Welsh mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins is a celebrated performer,
who emerged in the early 2000s as Britain's all-time best-selling
classical artist of the past 25 years. Blessed with a warm voice
and charismatic stage presence, Jenkins achieved wide recognition
in 2003 after performing at Westminster Cathedral during Pope John
Paul II's silver jubilee. Buoyed by that appearance, her 2004
debut, Premiere, hit number one on the U.K. Classical Album Chart.
She has enjoyed both critical and commercial success since, with
six of her albums reaching the top of the U.K. classical charts.
Two of those albums, 2004's Second Nature, and 2005's Living a
Dream, also took home the Classic Brit Award for Album of the Year.
While she remains a star in Britain, she is internationally
recognized, and in 2012 briefly shifted away from music to compete
on ABC's Dancing with the Stars where she finished as a runner-up.
In 2014, Jenkins was made on Officer of the Order of the British
Empire (OBE) for her services to music and for her charity work.
Born June 29, 1980, in Neath, West Glamorgan, Wales, Jenkins fell
under the sway of classical music at age seven, studying piano and
singing in her local choir throughout childhood. In 1990, she
joined the Royal School of Church Music Cathedral Singers and also
served with the National Youth Choir of Wales. At 17, Jenkins was
accepted into London's Royal Academy of Music, tackling a series of
operatic roles while studying Italian, German, French, and Russian.
She continued pursuing opera as a postgraduate while moonlighting
as a vocal instructor, but upon winning the Face of Wales modeling
contest she instead supplemented her income as a fashion model. In
2003, Universal Classics signed Jenkins to a six-album,
seven-figure recording contract, reputedly the largest deal in the
U.K.'s classical music history. While at work on her debut LP, she
performed at Westminster Cathedral in honor of Pope John Paul II
and also made her inaugural appearance at the famed Sydney Opera
House. Issued in the spring of 2004, Jenkins' debut, Premiere,
immediately topped the classical music charts, and its success
inspired a quickie follow-up, Second Nature. Together the albums
vaulted the singer to a level of commercial success previously
unknown in classical music circles, and she further exploited her
growing mainstream popularity by recording a classical rendition of
Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You" for 2005's Living a Dream.
Serenade topped both the U.K. classical and album charts in 2006,
as did Rejoice the following year. Sacred Arias (2008) represented
her last album for Universal before transitioning to Warner Bros.
for the more contemporary Believe (2009) and Daydream (2011). The
following year Jenkins released her first official holiday album,
This Is Christmas. In 2013 she returned to Decca with the release
of the L'Amour collection, and the same year raised over £25,000
for Macmillan Cancer Support in the U.K. by running the London
marathon. Her dedication to charity and the music industry was
recognized in 2014 with an O.B.E. at that year's New Year's honors.
That same year, Jenkins returned to her classical crossover roots
with the album Home Sweet Home, which featured a collection of
rousing anthems with nods to her home country. Taking time away
from the music industry to give birth to her first child in 2015,
Jenkins returned in 2016 with her 11th studio album Celebration.
Released to coincide with Queen Elizabeth II's 90th birthday
celebrations, the album featured a host of patriotic numbers,
including the full three-verse version of the British national
anthem "God Save the Queen." The following year, she starred as
Julie Jordan opposite Alfie Boe's Billy Bigelow in a staging of
Rodgers & Hammerstein's Carousel at the English National Opera.
In 2018, she returned to her studio work with Guiding Light, which
included the single "Jealous of the Angels."