HALF PRICE SALE Subscribe to EADT Suffolk today CLICK HERE

Singing star Katherine has both feet firmly on the ground

13:35 19 May 2011

She may be one of our most popular classical singers, but rugby loving Welsh soprano<br/><br/>Katherine Jenkins (who is performing in Ipswich this summer) has no airs or graces,<br/><br/>as Wayne Savage discovered

She may be one of our most popular classical singers, but rugby loving Welsh soprano Katherine Jenkins (who is performing in Ipswich this summer) has no airs or graces, as Wayne Savage discovered

If the singing ever dries up, Katherine Jenkins can always fall back on her old summer job as a London Eye tour guide. The Welsh mezzo-soprano used to go round ten times a day, pointing out landmarks to tourists while she was studying at The Royal Academy of Music.

If you ever need a guide I can give you a pretty good tour from the air, she assures me, confessing shed need to read up on her facts first. I used to know it by heart and tried to remember what I said recently, but Ive forgotten a lot of it. I did history A-level and Im interested in the history of London so I can give you a little bit of why the monuments are there and stuff like that.

I remember one lady from America looking at Crystal Palace, you know the TV mast, and she said to me wow, I cant believe you can see France from here. She thought it was the Eiffel Tower, she laughs.

The former model a job she admits to not enjoying and freelance singing teacher neednt worry about packing in the day job. Renowned the world over, the 30-year- old from Neath has been showered with awards, multi-platinum record sales and has played at every high profile sporting tournament in the British calendar you can name.

A regular visitor to Suffolk, shell sing The Last Night of the Proms at Christchurch Park on Saturday, July 2, accompanied by the National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Anthony Inglis.

Every time Ive been its just been a lovely evening and a fabulous audience. I love the summer concerts, theyre the most relaxed.

People bring a picnic, a bottle of wine and just enjoy the music and I can really feel that from the stage. Im looking forward to returning, it should be a really fun night.

One of her most high profile visits was performing at the memorial of former England and Ipswich Town boss Sir Bobby Robson. I had met him and Lady Robson at a previous engagement and he was a fan of my music, which I didnt know, so she invited me to perform. I wanted to do whatever I could; it was very emotional, Katherine remembers.

Shes come a long way since performing Rossinis Una Voce Poco Fa for Universal execs after theyd heard her demo tape. Oh my gosh, I was absolutely terrified, but you know I look back now and think you have no idea whats coming, whats ahead.

Within an hour they offered me the six album deal.

It was an amazing moment; I cried all day when I heard. It was said to be the most lucrative in the UKs classical recording history, reportedly worth 1million. It was a big deal. I had this backing from this huge company who had on their roster all the artists I admired. But I think everyone thought overnight I had become the richest woman in Neath, she laughs.

That wasnt really the case; its an amount of money that pays for the albums to be made and all this kind of stuff so it wasnt how it was reported, but career wise it was brilliant.

Years later, Katherine admits there are still moments where shes really surprised how her lifes turned out and the number of people who come to see her perform.

Its crazy, she laughs. But my audience; no matter how stressful the days been nobodys going to interrupt that.

Some performances, though, are more stressful than others such as singing for Barbra Streisand. I was making the album Believe in LA. Completely out the blue I got invited to a party, went along and it was Barbra Streisands birthday. Suddenly everyone was telling me I had to sing, she giggles.

Being a big Barbra fan it was very scary, thinking what is she thinking. She was lovely afterwards.

A huge rugby fan too, Katherine doesnt get to as many games as shed like. I was in Switzerland doing some concerts and one of the Six Nations games was on. I found my way to an Irish bar and sat with everyone else watching. Its sad to be away and sometimes miss all the excitement, she sighs. That mustve made some fans nights.

Everyone was lovely. Im very lucky in that sense and people quickly made room for us to join their table and we had a lovely night; I made some new friends, she laughs.

Concentrating on singing for now, Katherine set to marry former Blue Peter presenter Gethin Jones some time next year hasnt ruled out more acting after last Christmass Doctor Who special.

Before, it was something that quite terrified me, but I really did enjoy it. I would probably consider it, if it was the right thing, if it was music related.

Shes already mentioned her familys importance and her album liner notes mention missing her father Selwyn, who died aged 70 of lung cancer when she was just 15. Katherines dedicated many awards to him. What would he have made of her success?

I think he wouldve loved it. He was very supportive and encouraging. He always made me feel like I could do it so... she trails off briefly. Hes here watching, he knows whats going on.

Katherine Jenkins is in concert at Christchurch Park, Ipswich on July 2 at 7.30pm. Tickets available from Ipswich Regent website or by calling the box office on 01473


Shop with us at Great British Life

More from People

Tue, 11:25
Spunyarns, in Southwold.

Amy Gallivan found out how one Southwold newsagents creates ‘brighter lives’ for communities through its sale of African handcrafted merchandise. Photos by Sarah Lucy Brown.

Read more
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Belinda Gray (L) and Sally Ball founders of Art for Cure have had to move their sales to Glemham Hall.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, so who better to speak to than the women who have turned a harrowing experience into something positive and inspiring. Lucy Etherington did just that

Read more
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
Common Ground - the Count of Monte Cristo

Julian Harries and Pat Whymark are well known personalities in Suffolk theatre. Andrew Clarke spoke to the pair as they seek to take Suffolk-made theatre to the people rather than the other way round

Read more
Tuesday, September 8, 2015
Ore Tideline Shingle St by Emma Green.

Artist Emma Green will encapsulate both the landscape and plants that grow in the environs of the River Alde, Ore and Deben in an enthralling exhibition set for Snape Maltings, writes Amy Gallivan

Read more
Tuesday, September 1, 2015
Essex Book Festival 2013

Joanna Trollope is one of the nation’s best-selling novelists – and she’s coming to Suffolk’s Flipside festival. Andrew Clarke caught up with her

Read more
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Lady Caroline Cranbrook talks about local food and the Aldeburgh Food Festival at Snape Maltings.

Prince Charles called her ‘the doughtiest fighter for good sense in agriculture’, the newspapers have dubbed her an eco-hero, she won an OBE for her services to the meat industry, she has been a castaway on the BBC’s Desert Island Discs and was The Oldie’s Campaigner of the Year in 2010.

Read more
Monday, August 17, 2015
Lucy Dawson, artist and boutique owner shows what's in her handbag

Amy Gallivan takes a sneak peek into the handbag of Lucy Dawson, artist and owner of Lucy Art Boutique and Lucy Art Gallery in Bacton

Read more
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
The Hat Pimping Parlour, Bungay. Anne Steele (left) and Carolyn Ashton upcycle unwanted hats and turn them into little creations for festivals, parties and weddings.

Two friends have set up a business rescuing old hats and giving them a spectacular new lease of life. Lucy Etherington has fun dressing up in their Hat Pimping Parlour in Bungay

Read more
Monday, August 10, 2015
The Great British Bake Off contestants - Photographer: Mark Bourdillon

After star baker Marie was compared to Rod Stewart this week, we couldn’t help but spot that many of the other contestants shared some spooky similarities with celebrities too…

Read more
Monday, August 3, 2015
Andy Coates stunning turned decorative piece, which has been coloured, oiled with fine detail from the pyrography tool

Julian Claxton meets and photographs woodturner Andy Coates in his Beccles workshop

Read more

Newsletter Signup

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Local Business Directory

Suffolk's trusted business finder

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search