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Katherine Jenkins

Background information
Born 29 June 1980 (1980-06-29) (age 29)
Origin Neath, Wales
Genres Crossover, classical
Instruments Singing
Years active 1998 – present
Labels Universal
Warner Music

Katherine Jenkins (born 29 June 1980) is a Welsh classical-popular crossover singer.[1][2] Her albums feature a mixture of arias, popular songs, hymns and light classical music. Jenkins is currently a judge on Popstar to Operastar.


Early life and education

Jenkins was born in Neath, Wales,[3] where she and her sister Laura were raised by their parents Selwyn John (1924[4]-1995)[5] and Susan. She has two half-sisters from her father's first marriage, neither of whom she has met.

She attended Alderman Davies Church in Wales Primary School in Neath and later Dwr-y-Felin Comprehensive School (also in her home town of Neath), received A grades in GCSEs and A Levels and participated in productions such as Calamity Jane and Guys and Dolls.[6] She attended singing and lessons with singing and piano teacher Mark Ritzmann[7] and passed her Grade 8 examinations with distinction in both singing and piano.

Between 1990 and 1996 Jenkins was a member of the Royal School of Church Music Cathedral Singers and won the St Cecilia Award, the highest RSCM award for female choristers.[6] She was also a member of the National Youth Choir of Wales for three years[7] won the BBC Radio 2 Welsh Choirgirl of the Year contest (twice) and the BET Welsh Choirgirl of the Year competition. She was also awarded the Pelenna Valley Male Voice Choir Scholarship for the most promising young singer. At the age of 17 she won a scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Music,[6] where she also studied Italian, German, French and Russian, graduating with honours[7] and receiving a music teacher's diploma.

After working as a freelance singing teacher , a tour guide on the London Eye and as a model[8] she entered a modelling competition and became the Face of Wales 2000. She then decided to follow a musical career.[6] Universal Classics & Jazz heard her demo and she was invited to an interview at which she sang Rossini's "Una voce poco fa".[8] Universal offered Jenkins a six-album deal,[8] the most lucrative in the United Kingdom's classical recording history, reportedly worth £1 million.[6][9][10]

Record success

Six out of seven of Jenkins's studio albums reached number one in the classical charts between 2004 and 2008, selling a total of more than 4,000,000 copies. After her first album, Premiere, made her the fastest-selling mezzo-soprano to date[6] she became the first British classical crossover artist to have two number one albums in the same year.[11] She is also the first female artist to win two consecutive Classical BRIT Awards: her second album, Second Nature, reached number 16 in the UK pop charts[9] and was Album of the Year in the 2005 BRIT Awards.

Jenkins's Italian-language version of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You" ("L'Amore Sei Tu"), first performed live at Nostell Priory, West Yorkshire on 28 August 2005, was the first cut on her third album Living A Dream. After that album was released, uniquely, she held the top three positions in the classical crossover music chart,[6] .[12] The album held the number one position for nearly a year and reached number four in the pop album charts.[12] Jenkins repeated the success of Second Nature with her Living A Dream album when she won the classical BRIT award for Album of the Year for a second time.[13][14]

Her fourth album, Serenade was released on 6 November 2006 and reached number five in the mainstream charts selling more than 50,000 copies in its first week, a record in the genre.[6] The top four albums on HMV's classical charts were hers.[15]

Her fifth album, Rejoice, was released on 19 November 2007 and included songs written specially for her,[16] two by Take That's Gary Barlow.[17] The album entered the pop album charts at number three,[18] beating the Spice Girls and Girls Aloud.[19] Jenkins commented "I never imagined when I was a young girl listening to them on the radio that I would outsell the Spice Girls and Celine Dion. It’s almost too much to take in. I can’t thank my fans enough for all their support."[19]

On 20 October 2008 Jenkins released Sacred Arias, which is her last album with Universal Music. On 19 October The Telegraph stated that Jenkins had signed the biggest classical recording deal in history, for $10 million (£5.8 million), with Warner Music.[20]

Jenkins released her latest album, Believe, on 26 October 2009, the first with Warner Music. This album featured Andrea Bocelli and other musicians like Andre Rieu and Chris Botti. She made various TV appearances such as GMTV, Something for the Weekend and Piers Morgan's Life Stories on 24 October 2009 and on The Graham Norton Show on 2 November 2009. She also performed the theme from The Godfather, Parla Piu Piano at Gary Barlow's Children In Need Rock The Albert Hall. Later in December 2009, she performed "Bring Me To Life" at The Royal Variety Performance

At the start of 2007 Jenkins made her first appearance in the British young people's Sunday Times Rich List which ranked her as the sixty-second richest young person in Britain with an estimated wealth of £9 million.[21] As of the end of 2006, she is estimated to have sold about 2 million records since her debut in 2004.[21]


Jenkins first came to public attention when she sang at Westminster Cathedral honouring Pope John Paul II's silver jubilee in October 2003 and then supporting Aled Jones on tour.[7][9] At the Rugby World Cup in 2003 she made her Sydney Opera House debut[8] and in August 2004 her first USA appearance, supporting Hayley Westenra at Joe's Pub in New York City.[7]

Jenkins was the first person to perform the Home Nations anthem "The Power of Four" and began to appear regularly to sing the Welsh national anthem "Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau" at Welsh international rugby union matches, singing with Bryn Terfel at the 2005 Wales-England Six Nations match at the Millennium Stadium.[8] She is now the official mascot for the Wales rugby union team.[10] She also sang at a rugby league Challenge Cup final between St. Helens and Wigan held in Cardiff's Millenium Stadium.

On 22 January 2005 Jenkins sang in Cardiff at the Tsunami Relief Concert[10] and in April and May of that year supported Irish tenor Ronan Tynan on his first US tour as a solo artist. That May she sang at Trafalgar Square to a 15,000-strong audience celebrating the 60th Anniversary of VE Day,[22][23] At the Berlin stage of Live 8 in 2005, Jenkins sang the hymn "Amazing Grace".[24] and she later helped to launch the Royal British Legion's poppy appeal at Covent Garden whilst wearing a dress made of 2,500 poppies.[25]

Jenkins, with the Blue Man Group, sang "I Feel Love" in front of the Queen at the Royal Variety Performance on 21 November 2005.[26] She also performed at the Nobel Peace Prize concert in Oslo, Norway on 11 December 2005.[27]

Katherine Jenkins sings the Welsh national anthem at Sophia Gardens before the start of the 2009 Ashes

In November 2006 she performed before the Queen at the Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall and joined fellow Welsh singer James Fox in the final verse of "Anthem" from the musical Chess.[28]

In July 2007 Jenkins gave a concert at Margam Park in south Wales, performing alongside Paul Potts and Juan Diego Florez.[29] Jenkins extended a personal invitation to Potts to sing "Nessun Dorma" at the concert.[30]

In September 2007 Jenkins catwalk modeled at Naomi Campbell's Fashion Relief event for charity in a Julien MacDonald dress which was then bought by Sir Philip Green for £10,000.[31]

In November 2007 she sang again at the Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall, also being named classical performer of the year at the Variety Club Showbiz Awards.[32]

With Darcey Bussell she has appeared in a stage song-and-dance production, entitled Viva la Diva, paying tribute to stars[33] including Madonna and Judy Garland.[16] The show opened in Manchester in November 2007.[33][34] Jenkins learned to tap dance, spending eight hours a week learning the choreography and running three miles a day to get fit.[16] She performed the Welsh National Anthem on 17 May 2008 at the 2008 FA Cup Final between Cardiff City and Portsmouth, becoming the first person to do this at an FA Cup Final.[35]

At the beginning of 2009, Jenkins performed in South Korea with Plácido Domingo. This was Jenkins's third concert with Placido having performed with him in Hong Kong in 2008 and Athens in 2007. They then performed together in May 2009 at The Classical Brit Awards.

On July 8, 2009 Jenkins performed at the opening ceremony of the Ashes cricket competition between England and Australia at Sophia Gardens cricket ground in Cardiff. On Saturday 12 September 2009 she performed in Hyde Park for the Last Night of the Proms. On Monday 21 September she performed at the memorial service for Sir Bobby Robson, singing "Pie Jesu" at the request of Lady Robson.

On November 12, 2009 Jenkins performed a duet with cellist Julian Lloyd Webber for Children In Need at the Royal Albert Hall.

November 2009 also saw Jenkins performing I Believe (from Believe) with Andrea Bocelli on his PBS Christmas Special.

Jenkins will be doing her first Arena tour in March 2010.


On 23 December 2006 Jenkins appeared on ITV's Parkinson show, backed by the Froncysyllte Male Voice Choir and a brass band.[36]

She made a cameo appearance in two episodes of Emmerdale which saw 11.6 million viewers tune in to find out who killed popular character Tom King who was murdered on Christmas Day. She appeared in the show on 16th and 17th of May 2007, which saw her opening the village pageant.[37]

In July 2007, she performed live on Saving Planet Earth on BBC 1 to raise money for the BBC Wildlife Fund[38]

On 12 August 2007 she appeared on ITV's Britain's Favourite View, nominating Three Cliffs Bay on the Gower Peninsula as Britain's favourite view.[39] She commented; "I grew up on the edge of the Gower, but it was still a holiday place for our family. We’d go on weekend breaks to Three Cliffs Bay – six miles down the road! That’s how gorgeous it is."[40]

On 21 October 2007 she sang "Time to Say Goodbye" with Andrea Bocelli on the Strictly Come Dancing results show. Jenkins and Darcy Bussell performed a segment of their show Viva la Diva before the Queen at the 79th Royal Variety Performance, televised on 9 December 2007.[41] On 15 December Jenkins performed on The X Factor final with contestant Rhydian Roberts, performing the song "You Raise Me Up".[42]

Jenkins also appeared in episode 3 of the fifth series of The Apprentice, performing Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" as part of a private recital to winning team Ignite. The programme was aired on BBC One on 8 March 2009.

Jenkins also made an appearance on Saturday Kitchen LIVE in December 2008.

2009 saw Jenkins performing on a large number of great TV shows as listed above - The Royal Variety Show, Children In Need Rocks The Albert Hall, The Alan Titchmarsh Show, This Morning, GMTV, Something for the Weekend, The Paul O'Grady Show, presenting for the BBC the week long series The Week We Went To War, Piers Morgan's Life Stories for ITV1, Strictly Come Dancing, The Graham Norton Show and The Andrew Marr Show.

Jenkins started 2010 by appearing as one of two mentors on ITV1s prime time Friday night show, Popstar to Operastar.

Personal life

Her father, Selwyn, died of lung cancer at age 70 when she was 15.[6][43] She has remarked on missing him in her album liner notes and has dedicated any award she received to him.

While Jenkins was studying at the Royal Academy of Music, at 19 years of age, she was attacked and nearly raped by a man who followed her off a bus after she had enjoyed a night out with friends.[44] When Jenkins was making the 2-minute walk to her London home, he sprang upon her and tried to drag her into an alley, but she managed to escape.[44] He continued to pursue her and punched her to the ground, prompting Jenkins to curl up into a ball so that he was not able to rape her.[45] After repeatedly kicking her, he eventually left with her wallet and has never been caught.[45] "It was just awful. I was so shaken up. It took me a long time to get over it, and my mum was devastated. I genuinely believe I was very lucky," commented Jenkins.[44]

After Jenkins and Dame Vera Lynn were both seen centre stage together at the 60th Anniversary of VE Day in 2005 during the song "We'll Meet Again", the newspapers dubbed Jenkins "the new Forces' Sweetheart", a nickname given to Lynn during World War II.[23] Lynn had said to Jenkins that she should "go out and entertain the troops" to which Jenkins promised.[23] In December 2005 and 2006 Jenkins travelled to Iraq to sing to the soldiers for Christmas.[11][46] On her first visit to Iraq in 2005, when travelling to Shaibah, the largest British base in Southern Iraq, the helicopter she was travelling in was targeted by missiles. Anti-missile flares were deployed and the group landed safely.[23]

In November 2008 Jenkins revealed to The Daily Mail that when she was a student she had taken class A drugs (cocaine and ecstasy) and cannabis. She noted that she was introduced to them by her friends at London's Royal College of Music, and that she stopped taking them after signing her record deal in 2003.[47] In the article Jenkins describes taking drugs as "the biggest regret of my life".

Jenkins's autobiography, Time to Say Hello, was released on 28 January 2008, and was also serialised in The Mail on Sunday.[45]



Song Year
"Time to Say Goodbye" 2005
"Green Green Grass of Home" 2006
"Bring Me to Life" 2009


Album Year UK Albums UK Classical
Premiere 2004 31 [48] 1
Second Nature 16 [48] 1
Living a Dream 2005 4 [48] 1 [49]
Serenade 2006 5 [48] 1 [50]
From the Heart 2007 Import Import
Rejoice 3 [18] N/A
Sacred Arias 2008 5 [18] 1
Believe 2009 6 1
The Ultimate Collection 9 N/A

Concert videos

DVD Year Notes
Live at Llangollen 2006
Katherine in the Park 2007 Live at Margam Park, Port Talbot.
Viva La Diva 2008 With Darcey Bussell, live at the O2 Arena London.

Further reading


  1. ^ "Profile on Classical" Retrieved 28 October 2009.
  2. ^ "Profile on Classical Archives" Retrieved 28 October 2009.
  3. ^ "Katherine Jenkins". Retrieved 3 May 2007.
  4. ^ Deaths England and Wales 1984-2006
  5. ^ the arts desk
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i Langley, William. "Not just a pretty voice". The Daily Telegraph, 15 June 2004. Retrieved 5 September 2007.
  7. ^ a b c d e Foley, Jack. "Katherine Jenkins - more than just a Welsh pretty face". Retrieved 16 October 2007.
  8. ^ a b c d e Sweeting, Adam. "A treat for the dads and lads...". The Daily Telegraph, 3 March 2005. Retrieved 13 February 2008.
  9. ^ a b c "Katherine Jenkins Biography". Retrieved 16 October 2007.
  10. ^ a b c Bourton, Tom. "The rise of Katherine Jenkins". BBC News, 25 May 2005. Retrieved 6 September 2007.
  11. ^ a b "Jenkins' festive show for troops". BBC News, 22 October 2005. Retrieved 3 May 2007.
  12. ^ a b Franks, Alan. "The Katherine Jenkins diversity show". The Times, 23 November 2007. Retrieved 23 November 2007.
  13. ^ "Sting on Classical Brit shortlist". BBC News, 2 April 2007. Retrieved 16 October 2007.
  14. ^ West, Dave. "Soprano delighted with second Brit win". Digital Spy, 6 May 2006. Retrieved 6 September 2007.
  15. ^ Jeffries, Stuart. "Why Katherine Jenkins is hogging the classical charts". The Guardian, 18 June 2007. Retrieved 6 September 2007.
  16. ^ a b c Jones, Hannah. "I’ve got a story to tell, says Kath". Western Mail, 6 October 2007. Retrieved 19 October 2007.
  17. ^ "Details of Katherine Jenkins' fifth album Rejoice"., 9 October 2007. Retrieved 16 October 2007.
  18. ^ a b c "Lewis holds on to chart top spots". BBC News, 25 November 2007. Retrieved 26 November 2007.
  19. ^ a b Price, Karen. "Katherine Jenkins beats Spice Girls in album charts". Western Mail, 26 November 2007. Retrieved 26 November 2007.
  20. ^ "Singer Katherine Jenkins agrees $10million record deal to break America". The Telegraph. 2008-10-19. Retrieved 2008-10-19. 
  21. ^ a b "Katherine Jenkins, Sunday Times richlist". The Times. Retrieved 3 May 2007.
  22. ^ "A party to remember live from Trafalgar Square - VE Day 60th"., 5 April 2005. Retrieved 17 October 2007.
  23. ^ a b c d katherine, Katherine. "G.I. katherine: How the Welsh opera diva Katherine swapped designer dresses for desert camouflage". The Daily Mail, 20 January 2008. Retrieved 12 February 2008.
  24. ^ "Live 8 concert line-ups". The Guardian, 29 June 2005. Retrieved 6 September 2007.
  25. ^ Martin, Nicole. "It's never too early to wear your poppy". The Daily Telegraph, 27 October 2006. Retrieved 17 October 2007.
  26. ^ "Tate asks if Queen is 'bovvered'". BBC News, 22 November 2005. Retrieved 28 December 2006.
  27. ^ "Julianne Moore to co-host Nobel concert"., 29 November 2005. Retrieved 16 October 2007.
  28. ^ "Festival of Remembrance". Retrieved 16 October 2007.
  29. ^ "Talent show winner in opera concert". AOL. Retrieved 9 July 2007.
  30. ^ "Paul Potts comes home with Katherine Jenkins". 1 July 2007. Retrieved 9 July 2007.
  31. ^ "Big Brother twins steal the show at star-studded Fashion Relief". The Daily Mail, 22 September 2007. Retrieved 19 October 2007.
  32. ^ "Variety prize for Keira Knightley". BBC News, 19 November 2007. Retrieved 20 November 2007.
  33. ^ a b Thorpe, Vanessa. "See what they've been keeping under their hats". The Guardian, 29 April 2007. Retrieved 30 May 2007.
  34. ^ Hastings, Chris. "Jenkins and Bussell as their favourite divas". The Daily Telegraph, Retrieved 14 February 2008.
  35. ^ Szczepanik, Nick and Kempson, Russell. "Cup Final fans are urged to show respect". The Times, 17 May 2008. Retrieved 17 May 2008.
  36. ^ "Katherine Jenkins on Parkinson". Retrieved 17 October 2007.
  37. ^ "Emmerdale cameo role for Jenkins". BBC News, 26 March 2007. Retrieved 3 May 2007.
  38. ^ "Saving Planet Earth"., 11 May 2007. Retrieved 8 July 2007.
  39. ^ Pettie, Andrew. "Britain asked: What's your favourite view?". The Daily Telegraph, 14 August 2007. Retrieved 14 August 2007.
  40. ^ Crump, Vincent. "Well, in my view Britain's best is...". The Times, 12 August 2007. Retrieved 14 August 2007.
  41. ^ Leigh, Spencer. "Royal Variety Performance". Retrieved 10 December 2007.
  42. ^ "Kylie and Jason sing on X Factor". BBC News, 12 December 2007. Retrieved 13 December 2007.
  43. ^ Greenstreet, Rosanna. "Q&A". The Guardian, 23 September 2006. Retrieved 6 September 2007.
  44. ^ a b c Simpson, Richard. "Opera star Katherine Jenkins: The night I fought off a sex attacker". The Daily Mail, 14 October 2007. Retrieved 12 February 2008.
  45. ^ a b c Simpson, Rin. "Katherine Jenkins says she'll never forget attacker". Western Mail, 14 January 2008. Retrieved 12 February 2008.
  46. ^ "Jenkins performs for Iraq troops". BBC News, 23 December 2005. Retrieved 24 December 2006.
  47. ^ Morgan, Piers. "I took drugs and I'm ashamed, reveals heavenly soprano Katherine Jenkins". The Daily Mail, 1 November 2008 2008-11-01. Retrieved on 3 November 2008.
  48. ^ a b c d "UK Top 40 database". Retrieved 4 December 2006.
  49. ^ "Katherine Jenkins: the fastest-selling UK classical artist of all time". Retrieved 14 January 2007.
  50. ^ "Top 10 Classical Chart". Retrieved 14 January 2007.

External links

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