Wednesday, 17 March, 2004, 13:50 GMT_

News Menu Button Classical star strikes £1m deal

Katherine Jenkins thinks listeners want something more believable

Singer Katherine Jenkins, who performs the national anthem at home Welsh rugby games, has clinched a £1m-plus recording deal.

Her record company claims it is the biggest contract ever signed by a British classical artist.

The 23-year-old from Neath will release her debut album on Universal Classics next month.

Jenkins, who graduated from the Royal Academy in 2002, recently gave up her job as a music teacher.

The full financial details of the mezzo-soprano's deal have not been revealed, but Universal Classics said it was in seven figures.

The label has a series of other classical performers on its roster, including fellow Welsh singer Bryn Terfel, Pavarotti and Placido Domingo.

The deal was announced as Jenkins tours with another Universal artist, Hayley Westenra. Their Welsh dates are at the North Wales Theatre, Llandudno on Sunday, 21 March, and St David's Hall, Cardiff, on Sunday, 28 March.

Jenkins is the Welsh rugby team's official mascot and has become a regular pre-game performer.

She sang at the Wales-England rugby game at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff last August. She also performed the anthem at this season's Wales-France RBS Six Nations match, and will do so again at the final game against Italy on 27 March.

Katherine said: "I don't like to talk about money and it's not for me to spend on myself, it's for the albums."

She said she believed people were getting bored with pop music and wanted something "a little more believable".


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