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Katherine JenkinsBorn: Sun 29th June 1980 (age: 32)
She played Abigail in the 2010 Christmas Special, A Christmas Carol where she sang to the shark.
Jenkins was born in Neath, Wales, where she and her sister Laura were raised by their parents Selwyn John and Susan. She has 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, received A grades in GCSEs and A Levels and participated in productions such as Calamity Jane and Guys and Dolls. She attended singing lessons with John Hugh Thomas 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. She was also a member of the National Youth Choir of Wales for three years, won the BBC Radio 2Welsh 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, where she studied Italian, German, French and Russian, graduating with honours 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, she entered a modelling competition and became the Face of Wales 2000. She then decided to follow a musical career. Universal Classics and Jazz heard her demo and she was invited to an interview at which she sang Rossini's "Una voce poco fa". Universal offered Jenkins a six-album deal, the most lucrative in the United Kingdom's classical recording history, reportedly worth £1 million.
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 million copies. After her first album, Premiere, made her the fastest-selling mezzo-soprano to date she became the first British classical crossover artist to have two number one albums in the same year. She is the first female artist to win two consecutive Classical BRIT Awards: her second album,Second Nature, reached number 16 in the UK Albums Chart, 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. The album held the number one position for nearly a year and reached number four in the pop album charts. 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.
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. The top four albums on HMV's classical charts were hers.
Her fifth album, Rejoice, was released on 19 November 2007 and included songs written specially for her, two byTake That's Gary Barlow. The album entered the pop album charts at number three, beating the Spice Girlsand Girls Aloud. 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."
On 20 October 2008 Jenkins released Sacred Arias, which is her last album with Universal Music. On 19 OctoberThe Daily Telegraph stated that Jenkins had signed the biggest classical recording deal in history, for US$10 million (£5.8 million), with Warner Music.
Jenkins released her latest album, Believe, on 26 October 2009, the first with Warner Music. This album featuredAndrea Bocelli and other musicians like André 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 performed the theme from The Godfather, Parla Piu Piano at Gary Barlow'sChildren In Need Rock The Albert Hall with cellist Julian Lloyd Webber. Later in December 2009, she performed a cover of Evanescence's "Bring Me to Life" at The Royal Variety Performance. On 23 May 2010, she went to Argentina for the first time and sang Parla Piu Piano in the popular Argentinian show Susana Giménez.
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. At the Rugby World Cup in 2003 she made herSydney Opera House debut and, in August 2004, her first USA appearance, supporting Hayley Westenra at Joe's Pub in New York City.
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 vs. England Six Nations match at the Millennium Stadium. She is now the official mascot for the Wales rugby union team.
On 22 January 2005 Jenkins sang in Cardiff at the Tsunami Relief Concert 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. At the Berlin stage of Live 8 in 2005, Jenkins sang the hymn "Amazing Grace", 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.
With the Blue Man Group, Jenkins sang "I Feel Love" in front of the Queen at the Royal Variety Performance on 21 November 2005. She performed at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, Norway, on 11 December 2005.
In November 2006 she performed before the Queen at the Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance at theRoyal Albert Hall and joined fellow Welsh singer James Fox in the final verse of "Anthem" from the musical Chess.
In July 2007 Jenkins gave a concert at Margam Park in south Wales, performing alongside Paul Potts and Juan Diego Flórez. Jenkins extended a personal invitation to Potts to sing "Nessun dorma" at the concert.
In November 2007 she sang again at the Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall and was named classical performer of the year at the Variety Club Showbiz Awards.
With Darcey Bussell she has appeared in a stage song-and-dance production, entitled Viva la Diva, paying tribute to stars including Madonna and Judy Garland. The show opened in Manchester in November 2007. Jenkins learned to tap dance, spending eight hours a week learning the choreography and running three miles a day to get fit. 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.
On 8 July 2009 Jenkins performed at the opening ceremony of the Ashes Test Series 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.At the beginning of 2009, Jenkins performed in South Korea withPlácido Domingo. This was Jenkins's third concert with Domingo 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 12 November 2009, Jenkins performed a duet with cellist Julian Lloyd Webber for Children in Need at the Royal Albert Hall. The same month, Jenkins performed "I Believe" (from Believe) with Andrea Bocelli on his PBS Christmas Special. The duet appears in his album, My Christmas. Jenkins was scheduled to do her first Arena tour in March 2010.
On 24 May 2010, as part of the Argentina Bicentennial she performed the Canadian Anthem at the Argentina VS.Canada World Cup warm-up football match in the River Plate Stadium at Buenos Aires. On 11 June 2010, Jenkins performed a live comedy routine with Armenian comedy pianist Kev Orkian for a private birthday party at which Motown legend Lionel Richie performed, along with the LSO (London Symphony Orchestra) and comediansBobby Davro and Jethro. The comedy sketch was an updated version of an old Victor Borge routine which Orkian had written and developed with Jenkins. In her official blog, Jenkins mentions that she may one day perform the routine in public. On 3 July 2010, Jenkins took the stage at Cheltenham Racecourse, with the National Symphony Orchestra. She was supported by violinist Diana Yukawa.
Biography from the Wikipedia article, licensed under CC-BY-SA