A voice that monopolizes the air when it is at full strength but can also break your heart at whispering volume might be an ideal way to describe what it's like when Katherine Jenkins sings. "The young woman from the little place with the huge voice" is how some describe her. And lest we forget that she's drop dead gorgeous with a body to match. With recordings that are multi-platinum along with critical acclaim and awards to last for decades, her every step is now chronicled daily in the English papers. Now Ms. Jenkins has set her sights squarely on America.Get ready.
Not one to limit herself to opera or her classical/crossover "I love all different kinds of music and never intend to lock myself into just one category," says Jenkins. Katherine's US debut album "Believe" has been produced by 15 time Grammy winning star maker and hit man David Foster for 143/Warner Bros. Records and is scheduled to be released in June 2010.
"All I know is that I've made the album that I am proudest of in my life. It is mine," reveals Katherine.
There was an express intention of crafting something new. "My usual way of working on my previous six albums was to pick the tracks, have the arrangements done for me and then go into the studio and sing.But collaborating with David Foster, Jenkins had some bold ideas starting with selecting Evanescence's 2003 worldwide goth-pop smash "Bring Me to Life". She had connected to the urgency of the original version. With David's radical orchestral rewiring of the song - out with percussion and in with pulsating beat of strings, this touchstone song was the start of the album taking shape.
When Bob Marley's "No Woman, No Cry" was presented to her as a possible cut for the album, she thought it was an inspired idea. She began to imagine her own unique take on the classic in her head. "When you are taking classical crossover music to the next step, it's all about how it is going to translate to the bigger setting. I immediately could imagine performing this song live. And one of the extraordinary things about Foster is his ability to understand the point in a song when the music would make the audience stand up and applaud. Our collective goal was to create that moment in the studio setting," commented Katherine.
"My favorite song on the record is 'Believe' which I had the honor to sing with Andrea Bocelli. Though we've sung together before, we've never recorded together. Instead of a traditional opera duet, we went for a new reading of a pop song. It's not about turning my voice into a pop singer's voice. It's just my vocal and emotional interpretation of a pop song," added Jenkins.
Katherine's special reading of Sarah McLachlan's "Angel" was pared down by Foster on the production end. "I wanted it to feel like a song that I was singing around the house - very intimate and personal."
At 29 years of age, Katherine, a native from the tiny village of Neath in the Welsh Valley in humble surroundings, is taking it up to diva level and is ready to expand her horizons on a global scale.
"Everyone has their own definition of a diva. When I think of a diva, I think of a voice. I think of a woman who's independent and in charge of her own career. I think of a woman who knows what she wants to do artistically. I think of a woman who does that thing effortlessly. I'm more than ready to go down that path," claims Katherine.
On the eve of the first day of recording in Los Angeles and in the spur of the moment Foster insisted
Katherine come with him to serenade Barbra Streisand at her birthday party. "There I was in my pajamas and jet lagged with no makeup on thinking, 'how am I going to get ready for this in 15 minutes?' Next thing I know I'm in a room filled with 200 of the biggest stars in Hollywood. I may have looked calm but I certainly wasn't. I kept thinking that when I tell my mum about this back in Neath, she's never going to believe me.'"
Britain's treasure Katherine Jenkins will not be a secret for much longer.