Katherine Jenkins has just released her eighth studio album, Daydream. It’s Katherine’s sixth consecutive top ten in the UK and further evidence of her status as one of world’s most successful classical-crossover artists. A UK tour is also imminent, but when I call her at home in London, all she wants to do is talk rugby; “Don’t tell me the result of the Wales v Australia game as I’ve recorded it!” she requests before I’ve even had a chance to say hello. Katherine is, of course, referring to the Bronze Final at the Rugby World Cup – in other words, the 3rd/4th play-off before the Final between France and New Zealand. With this in mind, there was only one place where we could start.
Are you still hurting after the Wales v France game at the Rugby World Cup? Where did you watch it?
I’m still in mourning. We were absolutely robbed and I was almost in tears come the final whistle. I watched the game in London but a good friend of mine came down from Carmarthen so there was a real party atmosphere in the house before the game. When Sam (Warburton) was given the red card the party fizzled out and it spoilt the occasion. Sam has been so focused throughout this tournament – I was gutted for him and the team.
One last sports question: Swansea City is back in football’s top division after nearly a thirty year absence. Have you been to the Liberty Stadium this season to the see The Jacks?
No, not yet, but I’m going to try and get down there at some point this season – I’m just so busy with work it’s hard to find time to get back, but I will.
Do you remember the first time you performed in front of an audience?
I do. I was four-years-old and I sang Going Down the Garden to Eat Worms at the Church Village Hall. My mother taught me the song and it may sound silly, but I knew then what I wanted to do in life - I wanted to perform, even if a few people were laughing at me at the time!
Tell us a bit about the recording process for Daydream.
It’s been two years since my last studio album because my previous album, Believe, was my first major success outside of the UK so that involved a lot of travelling. I hadn’t been in the studio for a long time so initially I had to think about what songs I wanted to record and collected ideas for songs over a period of six months. After that, I began recording in Los Angeles with (Take That producer) John Shanks who I’ve worked with before and also (Barbara Streisand producer) Simon Franglen in London.
The title Daydream suggests this is your most personal album to date.
It is a very personal record and a lot of songs on the album could be subjects of a daydream such as J'avais Reve D'une Autre Vie (the French and original version of I Dreamed a Dream) and the opening track Black is the Colour. Our daydreams are our most personal, inner thoughts and I wanted those thoughts to represent the album.
What marketing did you use on Twitter for the album?
I love Twitter and although I’m a private person, I love to interact and share pictures with my followers, especially when I’m travelling. I set up the hashtag #kjdaydream for fans to retweet and as soon as we reached 10,000 tweets the Daydream album was unlocked for fans to listen to online before the release date.
One of your ambitions is to play the role of Carmen in an opera. Why Carmen?
Because I’m a mezzo-soprano and so is the role of Carmen. I love her character, she’s so sultry and a real minx!
You’ve run a few 10k races for charity in Wales. I’m running next year’s London Marathon – have you got any tips for me?
It sounds like you should be giving me the tips (laughs). I’d love to run the London Marathon one day but I’m going to build up to a half marathon first with my girls. I’d recommend a good play list and make sure it’s on shuffle.
The other problem I have is it’s my 30th birthday the weekend before. Should I abstain from alcohol or just go for it?
You should definitely go for it, just make sure you’re back training the following morning. A lot of people don’t know this, but coconut water is a brilliant post-exercise drink for refuelling the body. Get some of that down you and you’ll be back on form!
I’ll be sure to buy some this weekend. You were spotted at The Passion in Port Talbot during the Easter weekend this year. What did you think of Michael Sheen’s performance?
I was incredibly moved throughout the weekend and inspired by Michael’s amazing performance – he deserves so much recognition for it. It brought the community of Port Talbot together and delivered the message of Easter to so many people who were probably unaware of it. I loved it.
Last time we spoke you expressed an interest in improving your Welsh. Have you been practising?
I little bit but no where near enough. It’s not easy to practice when I’m always in a foreign country!
You won’t believe me, but I had a Welsh lesson this morning with your old A level teacher Mair. I told her I had to leave the class early because I was interviewing you, in Welsh of course.
That’s amazing – what a small world we live in!
I think you mean ‘Byd Bach’. Moving on, what was the last album you bought?
It was either Bruno Mars or Adele. You know Adele’s half-Welsh, don’t you?
Yes, she told me herself at a gig in the Royal Albert Hall. Her dad is from Penarth.
OK, I’m not going to doubt you. You appeared in the Christmas episode of Doctor Who last year. Was it odd watching yourself on TV on Christmas Day?
It was very scary and I had to have a few glasses of wine beforehand to settle myself down! If it was a concert then fair enough, but being alongside Michael Gambon and Matt Smith was insane. I’m very proud of it and in years to come when I have kids I’ll settle them all down to watch it and say, “Look, there’s mummy saving the world by singing into a broken screwdriver!”
That’s all my questions Katherine. Good luck with the album and tour.
Thank you… and good luck with your marathon!
Katherine Jenkins’ new album Daydream is out now.
Michael Took was asking the questions.