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YouTube sensation Maria Aragon inks recording contract in the Philippines

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WINNIPEG - An 11-year-old Winnipeg girl whose rendition of Lady Gaga's song "Born this way" turned her into an overnight YouTube sensation has signed a recording deal in the Philippines.

Maria Aragon's father, Veni Aragon, said his daughter is now in the Philippines to record the album and make some live appearances.

Aragon said the deal is with Star Records, a division of ABS-CBN, the Philippines' largest media and entertainment conglomerate.

Maria shot to fame in February after Lady Gaga, impressed with the girl's rendition of her song, retweeted a link to the video, which received more than 11 million hits in just one week.

She later went on to perform for talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife and earlier this month for Prince William and his wife Kate.

"I feel very blessed and I want to say thank you to everybody for your support," the young singer said during an appearance on The Buzz TV in the Philippines on Sunday.

Maria is also making guest appearances with several local TV stations and is slated to record a song that will be used in a Filipino movie.

Veni Aragon, whose family is of Filipino descent, said that according to the two-year deal, Maria will record two albums.

He said he doesn't know yet how much the deal is worth.

"I don't know. My family is there, they haven't told me yet," said Aragon, who said he had to stay behind in Winnipeg until he could get time off work.

"I'm going to follow them this 30th of July. That's the time I'll know how much."

One thing he said he does know — Maria will be singing "Born This Way" on the first album.

While in the country, the family will also visit Maria's aunt and maternal grandmother. Aragon said Maria will return to Winnipeg on Sept. 10 in order to be back in time for school.

A story on the ABS-CBN website quoted Maria's mother as saying it was the family's first return to the Philippines in 14 years.

Veni Aragon said that Maria unfortunately had to cancel some appearances in Canada this summer in order to go to the Philippines, including singing at a Winnipeg Blue Bombers football game.

"We are proud of her because she's so talented. She's an amazing girl," he said.

_ By Rob Drinkwater in Edmonton.

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