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Welsh Superstar Mezzo Soprano Katherine Jenkins OBE officially became Britain’s most successful classical singer after she was crowned ‘The Biggest Selling Classical Artist of the Century’ by Classic FM. She further cemented her title by gaining her 14th Number 1 Album – smashing the record books since signing to Universal Classics at the tender age of 22.
Then a school teacher, Katherine burst onto the music scene in 2003 when she performed at Westminster Cathedral in honour of Pope John Paul II’s Silver Jubilee, became the talisman for her much beloved Welsh rugby team, singing the anthem before important international matches & had her debut performance at the Sydney Opera House.
Awards and accolades followed as well as invitations to sing for Popes, Presidents and Princes. Jenkins is a firm favourite of the British royal family having been invited to sing ‘God save the Queen’ at Her Majesty’s diamond jubilee, perform at The Queen’s Coronation concerts at Buckingham palace and at Her Majesty’s 90th birthday celebrations at Windsor castle.
Jenkins has earned her ‘National Treasure’ status not only through her dedication to her music but because of her massive charitable efforts. She is global patron of The Wilderness Foundation (conservation) as well as being an Ambassador for Prince William’s TUSK Trust. She is an ambassador for cancer charity Macmillan, a trustee of The British Forces Foundation (she has travelled to Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Cyprus & Northern Ireland to entertain the troops and was presented with an OBE by HRH Prince of Wales in 2013 as a result). Katherine sits on the arts advisory board of the Nehru Centre which encourages artistic development between India and the UK and is an ambassador for Number 10’s GREAT campaign. Jenkins spent 2020 creating free ‘at home’ performances to boost morale and bring people together virtually during the pandemic. She performed 25 ‘lockdown live’ concerts every Saturday night to millions of people, performed a VE Day BBC concert from a deserted Buckingham Palace as well as a highly publicised ‘Behind Closed Doors’ concert at the Royal Albert Hall – a first in the iconic venue’s 150 year history.
Born in South Wales, Katherine learned to sing as a chorister of St. David’s Church choir, Neath. Her love of music was well nurtured in the Welsh Valleys, where she had the opportunity to join choral groups, perform with Welsh Male Voice Choirs as well as participate in Eisteddfods and other musical events. She has always accredited her down to earth nature to her Welsh roots and her amazing family. Sadly, Katherine’s father Selwyn passed away when she was just 15 and since then his memory has been the driving force in her life. Every album, every award is dedicated to him.
Within months of graduating from the Royal Academy of music, Katherine signed the ‘biggest recording deal in UK classical music history’ and released her debut album ‘Premiere’, which became her first classical number one album. 6 months later, her second album, ’Second Nature’ also reached number 1 and went on to earn Katherine her first Classic BRIT Award for best album in 2005. The following year brought Katherine her second Classic BRIT award ‘Album of the Year’ for ‘Living A Dream’.
Sold out tours followed, as did performances and recordings with Andrea Bocelli, Jose Carreras, David Foster, Dame Kiri te Kanawa, Sir Bryn Terfel, Rolando Villazon, Juan Diego Florez, Il Divo, Kylie Minogue & Michael Bolton. Not afraid of stepping outside of her comfort zone, Katherine has appeared as a mentor in ITV’s ‘Popstar to Operastar’, played the role of Abigail in the BBC’s iconic Dr Who Christmas special, tap danced her way through ‘Viva la Diva’ with Prima ballerina Darcey Bussell as well as, most notably, winning 2nd place in the U.S. hit TV show ‘Dancing with the Stars’ in 2012. After years as a guest performer, Katherine was delighted to officially join the BBC’s ‘Songs of Praise’ family as a regular presenter of the weekly religious programme.
2017 saw Jenkins’s debut on the West End stage playing Julie Jordan in Carousel with English National Opera at the London Coliseum, her performance earning her rave reviews from both the British and International press. Her next acting role and her film debut came in ‘Minamata’ alongside Johnny Depp and Bill Nighy, a movie scheduled for release in late 2021 for which Katherine also lends her voice to Ryuichi Sakamoto’s score. She also appeared in ‘Dream Horse’ – a true Welsh story where Katherine plays herself.
2022 was an emotional year for Katherine having been invited to sing ‘We’ll Meet Again’ at her mentor and friend, Dame Vera Lynn’s memorial service at Westminster Abbey. She also played a key role performing to Her Majesty The Queen in her Platinum Jubilee concert from Windsor Castle in May and at Her Majesty’s country home in Sandringham, Norfolk.
In September, upon the very sad passing of The Queen, Katherine was selected by the BBC to be the first artist to record ‘God Save The King’ for His Majesty Charles III and was shortly after awarded the Duke of Edinburgh ‘Gold Heart’ Royal Variety Club Award approved by the late Queen just 8 days before she passed away.