that particular moment I successfully blended something from a political standpoint that I felt to be true... I've been using [the song], in a way, to be current," she said.

A different version of the song features Malaysian lyrics. Fordham worked that in to raise funds to build a school in India that had been wiped by a tsunami in 2004.

So when Fordham was asked to perform for Filipino children whose parents were incarcerated, and she suggested editing lines in "Happy Ever After" to Filipino.

"I've rewritten the South African chant and today we're gonna go, 'Masaya tayo sa pamilya.' I'm trying to say we're all one inclusive family," said Fordham.

"I'm trying to rewrite the middle section on Manila and the heart of the people," she added. "I don't have much time but I'm gonna get both sides of my brain working, because we're gonna try and teach the kids this chant."

Fordham, who is on her sixth trip to the Philippines, said that she feels particularly connected to the Filipino people.

"We try to involve some kind of Filipino or Manila aspect. I don't want to feel like I'm flying in and I'm not connected to the community in some way," she said. "There's something about the heart of the Filipino that resonates with me."

The singer, who is also behind the hits "Invisible War" and "Where Does the Time Go," is expected to perform the edited "Happy Ever After" at her Manila concert on Friday. She promised she will also be performing "all the Filipino favorites."

Fordham is also touring and performing with two other British singers, Beverley Craven and Judie Tzuke.

"I'm looking forward to being in a girl band... Clearly it's a woman band," she joked. "We're calling it our gal band. We feel that girl band is not quite right for ladies of a certain age."

Watch the full interview with Fordham here.


The Reminiscing Concert Series with Julia Fordham will be held at the Newport Performing Arts Theater on June 22, Friday, at 8:00 p.m.