Didith Reyes

Maria Helen Bella Avenila Santamaria (September 17, 1949 – December 10, 2008), better known as Didith Reyes, was a Filipino actress and singer best known for recording a string of hit love ballads in the 1970s. Many music enthusiasts regard her as one of the Philippines' "Jukebox Queens", along with other singers popular during her time such as Claire dela Fuente, Amapola (Maria Cabase), Eva Eugenio, Leah Navarro, and Imelda Papin. She was notorious for accidentally exposing her breast, while singing Bakit Ako Mahihiya? during the 1977 FAMAS Awards Night. Didith Reyes was last seen being interviewed two months before her death with TV Veteran Philippine Journalist Korina Sanchez about her retirement in the Music industry and her new life as a beauty salon owner. Born Maria Helen Bella Avenila Santamaria on September 17, 1949, Reyes was the elder of two children. Her early years were difficult.At age fifteen, she ran away from her home and was known to skip school to join singing contests while in high school at Santa Isabel College. After studying Fine Arts at St. Scholastica College, she joined the Circus band, which would lead her to overnight success. After her stint with Circus band and Time Machine,Reyes signed up with Vicor Music Corporation as a solo recording artist. This was after she was found by lifelong friend, Normita Japitana, found her in Ermita.She would soon score her first hit single with the eponymous theme song to the 1975 film Araw Araw Gabi Gabi, written by Willy Cruz. Her other hits included Nananabik, Hindi Kami Damong Ligaw, Bakit Ako Mahihiya?, Hatiin Natin Ang Gabi, and Aliw. Her hits earned her the title Jukebox Queen, which also is shared with her best friends, Claire dela Fuente, Leah Navarro, Eva Eugenio, and Imelda Papin.Reyes gained further acclaim when she won a Gold Prize and the Best performer at the 1977 Tokyo Music Festival. Her self-titled debut album, Didith, was a platinum bestseller. She also held international concerts, particularly, in Japanese cities such as Kyoto and Tokyo.

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