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Rhydian

Background information
Birth name Rhydian Roberts
Born 14 February 1983 (1983-02-14) (age 27)
Origin Sennybridge, Powys, Wales, United Kingdom
Occupations Singer
Years active 2007 – present
Labels Sony Music, Syco

Rhydian Roberts (born 14 February 1983), popularly known as Rhydian, is a Welsh operatic singer and baritone, recognised as one of the United Kingdom's top crossover artists. He rose to fame following his 2007 appearances on the fourth series of the UK talent show The X Factor in which he placed second. Since then, he has released two bestselling albums, done a UK tour (2009), and made gala and charity appearances in his native Wales and at the Royal Albert Hall, London. In late 2010, he embarks on a major Europe and UK arena tour of The War of the Worlds - Alive On Stage!.

Contents

Biography

Rhydian Roberts was born in Sennybridge, Powys, Wales and attended the Pontsenni Cylch Meithrin and then went onto Ysgol y Bannau Welsh medium school in Brecon. He is a native Welsh speaker. He represented the school and Powys in the Urdd Gobaith Cymru Eisteddfod from the age of five. He maintained his links with the Urdd whilst at Llandovery College (where he became head boy)[1] and as a university undergraduate. An accomplished sportsman and keen rugby union player, he played rugby union for the Gwernyfed RFC club, near Brecon, as a junior and later for his school, and cricket for Powys County Junior teams.[2] "My plan was to be a professional player for the Swansea RFC Ospreys (rugby team)," he says. "From the age of ten that was all I could think about – and I wasn't interested in singing any more." He embarked on a stringent exercise programme and was "a gym fanatic who could bench-press 386lbs at 16. BOLLOCKS!"[3]

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Birmingham Conservatoire

After teaching in a small school in South Africa during his gap year, Rhydian won a bursary to Birmingham City University's (then known as University of Central England) Conservatoire.[4] Director of Theatre Studies Michael Barry commented that "Rhydian was a star pupil at the Conservatoire from the very beginning."[5] He first trained with Adrian Clarke and subsequently with Christine Cairns, graduating in 2007 with first-class honours.

Rhydian was the first singer from outside London to win the Kathleen Ferrier Society Bursary for Young Singers, beating 13 other second-year vocal students from music colleges around the UK. A judging panel of internationally-renowned singers remarked on his "formidable talent" and his "immediate connection with the audience". He also won the Reginald Vincent Lieder Prize and the Mario Lanza Educational Award in 2007.[6]

During his second year Rhydian was auditioned, on Barry's recommendation, by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra's (CBSO) Musical Director Sakari Oramo. He played Morales in the CBSO's semi-staged Carmen. Additionally, he won the Cecil Drew Oratorio Prize and secured leading roles in virtually all of the Conservatoire's operas and musicals.[7] Among these were Charley in Merrily We Roll Along by Stephen Sondheim (June 2004, Crescent Theatre, Birmingham), and the title role in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Leslie Bricusse and Frank Wildhorn (June 2006, Crescent Theatre, Birmingham; directed by Michael Barry and conducted by Ben Kennedy).[8]

Reviewers highlighted Rhydian's stage presence and charisma. Playing Edward Kelley in Doctor Dee, he was noted by the Birmingham Post as charismatic, threatening and attractive. His Morales in Carmen was praised for conveying genuine depth of masculine charisma. In Rossini's L'Italiana in Algeri his commanding stage presence was again singled out.[9]

Knowing that he was unlikely to get a prominent operatic role early in his career, Rhydian explored alternatives. Following graduation, he auditioned for the BBC talent contest Any Dream Will Do to find a lead for Andrew Lloyd Webber's new production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. (However, he did not progress beyond the bootcamp stage, as his voice was not deemed right for the production's pop score.)

The X Factor

At his audition in 2007 for the fourth series of the British talent show The X Factor, Rhydian was openly self-assured and ambitious. Ironically, it was his eventual mentor and supporter Dannii Minogue who gave the only "no" vote at the time,[10] while fellow judge Sharon Osbourne was reported to have found him arrogant, although these tensions softened in time.[11] Later in the series, Simon Cowell averred: "[Rhydian] is nothing like the monster you might have expected from those early scenes. He is incredibly polite and respectful. He stands out because he has an incredible voice. But there is no arrogance or conceit. He's a very good guy and in fact I think he is very insecure."[12] Rhydian himself was reportedly anxious that film editing might generate unfavourable public perception of him.[13]

His fears proved to be unfounded, as the live shows allowed Rhydian to turn public opinion in his favour. The new image unveiled in the first live shows included a peroxide blond spiky hairstyle. In early live shows, he quickly acquired a reputation as a most spectacular and unpredictable performer, and "his trademark white hair and flamboyant dress sense made him an audience favourite immediately" [14] His impressive appearances included:

At this point, judges commented that his camp theatrical presentation was beginning to overshadow his vocal performances. Subsequently, while still including dancers and pyrotechnics, Rhydian toned down his onstage antics.

Eventually, Rhydian became the favourite to win.[16] During the series, he performed moving versions of, among others:

His duet in the final with Katherine Jenkins was the fulfilment of his longtime goal to sing with her.[19] Despite finishing as runner-up to Leon Jackson, he was offered a recording contract with Sony BMG by Simon Cowell the next day.

Post-X Factor career

2008: Rhydian

Rhydian spent much of 2008 working on his debut album, the eponymous Rhydian, in the United States and Sweden,[20] and also performed at private functions internationally. UK engagements included the Welsh Grand Slam celebrations and the BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year Awards. In October 2008 he entertained an audience of over 30,000 with his rendition of "Music of the Night" at Andrew Lloyd Webber's 60th Birthday Party in Hyde Park.[21] Having heard Rhydian sing, HRH Prince Charles invited him to become a patron of the The Prince's Trust. In December 2008 he sang at the Children of Courage Awards Ceremony at Westminster Abbey.[22]

During November Rhydian guested at The X factor series five finals, performing "The Impossible Dream", the lead track of Rhydian. Upon release, the album charted at number 3, selling over 150,000 in its first two weeks. Total recorded sales of over 300,000 after four weeks conferred Platinum Album sales status on Rhydian as awarded by the BPI. Rhydian was also declared to be the highest selling album by a male chart newcomer in 2008.

Rhydian performed "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" with Charlotte Church on the Christmas special of her chat show.[23]

2009

2009 saw more than 600,000 albums sold and the release in November of Rhydian's second album, O Fortuna.[24][25] He also completed a 24-date solo tour of the UK.[26]

His appearance on BBC Christian worship show Songs of Praise was broadcast in February and he recorded his own television special for S4C which aired over the Easter period, followed by the documentary 'Rhydian, one year on'.[27] In April 2009, Rhydian again entertained the Royal Family, at The Prince's Trust Celebrates Success Awards.[28][29]

At the 2009 Liverpool Summer Pops Festival, Rhydian headlined one of the Liverpool Pops dates in the Echo Arena and also performed for 11,000 fans with Only Men Aloud supporting him on 30 July.[30][31]

On 20 November 2009, Rhydian appeared on the BBC Children In Need programme.

2010

Rhydian's engagements in 2010 have included several all-star gala and charity evenings - three of them at London's Royal Albert Hall - and a charity single. His year began with a re-showing on television of his 2009 guest rendition of "The Prayer" for the BBC's Songs of Praise. During February, Rhydian's work supported three charities. Two of these were concerts in Cardiff, Wales with Dennis O'Neill and other Welsh stars: the Lord Mayor of Cardiff’s Gala Concert on 12 February at the City Hall for Bobath Children's Therapy Centre Wales and, on the 15th, Christian Aid's Haiti Appeal concert at St David' Hall. On 27 February, with other classical crossover artists, Rhydian recorded "The Prayer" as a charity single for the Haiti earthquake appeal.[32]

Rhydian starred in the closing event of the St David's Week Festival on 1 March at Brangwyn Hall, Swansea. On 15 March at the Royal Albert Hall, he performed two solos, "Myfanwy" and "Land of My Fathers" (both from his album O Fortuna) for the Classic FM Live Concert. Other performers included cellist Julian Lloyd Webber.

Along with Joss Stone and The Stereophonics, on 22 March he stars at a high-end charity gala dinner at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London. The evening, organised by boxer Sir Joe Calzaghe, aims to raise money for the charity Help for Heroes.

Two more Royal Albert Hall events are upcoming during April and May:

On 7 August, Rhydian returns for the second year in The National Eisteddfod of Wales.[33] On 4 September, he will again appear in Wales with the Porthcawl Male Voice Choir.

War of the Worlds Arena Tour 2010-2011

Rhydian Roberts is to star in a musical adaptation of War Of The Worlds for a major arena tour. He joins Jason Donovan and former Atomic Kitten Liz McClarnon, playing the intense role of Parson Nathaniel in The War Of The Worlds - Alive On Stage!

The arena tour takes in Holland, Belgium, Dublin and Belfast during the last week of November 2010, proceeding to a range of major UK arenas in the first three weeks of December, with 2011 Germany dates yet to be announced.

Rhydian said: "My dream has always been to appear in a musical which tours large arenas and I'm very excited to be joining such an incredible cast for The War Of The Worlds 2010 tour." He expressed excitement about the prospect of sharing the stage with "an 11-foot floating 3D hologram of my fellow countryman Richard Burton, 26 years after his death". Composer and producer Jeff Wayne, whom Rhydian has admired for years, stated: "Rhydian is an incredibly talented singer whose range and depth of voice will suit this role perfectly. I am delighted to welcome him into this year's production."[34]

Set in Victorian England, the musical is based on the HG Wells story. According to the show's website,

Rhydian will play the challenging and emotional role of Parson Nathaniel. This role in the original 15 million selling double album was sung by Thin Lizzy front man Phil Lynott, and in the live show has previously been played by Russell Watson. Parson Nathaniel loses his faith in the face of apocalyptic Martian destruction. In a highly charged duet with his on-stage wife, played this year by Liz, she is the counterpoint to his madness, assuring him “There must be something worth living for”. The acclaimed all-star line up includes Jason Donovan, Atomic Kitten’s Liz McClarnon, Moody Blues' Justin Hayward and Manfred Mann’s Chris Thompson.[35]

Discography

Albums

Year Information UK IRE Sales Certifications
2008 Rhydian[36] 3 7
  • UK: Platinum
2009 O Fortuna 25 61

Rhydian also features on the charity single, "The Prayer," for the victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

References

  1. ^ "Llandovery College Information on Rhydian'!". http://www.llandoverycollege.com/view.aspx?id=186&linkID=869. Retrieved 2008-01-07. 
  2. ^ "Cricket: 'My brush with Rhydian'". http://icwales.icnetwork.co.uk/sports/sports-news-round-up/2007/12/29/cricket-my-brush-with-rhydian-91466-20295467/. Retrieved 2008-01. 
  3. ^ "Change of tune that led to fame for Rhydian Roberts," Times Online, 2 February 2008. Retrieved 2010-03-16. This article gives Rhydian's background and interest in rugby union. He is described in several blogs as the strongest Welsh bench presser during his teens.
  4. ^ "bcu.ac.uk 1". http://www.bcu.ac.uk/news/releases07/4466.html. 
  5. ^ "bcu.ac.uk 2". http://www.bcu.ac.uk/news/releases07/rhydian_winner.html. 
  6. ^ "Mario Lanza Award 2007'!". http://www.bmls.co.uk/awards.htm. Retrieved 2008-01-05. 
  7. ^ Rhydian – You Don't Have to Win to be a Winner!
  8. ^ "Conservatoire.bcu.ac.uk". http://www.conservatoire.bcu.ac.uk/calendar/mx-nga-jekyll-hyde-the-musical?m=6&y=2006&calid=calTable. 
  9. ^ "Rhydian Roberts Reviews'!". http://community.livejournal.com/rhydianroberts/87938.html. Retrieved 2008-01-04. 
  10. ^ Rhydian's X Factor audition. Retrieved 2010-03-16.
  11. ^ "Rhydian and the no seX factor," Daily Mail, 7 December 2007. Retrieved 2010-03-16.
  12. ^ "Rhydian and the no seX Factor'!". http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/showbiz/showbiznews.html?in_article_id=500208&in_page_id=1773. Retrieved 2008-01-04. 
  13. ^ "Do you want Rhyd of me?", The Sun, 9 October 2007. Retrieved 2010-03-16.
  14. ^ Rhydian biography from Classic FM website. Retrieved 2010-03-16.
  15. ^ Judging comments after Rhydian's performance of "Phantom of the Opera." Retrieved 2010-03-16.
  16. ^ BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Same Difference out of X Factor
  17. ^ "Somewhere," on X Factor. Retrieved 2010-03-16.
  18. ^ "Bridge Over Troubled Water." Retrieved 2010-03-16.
  19. ^ "ICWales". http://icwales.icnetwork.co.uk/whats-on/whats-on-news/2007/11/24/rhydian-katherine-jenkins-duet-my-goal-91466-20153814/. 
  20. ^ http://music-festivals.co.uk/rhydian-tour-announced-buy-tickets-for-rhydian-1000312.html
  21. ^ http://www.britishtheatreguide.info/reviews/ALWbirthday-rev.htm
  22. ^ http://www.itv.com/News/Articles/Prince-honours-Children-of-Courage-582180971.html
  23. ^ http://www.walesonline.co.uk/rugbynation/2008/12/03/cheeky-charlie-s-special-delivery-91466-22390764/
  24. ^ a b http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/entertainment/2009/03/24/exclusive-x-factor-loser-rhydian-set-for-new-album-despite-leon-jackson-being-dumped-by-label-86908-21223680/
  25. ^ a b http://programmes.stv.tv/x-factor/news-gossip/88436-rhydian-dreams-of-duet-with-christine-aguilera/
  26. ^ http://www.rhydianroberts.com/events/
  27. ^ http://www.s4c.co.uk/rhydian/e_index.shtml
  28. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=GB&feature=channel_page&v=GiMI-RIYX10
  29. ^ http://www.rhydianroberts.com/forum/viewthread/7342/
  30. ^ http://www.sonymusic.co.uk/news/12642/
  31. ^ http://www.allgigs.co.uk/view/event/206921/Rhydian_Roberts_Only_Men_Aloud_Liverpool_Echo_Arena_Liverpool_30_July_2009.html
  32. ^ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1254293/Classical-stars-sing-The-Prayer-aid-Haiti-quake-victims.html
  33. ^ National Edisteddfodd of Wales website. Retrieved 2010-03-16.
  34. ^ Press Association announcement of 16 March 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-16.
  35. ^ "Rhydian to star with Jason Donovan and Liz McClarnon in Arena Spectacular!". Retrieved 2010-03-16.
  36. ^ http://acharts.us/album/40643
  37. ^ Lyons, Beverley; Sutherland, Laura (2009-03-20). "Fans' anger as Leon Jackson is ditched by record label". Daily Record. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/entertainment/2009/03/20/fans-anger-as-leon-jackson-is-ditched-by-record-label-86908-21212228/. Retrieved 2009-04-04. 
  38. ^ Announced 7 January 2010

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