Katherine Jenkins OBE
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Katherine JenkinsBorn: Sun 29th June 1980 (age: 34)
Katherine Jenkins, OBE is a Welsh lyric mezzo-soprano, singer and songwriter. She is a popular classical-crossover singer who performs across a spectrum of operatic arias, popular songs, musical theatre and hymns.
After winning singing competitions in her youth, Jenkins studied at the Royal Academy of Music, modelled and taught voice. She came to wide public attention in 2003 when she sang at Westminster Cathedral in honour of Pope John Paul II's silver jubilee. Since 2004, she has released numerous albums that have performed well on British and foreign charts. In both 2005 and 2006, her albums received Classic Brit Awards as Album of the Year. She has also been seen widely in concert, including concerts for British troops in Iraq and Afghanistan; she has also sung at sporting events, on television shows and in support of many charities. In Spring 2012, she competed on the US television show Dancing with the Stars, finishing in second place, behind NFL Super Bowl champion Donald Driver.
Jenkins was born in Neath, Wales, where she and her sister Laura were raised by their parents Selwyn John and Susan.
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 1991 and 1996, Jenkins was a member of the Royal School of Church Music Cathedral Singers and passed 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 2 Welsh 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, 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 UK 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 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 her Sydney Opera House debut as a guest of fellow Welshman, Max Boyce 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.
In the 2010 Christmas Special of Doctor Who, "A Christmas Carol", in which she played Abigail Pettigrew—her first major acting role.
Her father, Selwyn, died of lung cancer at age 70 when she was 15. She has dedicated each award she received to him. Jenkins, a Christian, says she believes "in heaven. I believe my dad is somewhere doing something nice." While Jenkins was studying at the Royal Academy of Music, at 19 years of age, she was attacked, beaten and robbed by an unknown assailant who attempted to rape her, but she fought the man off.
After Jenkins and Dame Vera Lynn were together at centre stage at the 60th Anniversary of VE Day in 2005 during the song "We'll Meet Again", the newspapers dubbed Jenkins "the new Forces' Sweetheart", a nickname given to Lynn during World War II. Lynn had said to Jenkins that she ought to "go out and entertain the troops," which Jenkins promised she would. In December 2005 and 2006 Jenkins travelled to Iraq to entertain the soldiers for Christmas. On her first visit to Iraq in 2005, when travelling to Shaibah, the largest British base in Southern Iraq, the helicopter she was travelling in was targeted by missiles. Anti-missile flares were deployed and the group landed safely.
In November 2008 Jenkins revealed to the Daily Mail that when she was a student she had taken class A drugs (cocaine and ecstasy) and cannabis. She noted that she was introduced to them by people she socialised with at the time and that she stopped taking them after signing her record deal in 2003. In the article Jenkins said "taking drugs is the biggest regret of my life".
Jenkins's autobiography, Time to Say Hello, was released on 28 January 2008, and was also serialised in The Mail on Sunday.
At the start of 2007 Jenkins made her first appearance in the British young people's Sunday Times Rich List which ranked her as the sixty-second richest young person in Britain with an estimated wealth of £9 million. In 2010, the Sunday Times Rich List placed her at joint 11th in the Top 20 Young Millionaires list alongside Leona Lewis and Charlotte Church with an estimated wealth of £11 million.
In April 2013, Jenkins attended the funeral of Baroness Thatcher in St Paul's Cathedral. It was believed she was invited because of her charity work with the armed forces.
Jenkins ran the 2013 London Marathon, raising £25,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support in memory of her father. She finished the course in 5 hours 26 minutes.
Jenkins was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2014 New Year Honours for services to music and for charitable services.
In July 2010, Jenkins was reported to have bought a house with TV presenter Gethin Jones. In February 2011, they became engaged, but on 30 December 2011, Jenkins and Jones announced that they were no longer together. In February 2014, she began dating American artist and film actor-director Andrew Levitas. Jenkins and Levitas later announced their engagement in April 2014. The couple married at Hampton Court Palace on 27 September 2014. Later, a religious blessing was held in Jenkins' hometown of Neath. On 13 April 2015, Jenkins announced that she was expecting her first child with her husband Levitas.