(born Charlotte Maria Reed
on February 21, 1986)
is a Welsh pop singer who rose to international fame in childhood as a popular
classical singer. To this date, she has sold more than 100 million albums
Church was born in Llandaff, Cardiff, the capital of Wales. She was raised
Catholic by her mother, Maria, separated from her natural father. She was
legally adopted by her mother's second husband, James Church. She had her first
taste of stardom when she performed "Ghostbusters" at a holiday camp in
Caernarfon at the age of 3, and had to be dragged from the stage when she
refused to leave. Her big break came at the age of 11 when she sang "Pie Jesu"
on the television show Talking Telephone Numbers in 1997, closely
followed by her show-stealing performance on ITV's Big, Big Talent Show
in 1998. This led to concerts at Cardiff Arms Park, Royal Albert Hall and the
opening spot for Shirley Bassey in Antwerp.
Charlotte was then introduced to the Cardiff-based impresario, Jonathan
Shalit, who later became her manager, and negotiated a record contract with Sony
BMG. Her breakthrough album, Voice of an Angel, showcased her unique
voice in a collection of arias, sacred songs, and traditional pieces that sold
millions of copies worldwide and made her the youngest artist with a No. 1
selling album to date.
Church later appeared on numerous PBS specials and television commercials,
most notably in the acclaimed Just Wave Hello campaign for the Ford Motor
Company. The song appeared on her self-titled second album, which included
another array of operatic, religious, and traditional tracks.
In 2000, she released Dream a Dream, principally an album of Christmas
carols, but including Charlotte's first foray into a more pop-influenced genre:
the title track Dream a Dream, a memorable song borrowing the melody from
Fauré's Pavane and featuring young American country singer Billy Gilman.
at a signing in 2005
In 2001, Charlotte Church added more pop, swing, and Broadway to her
classical repertoire with her album Enchantment. That same year,
movie-going audiences heard Church for the first time in the 2001 Ron Howard
film A Beautiful Mind. Since Celine Dion was not available to perform the
film's end title song, "All Love Can Be" (Dion was beginning her concert
engagement in Las Vegas), composer James Horner enlisted Charlotte to handle the
vocals, and the song was re-written to Church's vocal range. Charlotte also
handled other vocal passages throughout the score.
In 2002, at the age of 16, Charlotte Church 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. Her next
album, Tissues and Issues, would be of a rather different genre.
Church has also sung in religious services in Taizé.
Charlotte made her first venture out of classical music in February 2003
providing haunting vocals for Jurgen Vries (aka DJ and producer Darren Tate's)
single "The Opera Song". She was credited on the sleeve as CMC. The track
reached #3 in the UK charts.
In 2005, she issued her first pop album Tissues and Issues and the
first four singles have all been at least moderately successful in the UK with
"Crazy Chick" reaching #2, "Call My Name" reaching #10, "Even God" reaching #17
and "Moodswings" reaching #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 not be a US release of same nor any US release
until a No. 1 hit was obtained.
In April of 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, Charlotte
performed 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, no dates are yet
||Charlotte Maria Reed
||21 February 1986 (1986-02-21)
||Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom
||Pop, Celtic, classical, classical crossover,
(acquired from Sony upon merger with
Acting and television career
Church has made a number of cameo appearances on the television; she appeared
on the CBS series Touched by an Angel, starred in the 1999 Christmas
special of Heartbeat; and in 2003 presented an episode of Have I Got
News For You.
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 theaters
and being released directly to video in the US. Miss Church's own acting effort
in the film met with mixed reviews, though in fairness to her, the film's
lightweight writing and poor pacing appear to be the major reasons for its
relative lack of success.
The Charlotte Church Show
In the summer of 2006, Charlotte began work on her own entertainment TV show,
"The Charlotte Church Show." After a pilot episode which caused some controversy
but which was never released to the public,
the series began on September 1, 2006 on Channel 4.
The show, hosted by Charlotte and featuring two celebrity guests each week,
involves a mixture of sketches, reality TV, interviews and music, as well as a
recurring Welsh theme (the first show included a Wales vs. the World
competition and a Welsh remake of Will and Grace). Denise van Outen,
Michael McIntyre, Ruby Wax and Patsy Kensit were amongst the first celebrities
to appear on the series.
The show has been a huge success for Charlotte and Channel 4 alike, averaging
1.7 million viewers
- higher than usual for shows in its timeslot - and on 6th October 2006, it was
announced that Channel 4 had commissioned a further two series of the show.
However, the show's ratings are far
below those of Jonathan Ross' chat show, which competes with the Charlotte
Church Show in the same timeslot.
Church's personal life has often been portrayed in the sensationalist tabloid
newspapers in the UK, rather more frequently than her career (inspiring the song
Let's Be Alone on her album Tissues and Issues).
Revisited with particular frequency is her love life. In 2002, aged 16, she
moved out of the family home to live with her boyfriend, Steven Johnson; the
couple later split at the end of 2003. The tabloid press documented her
subsequent relationship with Kyle Johnson (no relation), which ended in February
2005, with the couple supposedly remaining friends, though shortly afterwards
Johnson revealed graphic details about the couple's sex life to the press. The
press has recently devoted much attention to Church's relationship with current
boyfriend Gavin Henson, a Welsh International Rugby player: at the end of 2005,
they purchased a property in her native Llandaff, Cardiff for a reported
£500,000; both celebrities have since mentioned the possibility of marriage on
Other aspects of her personal life have been criticised in the press. In
2002, she was photographed smoking, and it gradually emerged that she had
developed a smoking habit (another fact alluded to on her album Tissues for
Issues, in the song "Confessional Song"). She has also been criticised for
what the press have seen as excessive partying, with plenty of photos of the
singer drunk adorning tabloid newspapers. In more recent interviews, Church has
stated that she has now stopped smoking and that her behaviour is now much more
Church has lent her support to design limited edition T-shirts or vests for
the 'Little Tee Campaign' for Breast Cancer Care which donates money for breast
Controversy surrounds the circumstances of the dismissal of Church's first
manager, Jonathan Shalit. He was allegedly discharged from her representation in
a letter faxed by Charlotte's mother; although allegations were later made by
the Church family of "inappropriate tactile conduct" on the part of Mr. Shalit,
nothing ever came of them. He subsequently sued for breach of contract and
received an out-of-court settlement believed to be worth 2 million pounds
sterling (although the exact details were never released, as one of the
parties to the matter was a minor and such details were protected under UK law).
Church has provoked controversy on some occasions with comments and
criticisms (in an interview with Davina McCall, Charlotte agreed that being
diplomatic was "not in [her] nature"). Her remarks on the September 11, 2001
attacks drew some criticism. More recently, the Daily Mail, a British
tabloid newspaper, reported that the pilot episode of Church's new show, The
Charlotte Church Show, provoked a backlash from some religious groups, as
Church reportedly mocks the Catholic Church and makes some controversial
comments about Pope Benedict XVI, calling him a "Nazi" in reference to his
compulsory time in the Hitler Youth and German Army, where he served briefly on
an anti-aircraft battery. One large Roman Catholic distributor of books,
CDs and other goods, Ignatius Press, is reported to have pulled Church's
products from its catalogue.
- Voice of an Angel (1998) #4 UK, #28 US, #22 AUS
- Charlotte Church (1999) #8 UK, #40 US
- Dream a Dream (2000) #30 UK, #7 US, #64 AUS
- Enchantment (2001) #24 UK, #15 US
- A Beautiful Mind: Music from the Motion Picture by James Horner
- Prelude: The Best of Charlotte Church (2002) #76 US
- Tissues and Issues (2005) #5 UK (sales: 236,000)
- Voice of an Angel
- "Pie Jesu"
- "My Lagan Love"
- "In Trutina"
- "Panis Angelicus"
- "Amazing Grace"
- Charlotte Church
- "Just Wave Hello" #31 UK
- "La Pastorella"
- "She Moved Through the Fair"
- Dream a Dream
- "Ave Maria"
- "Dream a Dream" with Billy Gilman
- "The Prayer" with Josh Groban
- Prelude: The Best Of...
- "It's the Heart That Matters Most"
- "All Love Can Be"
- Tissues and Issues
- "Crazy Chick" #2 UK, #39 AUS, #33 NZ, #10 IRL
- "Call My Name" #10 UK, #60 AUS
- "Even God Can't Change the Past" #17 UK
- "Moodswings (to Come at Me Like That)" #14 UK,
- Guest appearance:
- "The Opera Song (Brave New World)" #3 UK, #62 AUS
- I'll Be There - Directed by Craig Ferguson (2003)