Katherine Jenkins (born 29 June 1980) is a Welsh lyric mezzo-soprano. She is a classical-popular crossover singer who performs across a spectrum of operatic arias, popular songs, musical theatre and hymns.
Jenkins was born in Neath, Wales, where she and her sister Laura were raised by their parents Selwyn John and Susan. She has half-sisters from her father's first marriage, neither of whom she has met.
She attended Alderman Davies Church in Wales Primary School in Neath and later Dwr-y-Felin Comprehensive School, received A grades in GCSEs and A Levels and participated in productions such as Calamity Jane and Guys and Dolls. She attended singing lessons with John Hugh Thomas and passed her Grade 8 examinations with distinction in both singing and piano.
Between 1990 and 1996, Jenkins was a member of the Royal School of Church Music Cathedral Singers and passed the St Cecilia Award, the highest RSCM award for female choristers. She was also a member of the National Youth Choir of Wales for three years, won the BBC Radio 2 Welsh Choirgirl of the Year contest (twice), and the BET Welsh Choirgirl of the Year competition. She was also awarded the Pelenna Valley Male Voice Choir Scholarship for the most promising young singer. At the age of 17 she won a scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Music, where she studied Italian, German, French and Russian, graduating with honours and receiving a music teacher's diploma.
After working as a freelance singing teacher, a tour guide on the London Eye and as a model, she entered a modelling competition and became the Face of Wales 2000. She then decided to follow a musical career. Universal Classics and Jazz heard her demo and she was invited to an interview at which she sang Rossini's "Una voce poco fa". Universal offered Jenkins a six-album deal, the most lucrative in the United Kingdom's classical recording history, reportedly worth £1 million.
Jenkins was the first person to perform the Home Nations anthem "The Power of Four" and began to appear regularly to sing the Welsh national anthem "Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau" at Welsh international rugby union matches, singing with Bryn Terfel at the 2005 Wales vs. England Six Nations match at the Millennium Stadium. She is now the official mascot for the Wales rugby union team.
On 22 January 2005 Jenkins sang in Cardiff at the Tsunami Relief Concert and in April and May of that year supported Irish tenor Ronan Tynan on his first US tour as a solo artist. That May she sang at Trafalgar Square to a 15,000-strong audience celebrating the 60th Anniversary of VE Day. At the Berlin stage of Live 8 in 2005, Jenkins sang the hymn "Amazing Grace", and she later helped to launch The Royal British Legion's poppy appeal at Covent Garden whilst wearing a dress made of 2,500 poppies.
With the Blue Man Group, Jenkins sang "I Feel Love" in front of the Queen at the Royal Variety Performance on 21 November 2005. She performed at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, Norway, on 11 December 2005.
In November 2006 she performed before the Queen at the Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall and joined fellow Welsh singer James Fox in the final verse of "Anthem" from the musical Chess.
In July 2007 Jenkins gave a concert at Margam Park in south Wales, performing alongside Paul Potts and Juan Diego Flórez. Jenkins extended a personal invitation to Potts to sing "Nessun dorma" at the concert.
In September 2007 Jenkins catwalk modeled at Naomi Campbell's Fashion Relief event for charity in a Julien Macdonald dress which was then bought by Sir Philip Green for £10,000.
In November 2007 she sang again at the Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall and was named classical performer of the year at the Variety Club Showbiz Awards.
With Darcey Bussell she has appeared in a stage song-and-dance production, entitled Viva la Diva, paying tribute to stars including Madonna and Judy Garland. The show opened in Manchester in November 2007. Jenkins learned to tap dance, spending eight hours a week learning the choreography and running three miles a day to get fit. She performed the Welsh National Anthem on 17 May 2008 at the 2008 FA Cup Final between Cardiff City and Portsmouth, becoming the first person to do this at an FA Cup Final.
On 12 August 2007 she appeared on ITV's Britain's Favourite View, nominating Three Cliffs Bay on the Gower Peninsula as Britain's favourite view. She commented; "I grew up on the edge of the Gower, but it was still a holiday place for our family. We’d go on weekend breaks to Three Cliffs Bay – six miles down the road! That’s how gorgeous it is."
Jenkins live at Clumber Park in 2011.
On 21 October 2007 she sang "Time to Say Goodbye" with Andrea Bocelli on the Strictly Come Dancing results show. Jenkins and Darcey Bussell performed a segment of their show Viva la Diva before the Queen at the 79th Royal Variety Performance, televised on 9 December 2007. On 15 December, Jenkins performed on The X Factor final with contestant Rhydian Roberts, performing the song "You Raise Me Up". Jenkins made an appearance on Saturday Kitchen LIVE in December 2008.
Jenkins appeared in episode 3 of the fifth series of The Apprentice, performing Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" as part of a private recital to winning team Ignite. The programme was aired on BBC One on 8 March 2009. 2009 saw Jenkins performing on a large number of TV shows – The Royal Variety Performance, Children In Need Rocks The Albert Hall, The Alan Titchmarsh Show, This Morning, GMTV, Something for the Weekend, The Paul O'Grady Show, presenting for the BBC the week long series The Week We Went To War, Piers Morgan's Life Stories for ITV1, Strictly Come Dancing, The Graham Norton Show and The Andrew Marr Show.
Jenkins started 2010 by appearing as one of two mentors on ITV1s prime time Friday night show, Popstar to Operastar. She appeared in the 2010 Christmas Special of Doctor Who, "A Christmas Carol", in which she played Abigail Pettigrew – her first major acting role. Jenkins appeared as the featured singer on the 11 April 2011 episode of ABC's show Dancing with the Stars (DWTS) singing "Con te partirò" (Time To Say Goodbye) and "O mio babbino caro". She later sang "The Flower Duet" with DWTS regular Beverley Staunton.
On 23 October 2011, Jenkins appeared live on US television network FOX from Wembley Stadium, performing "God Save the Queen" before the NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Chicago Bears.
She will be competing on Season 14 of Dancing with the Stars with her partner Mark Ballas.