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Friday, May 14, 2010
Life and music career
Charlotte Church was born Charlotte Maria Reed in Llandaff, a district of Cardiff, Wales. She was raised Roman Catholic by her mother, Maria, who was separated from Church's biological father, Stephen Reed. Church was adopted by her mother's second husband, James Church in 1998. Her break came at 11 when she sang "Pie Jesu" over the telephone on the television show "This Morning" in 1997, followed by her performance on ITV's Big, Big Talent Show in 1997. This led to concerts at Cardiff Arms Park, the Royal Albert Hall and opening for Shirley Bassey in Antwerp. She also received a vocal scholarship to Howell's School Llandaff in Cardiff where she started in 1998. She balanced performing and school with help from tutors for when she was on the road and said in many interviews that she was "just like every other girl her age".
1998–2005: classical career
Church was then introduced to the Cardiff impresario Jonathan Shalit, who became her manager and negotiated a contract with Sony BMG. Her first album, Voice of an Angel, was a collection of arias, sacred songs, and traditional pieces that sold millions worldwide and made her the youngest artist with a No. 1 album on the British classical crossover charts.
Church appeared on PBS specials. Her self-titled second album also included operatic, religious and traditional tracks. One, the soaring and inspirational Just Wave Hello, was the centre piece of a millennium-themed ad campaign for the Ford Motor Company. The song's full-length video, featuring Church, won acclaim at the Detroit Auto Show and introduced her to new fans. The track reached No. 31 in Britain.
In 2000, she released Dream a Dream, an album of Christmas carols. It included Church's first foray into a more pop-influenced style in the title track Dream a Dream, borrowing the melody from Fauré's Pavane and featuring young American country singer Billy Gilman. Church also sang with Gilman in "Sleigh Ride" on his CD Classic Christmas.
In 2001, Church added more pop, swing, and Broadway with her album Enchantment. That year, Church made her first film appearance in the 2001 Ron Howard film A Beautiful Mind. Celine Dion was beginning a concert engagement in LasVegas and was not available to perform the film's end title song, "All Love Can Be", so composer James Horner enlisted Church and the song was rewritten for her vocal range. Church also handled other vocal passages throughout the score.
In 2002, at 16, she released a 'best of' album called Prelude, and took part in the Royal Christmas tour alongside Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, concluding her classical music career.
2005–present: pursuing pop career; classical career on hold
In 2005, she issued her first pop album Tissues and Issues. Four singles were moderately successful in the UK with "Crazy Chick" reaching no. 2, "Call My Name" number 10, "Even God Can't Change the Past" number 17, and "Moodswings (to Come at Me like That)" number 14. Although these were released in Australia as well, they failed to reach the same level of success there, and in March 2006 it was announced that there would be no US releases of Church's pop work until she had achieved a number 1 hit in the UK. Tissues and Issues accounted for no more than 2% of her total sales. Charlotte Church's pop album was released in the U.S. through Amazon.com MP3 shop, and iTunes in 2009.
In April 2006, she performed three concerts in Glasgow, London, and Cardiff, in venues holding between 2,000 and 3,000 people; the dates at London and Cardiff were sold out. Supported by Irish band the New Druids, Church performed a mix of tracks from her debut pop album and a number of pop covers including Prince's "Kiss" and Gloria Estefan's "Rhythm is Gonna Get You". Though Church hinted at the possibility of a full tour in the future, none took place.
In November 2006, it was announced that she and Sony had parted ways. According to her publicist, this was a mutual decision reached after a series of meetings throughout the year, which were held since her five and later six album deal had come to an end. There was some speculation that Church had decided to take a break from her singing career, in order to focus on her television show. Others suggested that the performance of her pop releases in the charts also contributed to the decision. Soon, she became pregnant with her daughter, Ruby Megan Henson, and this was widely believed to contribute the decision.
Articles emerged in the UK press in March and April 2008 stating that she was still training classically and was contemplating a return to classical crossover at some point. Church has sung in religious services in Taizé. She has also performed before Pope John Paul II, Queen Elizabeth II, the Prince of Wales and Bill Clinton.
In June 2008, she again became pregnant, this time with her son, Dexter Lloyd Henson. In Charlotte's latest interview, she mentioned she would be ready to work on more music a few months after she was fully recovered from her second pregnancy, and Dexter was a little bit older, though was not sure whether she would further develop her classical career, her pop career, or both as she loves both genres for different reasons, and plans to work on both genres but needs to be in a creative state of mind to continue work on her second Pop album. Charlotte also mentioned that she has been working with a vocal instructor to keep her voice in check during, and after her second pregnancy, and while she has never put a focus on her body image, she would like to get back into the shape she was in before becoming a mother when she resumes work.
In June 2009, Charlotte Church sat down with 'Hello!' magazine, and discussed her life since having her second child. She said that she is currently in the studio, resuming work on her new album. She is excited to further her music career and plans on enlisting the help of both sets of grandparents, and Gavin to help care for the children, now that they are a little bit older. She mentioned that Gavin has been strongly encouraging her to get back to work, and pursue her career that she has greatly missed since settling down.
Charlotte appeared on 'Friday Night With Jonathan Ross' on 13th March 2010, where she confirmed that she had already begun writing and recording her sixth studio album. Church also stated that the album was of a different sound to previous, more mature with a 'kooky' vibe.
Acting and television career
Church has made a number of cameo appearances on television. She appeared in the CBS series Touched by an Angel, starred in the 1999 Christmas special of Heartbeat, and in 2002 and 2003 she appeared on episodes of Have I Got News For You (the first time as the show's youngest-ever panellist; the second time as host). In 2005 she played herself in an episode of The Catherine Tate Show, in a sketch with the fictional character Joannie Taylor. In 2008 she appeared briefly in a sketch in Katy Brand's Big Ass Show. In 2009 she is set to appear in 3 episodes of hit US sitcom How I Met Your Mother as Katy Moore a new girlfriend of Marshall's brother who comes to stay late in the 4th season.
In December 2005, for The Paul O'Grady Show Christmas pantomime, The Wizard of Oz, Church played Dorothy Gale.
In January 2010 for Hospital 24/7, Charlotte made an appearance on the program finale, where she visits the Children's Hospital for Wales to launch the Noah's Ark Appeals campaign to fund the equipment in the new Critical Care Unit, which will help children needing high dependency, or critical & intensive care.
The Charlotte Church Show
In the summer of 2006, Church began work on her own entertainment TV show, The Charlotte Church Show. After a pilot episode which caused some controversy and which was never released to the public,the series began on 1 September 2006 on Channel 4.
The show, hosted by Charlotte and featuring two celebrity guests each week, involved a mixture of sketches, reality TV, interviews, extremely foul language, and music, as well as a recurring Welsh theme. The show has averaged 1.9 million viewers and 10% of the available audience, and on 6 October 2006, it was announced that Channel 4 paid Church a reported £1,200,000 for a further two series of the show. According to her official website, the final series, originally planned for summer of 2007, was deferred until after Church gave birth.
Church won a British Comedy Award for "Best Female Comedy Newcomer" in 2006, and the 'Funniest TV Personality' award at the 2006 Loaded Magazine's 'LAFTA' awards. In 2008 she was nominated for the Rose d'Or Special Award for Best Entertainer.
It was announced on 10 February 2008 that Church was ready to make her return to TV.
In late June 2008, Channel 4 began showing trails for the series. It has since concluded its eight show run. Church confirmed on 28 August 2008 that The Charlotte Church Show would return for a Christmas special, which aired on 21 December 2008. On Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, Charlotte revealed that the third series would be shown on Thursday nights beginning on 10 July 2008.
Over the Rainbow
Church was confirmed by the BBC in February 2010 to be one of the judges on Andrew Lloyd Webber's new West End revival show Over The Rainbow.
She made her silver screen debut in 2003's I'll Be There, co-starring and directed by Craig Ferguson. Church played the role of Olivia, the daughter of a washed-up 80s rocker from a one-night-stand, played by Ferguson. The film did not meet with widespread success, playing for only ten days in UK cinemas and being released directly to video in the US. Charlotte was also under consideration to appear in the 2004 film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's masterpiece Phantom of the Opera as the leading female character Christine Daae but elected not to audition as it was specified she would have to lose weight before she could try out which she declined to do. The part eventually went to Emmy Rossum. Church also stated she had wanted the part of Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter series of films, however, at 14 she was too old for the part, which eventually went to Emma Watson.
Personal life and family
Church's personal life has often been portrayed in UK tabloid newspapers, inspiring the song "Let's Be Alone" on her album Tissues and Issues.
Church released an autobiography titled Voice of an Angel (My Life So Far) at 14, before the release of Enchantment and just after she had wrapped up her Dream a Dream Christmas CD. Her change of music direction is hinted at in the final chapter, "Turning Corners" She released a second autobiography titled Keep Smiling in late 2007, very different in tone from the first.
Aspects of her personal life have been criticized in the press. In 2002, she was photographed smoking, which was controversial due to its possible effects on her voice. It subsequently emerged that she had developed a habit, and that many members of her family were heavy smokers, making it difficult for her to quit. Her smoking habit was alluded to on the album Tissues and Issues, in "Confessional Song". Her weight gain has also been criticized in the media. Regarding the pressure to lose weight, Church has been quoted as saying, "I'm happy with how I look. I like looking like this. Why change just to be like everyone else? What's the point of that?" In an interview with Reveal magazine in June 2006, she said, "I do look a bit of a heifer on telly and in pictures but that's because the camera puts pounds on you."
The press devoted much attention to Church's relationship with boyfriend Gavin Henson, a Welsh International Rugby Union player. At the end of 2005, she bought a property in her native Cardiff, for a reported £500,000 which she later sold for £900,000. The couple then bought a manor with a 20-acre (8 hectare) small holding just outside Bridgend in the scenic village of St.Brides Major. The couple have mentioned marriage on talk shows and in the press but put off marriage while Church was pregnant.
In 2007, Church made another appearance on a British young people's rich list with Henson. They were ranked 49th-richest young people in Britain with an estimated joint wealth of £12 million, although most estimate her wealth at £20 million. The couple bought a Princess yacht in spring 2008 for £800,000, named Sketchy, which is berthed at Swansea marina. In late 2009, returning from a day-trip in the Bristol Channel, Church called out the Her Majesty's Coastguard to rescue their lost RiB tender.
On September 20, 2007, at 10:35 pm, Church gave birth to a daughter named Ruby Megan Henson.
Church has stated she wants her childbearing days to be over by the time she is 32.She has also said she wants four to six children, whereas Henson wants eight.
On 11 January 2009, Church gave birth to her second child, a son named Dexter Lloyd Henson. The baby weighed 7 lb. 5oz. (3.316 kilograms).
In an interview with Hello! magazine following the christening of Dexter, Church said having two children had taken its toll on her body and the couple planned to wait a few years before trying for a third child.
She told the magazine; "I suffer badly with aching hips when I'm pregnant and last time, with Dexter, it was so painful,"
Henson, who is on unpaid, indefinite leave from his Ospreys side, said: "We definitely want more kids, though, but we think we'll wait a few years now till Ruby goes to school.
Church has provoked controversy on some occasions with her comments and criticisms – in an interview with Davina McCall, she agreed being diplomatic was "not in her nature". Her remarks about her visit to New York in the wake of the 11 September 2001 attacks, saying "People over-dramatise and lose perspective" proved highly offensive.
The pilot episode of Church's talk show, The Charlotte Church Show, provoked a backlash from some religious groups, as Church reportedly mocked the Roman Catholic Church and made controversial comments about Pope Benedict XVI, calling him a "Nazi" in reference to his service in the Hitler Youth and German Army. One large Catholic distributor of books, CDs and other goods, Ignatius Press, pulled Church's products from its catalogue.
In her video blog entry for 22 March 2007, Church referred to the UK's Eurovision entry, Scooch, as "absolute shit" and went on to say, "I've never seen shit like it, because Scooch really are shit." Russ Spencer of Scooch hit back, saying, "What a pity the voice of an angel has acquired the mouth of a sewer." Spencer's fellow band member Natalie Powers added, "As a mother of a young child myself I find her behaviour and language quite unacceptable. What kind of role model is this for a mum-to-be?" Church hit back by saying on her Channel 4 show, "They called me attention seeking ... then what's doing the Eurovision dressed as air hostesses?"
She has claimed she would be a better judge for the reality show X-Factor than any of the judges on the show. She becomes "annoyed" when their remarks are inaccurate, stating, "They just do not know the ins and outs of a voice or music."
Charlotte Church discography
2001 - A Beautiful Mind (soundtrack) - Vocalist on Track 15: "All Love Can Be"
2003 - I'll Be There - Lead Role
2001 - Voice of An Angel, My Life (So Far) – First autobiography
2007 - Keep Smiling – Second autobiography
Awards and nominations
Year Award Category Result
2000 Classical BRIT Awards Best Female Artist Nominated
Classical BRIT Awards British Artist Of The Year Won
Hollywood Reporters Young Star Awards Best Young Recording Artist Or Musical Group Won
Institute Of Public Relations In Wales Millenium Communicator Of The Year Won
2002 Rear of the year N/A Won
2005 GQ Awards Woman Of The Year Won
2006 Brit Awards Best British Female Nominated
Loaded Magazine LAFTA Awards Funniest T.V Personality Won
Glamour Awards Editors Choice Award Won
Glamour Awards Solo Artist Of The Year Won
British Comedy Awards Best Female Newcomer Won
2007 Glamour Awards Readers Favourite TV Personality Won
2008 Rose d'Or Awards Best Entertainer Nominated