Monday, February 9, 2009

katherine jenkins

Born 29 June 1980 in Neath, Wales
Katherine Jenkins is an award-winning Welsh mezzo-soprano. Her first album Premiere made her the fastest-selling mezzo-soprano to date and she later became the first British classical artist to have two number one albums in the same year. She also stands as the first female artist to win two consecutive Classical BRIT Awards.

"I do feel as if I'm living a blessed life at the moment. I've been thinking about the phrase 'living a dream,' because that's exactly what is happening. I'm just trying to go with the flow and take each day as it comes, otherwise I might freak out at all the things that have happened recently." -Katherine Jenkins, on her success

At the age of 17, she won a scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Music, University of London. At the Academy, she also studied Italian, German, French and Russian and graduated with honours. She finished the course with a degree, a music teacher's diploma and then made some money as a freelance singing teacher and a model for hair and make-up. After entering a modeling competition, Jenkins was made the Face of Wales in 2000 and then decided to focus more intently on her musical career. When Universal Classics & Jazz heard one of Jenkins' demo tapes, she was called to an interview, and she sang "Una voce poco fa" by Rossini. Universal then offered Jenkins a six-album deal just an hour later. This meant that at the age of just 23, Jenkins had signed the then largest record deal in United Kingdom classical recording history, reportedly worth £1 million. Universal Classics' marketing director has since said, "She is an utter professional, a wonderful singer and has a team utterly committed to her."

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 singer Aled Jones on his tour. At the Rugby World Cup in 2003, she made her Sydney Opera House debut. In August 2004, she made her first US appearance supporting crossover soprano Hayley Westenra at Joe's Pub in New York City.

Katherine took on a number of operatic roles at the RAM, in addition to studying Italian, German, French, and Russian. After graduating with honors, Katherine decided to press on with post-graduate studies in opera, but she needed to raise the money, so she worked as a singing teacher in Hertfordshire. Later, Katherine's mother sent in some pictures of her to a competition to find The Face of Wales, and Katherine ended up winning, which allowed her to supplement her income as a model, in addition to teaching.

In April 2004, Katherine's debut CD, Premiere, was released. The album went straight to No. 1 on the classical charts, where it stayed for eight weeks. Its phenomenal success led Universal to encourage Katherine to release a follow up, Second Nature, which came out in October 2004 and also hit No. 1. The two albums made Katherine the UK's top-selling classical artist of 2004, and Second Nature went on to win Album of the Year at the 2005 Classical BRIT Awards.

On 22 January 2005 Jenkins sang at Cardiff at the Tsunami Relief Concert in order to raise money for the victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. In April and May 2005, Jenkins supported Irish tenor Ronan Tynan on his first US tour as a solo artist. At the Berlin stage of Live 8 in 2005, Jenkins sang the hymn "Amazing Grace". Her interpretation was partly a vocal solo; for the rest she was accompanied by a single softly played piano.

In May 2005, Jenkins sang at Trafalgar Square to 15,000-strong audience to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of VE Day, and later helped to launch the Royal British Legion's poppy appeal at Covent Garden whilst wearing a dress made of 2,500 poppies.

Classical music isn't really known as the sexiest musical genre, but with Katherine Jenkins' Play..boy-worthy charms giving it new life, there'll be more cleavage than concertos in the concert hall before you know it. If we had had this lovely former music teacher giving us piano lessons, it's guaranteed that we'd have spent a lot more time working on our fingering.

As for what kind of girlfriend Katherine might be, like any woman, she has her pluses and minuses. When she says "I've never had a beer in my life," our hearts sink; then again, she loves driving and is excited about her new Audi A6, which gives us new hope. But it's moot anyway, as long as she stays with her live-in boyfriend, singer-songwriter Steve Hart.

For a singer in her mid-20s, Katherine Jenkins has done better for herself than most people would ever imagine. After studying opera in school, she landed the biggest classical record deal ever in the UK, and has released three No. 1 albums: Premiere (2004), Second Nature (2004) and Living A Dream (2005). Second Nature won her a Classical BRIT Award for Album of the Year, and she beat out operatic greats like Kiri Te Kanawa, Lesley Garrett and Angela Gheorghiu to be the top-selling classical musician in the UK. To top it all off, she's even had lunch with the Queen.

Katherine is well known in her native Wales and in the rest of Britain as a whole. She is also growing an international following, performing from Berlin to Tokyo. Though not as big in America, Katherine's fame is building momentum with appearances on TV shows like The View and Access Hollywood, and the 2005 US release of her album Second Nature under the title La Diva.

Jenkins has released five classical number one studio albums to date selling 4,000,000 copies. Her sixth album, Sacred Arias, was released on 20 October 2008. Her albums feature arias, popular songs, hymns and classical crossover music and she has performed in a large number of concerts around the United Kingdom and other countries, including the United States and Australia.

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