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16-10-2009
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Katherine Jenkins
Katherine Jenkins is an award-winning mezzo-soprano singer, who was born 29 June 1980 in Wales. She's released numerous studio albums, and has performed around the world.

Wikipedia reports: 'Her first album Premiere made her the fastest-selling mezzo-soprano to date, and she later became the first British classical artist to have two number one albums in the same year.'

Her style of dressing is part-diva, part-barbie, but always very glamorous (katherinejenkins.com).
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Here's Katherine being interviewed on the BBC1 Breakfast Show in October 2008, about her album 'Sacred Arias':


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Small images of Katherine from an audience with Shirley Bassey; the South Bank Show Awards; and standing alongside Charlotte Church, meeting the Queen, at the Royal Variety Performance (dailymail.co.uk):
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A success story at the Classical Brits Awards in 2006 (bbc.co.uk)

Quote:
Dream result for classic Katherine

Welsh soprano Katherine Jenkins expressed her delight at winning the Classical Brit Awards' Album of the Year for the second year running.

The 25-year-old singer said at the awards ceremony at London's Royal Albert Hall last night: "I have to say I'm absolutely stunned. I didn't expect to win it last year, to win it two years in a row - I'm absolutely gobsmacked. I called my album Living A Dream and that's exactly what I'm doing right now. I'm loving every minute of this."

Jenkins dedicated the award to her family, many of whom were in the audience, and paid special tribute to her late father Selwyn, who died 10 years ago.

Her album has sold 450,000 copies so far and the win makes her the first female artist to win two consecutive Classical Brits. Last year she also scooped the best album award for her debut, Premiere, and she is now the UK's best-selling classical artist of all time.

The former teacher brought a touch of Hollywood glamour to the awards by wearing a £75,000 fuschia pink dress, a copy of one Marilyn Monroe wore in the 1953 film How To Marry A Millionaire. The jewel-encrusted Kruszyncka gown was set off by £250,000 worth of Bulgari diamonds.
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Katherine at the 2007 TV Personality of the Year Awards, in a full-length strapless silver gown and Mont Blanc diamonds "worth a staggering £2 million" as one newspaper reported (dailymail.co.uk):
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Katherine on the catwalk in a Julien Macdonald dress for Naomi Campbell's 2007 charity fundraiser, "Fashion for Relief". Top Shop boss Sir Philip Green later bought the dress for £10,000 (dailymail.co.uk):
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Katherine attends a party at Matthew Vaughn and Claudia Schiffer's Notting Hill villa to celebrate the film "Stardust" with actor/comedian David Walliams (dailymail.co.uk):
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She's wearing a dress by Jenny Packer, as she leaves a 2007 Swarovski Fashion Rocks with Philip Green (dailymail.co.uk):
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In October 2007, she made an appearance on the BBC1 show Strictly Come Dancing, where she met one of the celebrity contestants, presenter Gethin Jones, and the two started dating (dailymail.co.uk):
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Katherine relates how the passing of her father gave her the determination to work hard and succeed (dailymail.co.uk):

Quote:
I was born in 1980 and raised in a blissfully happy house in Neath, South Wales. Two years after me, my sister Laura was born. Our mother, Susan, was a radiographer and became the family's main breadwinner after my father Selwyn, a factory worker 23 years her senior, took early retirement and became a house-dad.

My future was decided at the age of four when I won a singing contest.

I was smitten. When I was seven, I joined the choir at the local church, where Mum was a Sunday school teacher. Classical and religious music became a passion. In 1991 I won the Welsh Choir Girl Of The Year competition and started to get bookings for village concerts and weddings.

But a catastrophe was lurking in the wings: Dad developed lung cancer. I was 15 and, until then, he had always been so exuberant. I had not fully appreciated that he was nearly 70 years old. He had always smoked and he continued now. I got really upset and had a go at him: "Why are you still smoking?" I asked, angrily. "You've got lung cancer, Dad."

"Katherine," Mum said later, "smoking's not going to make any difference now. If it makes him happy, let him smoke."

I was in denial and kept hoping he would recover, so when he was taken into a special cancer hospice in Swansea I was heartbroken. Everyone at school was really understanding. The teachers kept saying: "If you need some time off, Katherine, that's fine."

But my GCSEs were approaching. Dad had always been so supportive of my schoolwork and my singing, but I felt really guilty about concentrating on revising while he was so ill. If I could have that time over again I'd spend so much more of it with him.

Two days before I was due to finish school, Dad slipped into a coma. Mum, Laura and I stayed with him in the little self-contained flat in the hospice. When a nurse came in to check on Dad, she could see my distress and said: "You know, although your dad is in a coma, he can hear you." So I sat there, holding his hand, and between sobs I managed to tell him how much I loved him.

The next day, my Auntie Jo told Laura and me she was taking us home to give us something to eat. I was pretty sure Mum knew what was about to happen and wanted to minimise the distress for us. As we pulled up outside the hospice on our return, I knew we were too late. Dad had just passed away.

Within a few days of the funeral, my exams started. What helped me get through them was an extraordinary experience I had the night before my maths exam, when Dad came to me in a dream saying: "Look under the bed, love."

Suddenly wide awake, I did as he had instructed and, to my surprise, found a maths notebook in which I had written just one thing: an algebra equation. I was such a swot that to find one page of a book that I hadn't studied filled me with dread. So I studied it, then went back to sleep.

In the exam, there on the last page was an algebra question that, unbelievably, needed the equation I had read that morning. After that exam, everyone was saying: "Oh, my God, wasn't that last question hard?" But I got an "A".

I am sure my drive to succeed came from knowing Dad had given so much time and energy to me. I went to Gorseinon College in Swansea to do my A-levels. While there, I sang in the college choir at the Brangwyn Hall one night. As the soloist in O Holy Night, I had just reached the Top B in the last line when there was a sudden bang. Everybody in the audience gasped, convinced there had been some kind of explosion.

As I finished the carol, I looked up and saw all these fragments of glass falling from the ceiling and showering the people below. I realised that my top note had shattered the glass panels of one of the lights. Luckily, nobody was hurt.

The principal at Gorseinon suggested I should go to music college and, when I won a place at the Royal Academy of Music, I knew Dad would have been so proud.

When I was a child I was forever singing to him, and now I'm grown up, I still sing for him.
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Entertaining the troops in Iraq (dailymail.co.uk):

Quote:
G.I. Jenkins: How the Welsh opera diva Katherine swapped designer dresses for desert camouflage

"Missile alert at rear! Missile alert at rear!" are not words I ever expected to hear when I became a singer, but when they were urgently shouted as I flew between bases on my first 12-hour, whistle-stop tour to entertain the troops in Iraq, it was for real.

As I was hit by the G-force of the helicopter plunging 1,500ft in seconds, I glanced at the soldiers sitting opposite me: they looked every bit as petrified as I was. I started screaming. While the helicopter was still plummeting, the pilot tilted its nose forward to try to see where the missile was coming from. We were rocking and rolling about all over the place.

"Oh, God!' I thought. "This is it. I'm going to die."

My first contact with the military came just before my 15th birthday when I decided to do something that was totally out of character: I went on a school trip to the Army base in Crickhowell for a training course. All the boys in my class were dead keen to do it and, as I was seen as the ultimate girlie girl, they kept joking that I would never put my name down. But I did.

The Army gave me a hard time on the commando assault course, where I'd never seen so much mud in my life. There I was, trying to protect my hairdo and make-up and not break any fingernails, which drove the instructor doolally.

"You wanna be in the Army?" he kept bellowing at me, his face an inch from mine. "You're too pretty to be in the Army." At one stage, his foot on my back, he pushed me face down into the mud. I thought it was fab-lous, as we say in Wales.

Ten years later, in May 2005, I was asked to perform in London's Trafalgar Square at a massive concert attended by 15,000 people to mark the 60th anniversary of VE Day.

I was singing the final song of the show, Dame Vera Lynn's wartime classic We'll Meet Again, when I noticed her standing at the back of the stage, singing along. "Oh, gosh, this is so wrong," I thought. "She should be out here, centre stage."

I went over to Dame Vera and drew her out to the middle of the stage. The two of us then stood there together, holding hands, as I sang the rest of the song. The people in the square went crazy.

It couldn't have been more emotional and afterwards both Dame Vera and I were in tears. "You must go out and entertain the troops, you know," she said. "I will," I promised.

Photographs of Dame Vera and I holding hands appeared in the newspapers and they began to call me "the new Forces' Sweetheart", so I guess it wasn't surprising that I received an invitation from the British Forces Foundation (BFF) to go out to entertain the troops in Basra.

The BFF was launched in 1999 by the comedian Jim Davidson. Entertainers work on a voluntary basis, with only their travel and equipment costs met. Emma Bunton, Martine McCutcheon, Atomic Kitten and Status Quo have all done work for BFF but none of them had been to Basra. I jumped at the chance.

In December 2005, we flew to Kuwait where we boarded an enormous helicopter; the type that has a ramp at the end for loading Land Rovers and such. I was so "go-go-go" that when asked if I would like to sit on the edge of the ramp and look out of the open back, for some reason I said: "OK."

The next thing I knew, I had a harness strapped around my waist and I was sitting right on the edge of the ramp. Flying 2,000ft above the desert, the view is amazing, but when the helicopter is open at the back and there are machine-guns on board it is a trifle unsettling, to say the least.

The base where we did our first show, for 1,500 troops, was right next to the Shatt al-Arab waterway. The stage was two flat-bed lorries parked back-to-back. Jim Davidson was absolutely brilliant and created a great atmosphere.

While he was performing, I was waiting in the wings, wearing a Marc Jacobs dress which I had deliberately chosen for its patriotic red, white and dark blue stripes. When it came to my turn, I sang my heart out and tried to keep the tears at bay. It seemed to go down well.

For the show, this time for about 4,000 troops, I had tried to choose songs that my audience would be at least a little familiar with, such as operatic aria-turned footie anthem Nessun Dorma, Over The Rainbow, and my version of Dolly Parton's I Will Always Love You.

I ended with You'll Never Walk Alone because the words are so appropriate to express what I wanted to convey to the soldiers: that we were all there for them and proud of what they were trying to achieve. When I was singing Over The Rainbow, all the troops sang along with me. It was such an emotional moment: I could see some of them gazing up at me through tear-filled eyes.

At the end, some of the soldiers presented me with my own set of desert combats. I was so touched I burst into tears. I'd been admiring their combats all day because they're such lovely colours. Jim had nicknamed me GI Jenkins, so the soldiers had even embroidered "Jenkins" on the shirt pocket.
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She talks a bit more about her romance with Gethin (dailymail.co.uk):

Quote:
I want to get married and have children, says Katherine Jenkins

Welsh opera star Katherine Jenkins giggles infectiously and a delicate flush tinges a face still tanned from a two-week Caribbean cruise with her family.

There is no mistaking a young woman in love. She is coy when asked about her three-month romance with Gethin Jones, the darkly handsome Blue Peter presenter and runner-up in the last series of Strictly Come Dancing, but fails to suppress a satisfied smile.

"We're still getting to know each other, but I'm happy to say that it's going very well," she says. The couple have been dating since October after Katherine, 27, appeared as a guest performer on the ballroom-dancing show that won Gethin, with his sexy rumbas and figure-hugging trousers, a legion of new female fans. But the singer is clearly reluctant to talk about the budding romance.

"Yes, it's pretty serious, but honestly I don't want to go into it very much," she says firmly. "I like to keep my private life private and I don't want people to think that I'm trying to exploit the relationship. We are together because we like each other and not because we want any publicity from it."

Her voice has a steely edge that hints at the strength of character that underlies her natural girl-next-door niceness. "I know that we are both in the public eye and there is obviously a certain amount of interest in the fact that we are together. But it really is very early days.

"We've been seeing each other for only a short while and neither of us wants to jinx it. In any event, we don't need that kind of pressure right now. We just want time to get to know each other. We are both busy and hardworking people but we find the time to meet up whenever we can. It's wonderful and we are enjoying being together."

Confirming the relationship for the first time, she hints - after much gentle probing - that Gethin, 29, just might be the kind of caring man with whom she could settle down eventually.

"I can see myself married, with children. I want to be a really good mum, but I think it might be a few years away because I want to get my career really established and be in a position where I can take some time off. Ultimately, I would want to be able to combine both a family life and my singing career," she says.

So, what does she consider to be good husband material? "What I look for in a man is somebody who will make me laugh." Her eyes twinkle mischievously, as if recalling some private joke. "Someone with a big heart; I mean generous in spirit and with good manners. Somebody who will get on well with my family."
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Katherine in Vivienne Westwood at the 2008 Bafta Television Awards (dailymail.co.uk):
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At the 2008 Glamour Awards (dailymail.co.uk)
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Katherine at Kenwood Hall, performing with the London Philharmonia Orchestra, and the next day, singing at the official handover of the Beijing Olympic Games to London in front of crowds outside Buckingham Palace (dailymail.co.uk):

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