things bright and beautiful
By Gareth Bicknell, Daily Post
Jenkins is on stage in less than an hour. After a nightmare
journey - she had to get a taxi from Chester to Llandudno
after her train was delayed - she arrived at the North
Wales Theatre two hours late and hasn't even soundchecked
the theatre foyer is already bustling with opera and
classical music fans, who were rolling into the car
park dressed in their Sunday best long before doors
opened, the 23-year-old mezzo soprano from Neath hasn't
even had time to put on her make-up.
to top it off, as she prepares to support Kiwi singing
sensation Hayley Westenra on the second date in their
UK tour, she thinks she is coming down with a chest
not feeling my best today," she says, still smiling
despite the late train, the long taxi ride and the fact
that she and her PA Genevieve have only just sat down
in their dressing room. "But I'll be fine. I'm
taking everything I can - I've got my honey and my vitamins
and my lozenges and stuff like that, so I'll be okay."
pouncing like a playful kitten as she spots an opportunity
to slip the first showbiz cliche into our conversation,
she laughs: "The show must go on."
dressed in the jeans and black vest top she travelled
in, long blonde hair cascading down to her shoulders,
she seems as yet unaffected by the whirlwind of publicity
that has swept her off her feet since signing the biggest
deal for a classical artist in recording history - a
cool £1m for six albums. She shakes my hand when
we meet, and immediately arrests my attention with her
beguiling bright green eyes.
asks Genevieve for a drink of water every now and again
as she battles with her sore throat. The nerves must
be taking hold as stage call beckons, but Katherine
knows she will be okay. She has her own guardian angel
watching over her in her father Selwyn, who died of
cancer when Katherine was 15 and her sister Laura barely
don't think it's a good experience for anyone who loses
their father, at any age," she says, the sadness
telling straight away as her eyes redden slightly and
her voice falters. "But at 15 it's really quite
a crucial point in your life, I think for girls especially.
But I was fortunate to have all my family around me
- we're a big family, we got through it." "My
mum actually worked and my Dad stayed at home to look
after us. He picked us up from school, took us to piano
lessons, took us to singing lessons, and probably spent
more of that time with us. He was very encouraging,"
she says, the smile returning to her face as she remembers
her fond inspiration.
she have a favourite memory of him? "I haven't
got one single memory. I just remember laughing the
whole time, because he was just incredibly funny. Whenever
I think of anything to do with him, I just think of
is a song she sings in tribute to her father, Pie Jesu,
an Andrew Lloyd Webber number. It doesn't appear on
her debut album Premiere - the release date has been
brought forward two weeks to April 5 because of huge
demand in advance sales - instead, the whole album is
dedicated to his memory. "I think of him as being
behind it all," she smiles.