She’s become a worldwide classical star in her own right, having performed alongside the likes of Andrea Bocelli, Andre Rieu, Placido Domingo and more.
And now Katherine Jenkins has opened up on her close friendships with some of the world’s most legendary musicians – revealing what they’re really like behind closed doors.
The mum-of-two, 38, who’s well known for her covers of everything from ‘Time To Say Goodbye’ to ‘I Will Always Love You’ and ‘Jealous Of The Angels’, has toured around the world with Bocelli – and even credited him for helping her find her husband.
Speaking in an exclusive chat with Starts at 60, she said she was performing with the Italian opera legend in New York – one of many cities they’ve performed together in – when she first met Andrew Levitas.
“In some ways, it’s through being on tour with him [Bocelli] that I met my husband. I met my husband while I was on tour with Andrea and I was singing in New York,” she explained.
Jenkins has also performed a duet with world-famous violinist Andre Rieu and she added: “They were so nice. I’ve only performed with Andre once, when we actually recorded something, but I’ve performed a lot more with Andrea.”
However, one classical singing star who really had an impact on her was Spanish opera legend Placido Domingo, who she last toured with in Australia in 2011.
“He is just the most incredible man, I mean he is just amazing and such an inspiration. When I look back at the last time I was in Australia I just have amazing memories of that tour,” she said.
Revealing all three stars are “down-to-earth behind closed doors”, she added: “Placido is really the sort of ultimate superstar, he is the nicest man. When he comes off stage, whether it’s a person he’s just been performing with or the person who’s clearing up the pots afterwards, he treats everybody in the same way.
“Whenever he sees me he always asks about my mother. He’s so charming! He acts the part, but he genuinely is the part. He has that amazing heart and he’d definitely be somebody who’s inspired me a lot.”
Domingo, 78, has recorded over 100 complete operas and is well known for performing in everything from Italian, French and German, to Spanish, English and Russian in some of the most prestigious opera houses in the world.
Meanwhile, Welsh singer Jenkins first shot to fame in 2003 when she sang in honour of Pope John Paul II’s silver jubilee at Westminster Cathedral. Since then she’s taken the world by storm, becoming Britain’s best-selling classical artist of the past 25 years.
However, she admitted it still feels as surreal to her now as ever.
“It’s weird because in some ways you know you went and did those things, because you were doing them, but I still look back and think how crazy it is that it all happened,” she said. “Going back to the beginning I was a teacher and nobody we knew from back home had anything to do with the music business or media or anything.
“I didn’t know the slightest thing about the music business at all and when I got my record contract, I remember Mum and I just not telling anybody for about six months because it didn’t feel real! Even my mum was like, ‘Well Katherine things like this don’t happen to people from here!’ I don’t think we even imagined it would go past the first album.”
Jenkins is now set to return to Australia for the first time since her tour with Domingo, having welcomed two children in the time since, and she insisted she can’t wait to greet her fans Down Under again.
The singer’s father sadly died when she was just 15 years old, but he was previously stationed in Australia while serving in the Navy – making the country a special place that will remain close to her heart.
“Whenever I’ve been I’ve always really enjoyed my time there. It’s my mum’s 70th birthday this year and because she’s never made it out there I’m going to be bringing her on the trip with me. I’m really excited,” she revealed.
Jenkins never had chance to visit Australia with her father before his death and she explained: “My dad passed away when I was 15 and the plan was that one day we’d go, but then he got ill. So whenever I’m there I always think of him.
“Now my mum wants to retrace his steps and the things he talked about, as well as just being away for quite a few years with concerts it’s also just going to be nice to be back and see the Aussie audiences.”
Katherine Jenkins returns to Australia in November for her theatre tour. To buy tickets for any of the venues across the country, visit MJR Presents here.