Welsh mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins OBE recently announced her return to the live arena with a full 21 date UK tour for 2015, culminating with a homecoming show at Cardiff Motorpoint Arena on Saturday 14th March. The new tour follows the recent release of her latest album Home Sweet Home. The tour ending in Wales means Katherine will really be pleased to be Home Sweet Home as she recently told me.
“It’s well planned this time. It means I get all the family and friends in as well as get to relax after the last night.”
“Touring can be quite gruelling at times, you get to the end of a tour and it can be quite sad and emotional that it’s coming to an end. The fact that this last night is a home crowd which is always my favourite and makes me up my game is going to be a really nice end to the tour.”
Cherished as one of Britain’s favourite singers, Katherine has achieved meteoric success as the world’s most prolific classical crossover artist. Her albums have sold in excess of eight million copies and gone platinum all around the world. She has received numerous accolades for her recordings, including two Classical BRITs for the coveted Album of the Year Award.
In 2013, Katherine headlined the Queen’s Coronation Festival at Buckingham Palace and was awarded an OBE at the 2014 New Year’s Honours List for her services to music and charity. She also cemented her position as one of the UK’s greatest exports and toured South Africa, the US, China, Abu Dhabi and Europe.
Katherine admits though that touring is a “learning curve.”
“I take a few home things with me or I try to have family and friends on the road sometimes.”
“I have my own little family on the road in my orchestra which is conducted by Anthony English. They have been there from the start so after ten years of performing we all get on quite well. You get used to building a team of people you like and get on with.”
“If you’re away from your loved ones and they can’t be with you then you need your network there as well.”
Katherine married American artist and film actor-director Andrew Levitas in September this year and hopes to show her new husband some of the UK on her next tour.
“The way we’ll probably work it is when I’m on tour he’ll come with me and when he’s making a film next I’ll make sure I’m working in the area that he’s in”
Katherine’s new album Home Sweet Home is her tenth album since Premiere a decade ago and includes a variety of familiar songs including Land of My Fathers, Barcelona (recorded with Alfie Boe) and Sanctus (Elgar’s Nimrod).
In selecting material for Home Sweet Home, Katherine says “We had the luxury of time which was brilliant, so we could consider the songs very carefully.”
“I basically wanted to go back to my classical roots and find music which would crossover and be the kind of songs that people would recognise rather than the bog standard things that people keep churning out time and again”.
Katherine is keen that her fans enjoy the music, particularly in her live shows and recently went to the point of communicating it through social media.
“I actually went out on Twitter and said “Okay guys, what would you want me to sing?” I really appreciated the response.”
“There are favourites like Hallelujah, Time to Say Goodbye and Angels, but I’m also going to be singing the Welsh national anthem Land of My Fathers, Dreaming of the Days and Nimrod from the new album.”
“There’s going to be a mix of all kinds of classical crossover.”
Prior to the tour Katherine, will be coming home to Wales with her new husband for Christmas; is there anything she’s particularly looking forward to over the festive season?
“I just want to go home and have some time with the family,” she says, “ my sisters got a little boy called Rhys so I just want to have cuddles with Rhys.” Home Sweet Home indeed!
A version of this interview by Andy Howells appeared in the entertainment supplement The Guide in The South Wales Argus on December 19, 2014