Known for her angelic voice and classical crossover style, Katherine Jenkins has wowed audiences all over the globe and will head to the Ocean City Music Pier to perform alongside the Ocean City Pops on Sunday, Aug. 11.
From duets with Andrea Bocelli, to “Dancing with the Stars,” and classical covers of rock songs, Jenkins has made her mark on classical music. She even performed for the Queen and Royals at an intimate dinner party.
“Singing for Her Majesty the Queen on her 90th birthday was a huge honor, but really quite nerve wracking,” Jenkins says. “I think she is amazing and to be so up-close-and-personal at dinner with just 15 of us was incredible. It’s the sort of performance that I’ll always remember.”
Jenkins began singing at just 4 years old and by the ripe old age of 7 she was devoted to classical music. “My daughter is approaching 4 now, and I think how young she is and how very early I started,” she says.
Jenkins first learned to sing in church. “When I started singing, we never thought of it as a career or anything like that. At that age you just want to sing because you love it. My mum would always have to kind of stop me, because I was getting up and singing too much. I would try to put on a show for anyone that came over,” Jenkins says.
By the age of 10, Jenkins’ natural talent was obvious. “It was again, one of those things that happened through the church. People began telling my mum that I had a voice and I should be training it properly. That really gave me a boost to continue on.”
Jenkins went on to represent Wales and win “Choir Girl of the Year” as well as multiple other singing competitions. At 18 she was awarded a scholarship to study music at the Royal Academy of Music in London. “I was actually very nervous. I’m from a very small town and to be moving to a big city, the capitol, was a big thing. I had never lived away from home,” Jenkins says.
Following graduation, Jenkins thought she should take some time off. “I felt very young in my studies, you know the voice matures, so I thought I would take some time, work and earn money to pay for post-graduate opera studies,” Jenkins explains. She started teaching music to young children, however, after only a few months, Jenkins was approached by Universal and offered a six-album record contract. “It was amazing. I couldn’t believe that I was on the same record label as Pavarotti and my fellow Welshman, Sir Bryn Terfel. And a six-album deal made me feel like they believed in me,” Jenkins says.
Her next big break came soon after when she became the official singer of the Wales Rugby Team. “As a Welshie, we love rugby. You can’t not love rugby when you grow up there. I was asked to sing at the biggest match of the year, which was a bit of a baptism by fire. I went from being a music teacher to singing live in front of 75,000 people and millions of people on TV,” Jenkins says.
She has been winning over royalty and commoners ever since. In 2012, Jenkins was on “Dancing with the Stars,” where she came in second. “I mean it was one of the hardest things that I’ve ever done in my life, but every time I look back at this time, it always puts a massive smile on my face. I was really taken aback by how warm and welcoming everyone was. I expected to be the first person voted off, because no one knew who I was. I made the most incredible friends,” Jenkins recalls.
That same year, Jenkins went on tour with Andrea Bocelli. Her friend and hairdresser (from DWTS) set her up on a blind date with an American. “You never think blind dates work out but this was my first and last,” Jenkins jokes. She married him and while they live in London, they spend their summers here on the East Coast. “When I was asked to perform in Ocean City it was really fortuitous. It worked out perfectly and my whole family will get to see the show,” Jenkins says.
While Jenkins has a busy tour schedule all over the world, her only U.S. date is at the Ocean City Music Pier. “I will probably sing one or two songs from my new album called ‘Guiding Light’ and then do a span of everything from opera arias to Broadway songs to classical versions of pop songs. I include a bit of everything, so hopefully everybody will enjoy the show,” Jenkins says.