Exclusive: Katherine Jenkins on her return to Ipswich
Suffolk is fast becoming Katherine Jenkins’ second home. Entertainment writer WAYNE SAVAGE talks touring and recording, superstitions, TV and Strictly Come Dancing with the Welsh singer.
Katherine’s enjoying a well-earned day off after a two-day video shoot; what sounds like pots and pans clang in the background as we chat.
“It’s nice to be home not doing 15, 16 hour days,” she says when I ask how she’s making the most of it.
“I like cooking [pots and pans it is then] and I don’t watch TV regularly because I’m not often here but I like historical things like The Tudors and I’ve just got into watching the Borgias on Sky Atlantic.”
The Borgias? It’s quite, how shall I put it, spicy.
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“Well, I’m only on episode one,” she says.
The Welsh mezzo-soprano is bringing her new Daydream theatre tour - her first in three years - to Ipswich’s Regent Theatre on Thursday, January 12 and Friday 13. Hang on, Friday the 13th?
“I’m not superstitious luckily enough,” she laughs. “I am with some things, but not that so I’ll be alright.”
Katherine was last in town this July, performing at The Last Night of the Proms at Christchurch Park. She obviously loves coming here.
“I was yes,” she laughs. “It was an amazing venue; I loved the show. We were very lucky with the weather so yes it’s nice to be returning so quickly.”
Given her love for history, will she manage to squeeze in some sightseeing of Suffolk gems like Christchurch Mansion or Sutton Hoo?
“Sometimes I do; it depends on the schedule and how much time I’ve got allocated. Certainly on this next tour - I’m sure you’ve seen the schedule, it’s pretty intense - I probably won’t. Sometimes in the day I’ll pop into town and get a bit of lunch or go shopping or something so people may spot me,” she laughs.
The tour follows the release of her new album of the same name, out on October 10, and draws together classical, traditional, folk, a Welsh hymn, tunes from musicals and pop songs she loves and has been inspired by.
Tracks include I Dreamed A Dream from Les Mis�rables, rarely performed in French; a new composition of Ave Maria and her tribute to service men and women through the ages, A Flower Tells A Story.
“With the last album there was a more pop approach, so I felt that was why we needed to do a big pop arena show. I had an amazing time on my first arena tour but Daydream is a very intimate album and I wanted this tour to reflect that,” said the Welsh multi-platinum selling mezzo-soprano.
“It’s a chance for my fans to see me up close and personal in some of the UK’s most beautiful theatres.”
The tour will also see Jenkins perform some of her best-known songs from her last seven albums including tracks from her debut Premiere through to her best-selling Believe.
“There’s a really wide range [of music on the album], that’s why I decided, you know, I could go and do the arenas again but I’d really like to return to all the lovely smaller concert venues we have in the UK because it’ll give it a more intimate feeling; that’s really what the album’s about.”
I’m particularly intrigued in her French version of I Dreamed a Dream.
“It was originally written in French by French composers but it’s hard to find a version of that sung in French which is why I did it. It’s a gorgeous song, very moving and so many people love it but I didn’t want it to be just another version.
“So I looked into the original and it’s interesting because when you read it in the language it was written in you sometimes get more out of the song, you get a little bit more of what they were trying to say before it was translated and I found that really interesting.”
Challenging to do though.
“Well it is when you know something so well and then when you sing it in another language it does slightly change; you’ve almost got to approach it as if it’s a brand new song.”
Recorded in Los Angeles and London, she enjoyed returning to the studio to lay down Daydream.
“With the last album [Believe] I was going out, doing more of the arena tours; it’s been two years since I’ve been in the studio because it really took off internationally and went platinum in quite a lot of countries.
“That meant I was going to countries promoting [the album] and then going back and touring; that really took a good 18 months. It meant I haven’t really had the time to go back in the studio, but meant I was absolutely ready to go back when I did because it felt like ages. It’s been brilliant.”
What she’s really looking forward too, though, is entertaining audiences in person.
“That’s what I love, I’m in the studio and it’s brilliant to be able to focus all your energy and make something and, you know, sort of have that creative time. But nothing beats the live audience and really being able to see their reactions, see how it’s affecting them and also to have a really good laugh with them in between the songs.”
Seeing as she’s engaged to former Strictly Come Dancing contestant Gethin Jones and has sung on the hit BBC1 show I have to ask, would she like to compete herself?
“Yes,” she says instantly. “Doing something like Strictly will be a show I would love to do, I’d love to learn a skill like that; I think it’s amazing when people can dance like that.”
“I am quite competitive and I know if I was going do it I’d want to completely focus my time, I wouldn’t want to be trying to fit in the training around everything else that I do. So I would maybe do it, you know, maybe if they would have me in a little while.” So, which professional would she like to be paired with?
“Well, I mean, I’m friendly with some of them you know through obviously Gethin being on the show so I really wouldn’t mind,” she says diplomatically. “They’re all so lovely. I wouldn’t mind.”
Tickets for Katherine Jenkins’ Daydream tour go on sale from 9.30am, Friday, September 2.