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Charlotte Church

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Charlotte Church (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 worldwide.

Early life

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.

Classical career

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.

Charlotte Church at a signing in 2005

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Charlotte Church at a signing in 2005

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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.

Pop career

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 scheduled.

Background information
Birth name Charlotte Maria Reed
Born 21 February 1986 (1986-02-21)
Origin Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom
Genre(s) Pop, Celtic, classical, classical crossover, operatic pop
Voice type(s) Soprano[1]
Years active 1998–present
Label(s) Sony BMG
1998-2006
(acquired from Sony upon merger with BMG)

 

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.

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Personal life

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 talk shows.

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 low-key.

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 cancer research.

Controversy

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.

Discography

Albums

  • 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 (2001)
  • Prelude: The Best of Charlotte Church (2002) #76 US
  • Tissues and Issues (2005) #5 UK (sales: 236,000)

Singles

  • 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
  • Enchantment
    • "Tonight"
    • "Carrickfergus"
    • "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, #1 MEX
  • Guest appearance:
    • "The Opera Song (Brave New World)" #3 UK, #62 AUS

Filmography

  • I'll Be There - Directed by Craig Ferguson (2003)

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Charlotte is brill and cool singer



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