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Russell Watson to perform at St Edmundsbury Cathedral in Bury St Edmunds



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The people’s tenor, Russell Watson returns to Bury St Edmunds for a special concert in the town’s cathedral this summer. Mariam Ghaemi chats to the Salford boy who became one of the most successful singers of his time performing before royalty, the Pope and US Presidents

World-renowned classical singer Russell Watson will perform a selection of songs from his illustrious career at St Edmundsbury Cathedral this summer.

Speaking to Culture in the spring, Watson, 55, said he will also add in elements 'befitting' of his cathedral surroundings during the special evening on Friday, July 29, which is one of only six summer concerts.

Russell Watson is performing at St Edmundsbury Cathedral on July 29 (56484981)
Russell Watson is performing at St Edmundsbury Cathedral on July 29 (56484981)

Watson, who has performed in the town before, said: “It’s just a beautiful location and I also love singing in great open spaces, cathedrals.

“Whenever I work at the big cathedrals I get that tingly feeling: ‘I need to sing in it’. It’s a pleasure to sing in these types of locations.”

He said he would 'pop in' a few classical arias and sacred arias that he feels will suit the environment.

“These types of shows are always great,” he added. “There’s more of an acoustic feel.”

Russell Watson performing at Christmas
Russell Watson performing at Christmas

Watson, known as ‘the people’s tenor’, also said it would be nice to get back to doing solo concerts after being away performing in the musical Chicago.

“It’s a challenge,” said Watson, who lives on a farm in Cheshire. “I have not done anything of the like before. I have done musicals in the past, but never a touring musical where you go from place to place doing eight shows in one week.”

Performing in musicals has been a goal for Watson, whose career spans 32 years – 10 singing in clubs and 22 as a recording artist.

He said he wanted to see if he could 'rise to the challenge' and sustain his focus and concentration night after night. Next in his sights are musicals with a more classical nature, he said, such as Phantom of the Opera or Les Misérables.

And he added: “We are already in the process of penning or thinking about another album.

“I’m not one of those artists that sees the necessity to keep pumping music out year after year after year after year like a conveyor belt. I think it dilutes what you do.

“I have been 20 years now [as a recording artist] and I think it’s 10/11 studio albums.”

Russell Watson is known as 'the people's tenor'
Russell Watson is known as 'the people's tenor'

Watson’s debut album THE VOICE shot up the UK charts where he held the number one spot for a world record 52 weeks.

At the same time, he held the number one spot in the USA, making him the first British male to hold the accolade of a simultaneous transatlantic number one.

The four-time Brit Classical Award-winner has sold more than seven million albums and performed for Her Majesty The Queen, the Pope and two US Presidents, and became the ‘go to’ for sports-related performances.

Watson’s versatile voice covers a range of styles and genres, including pop, but he had no formal training at the start.

He said since he has been a recording artist he had worked with 'some of the best vocal coaches on the planet' to develop more than one style.

Unbeknown to many, he is the voice behind the iconic Star Trek series Enterprise soundtrack.

An Audley End concert with Russell Watson Picture: Keith Heppell
An Audley End concert with Russell Watson Picture: Keith Heppell

The former Salford schoolboy, who would sing upstairs in the privacy of his own bedroom, stressed there was no turning point ‘moment’ when he rose to stardom, adding: “I spent 10 years treading the boards in the north-west clubs and that was really where I suppose I learned my trade.”

When asked what he loves to sing, the artist said he 'loves it all', but if he’s in a location with beautiful acoustics then first off it would have to be something classical or operatic, 'particularly because not many people can'.

He described reaching notes and hitting them with 'real force and conviction' as 'like a high wire act'.

“That’s a great feeling, and seeing the response from people when you do it,” he said.

Watson, who has had ill health in the past, said he now feels he has a better balance in his life between the music industry and spending time with his family and two daughters, aged in their 20s.

Russell Watson said he loves singing in locations with beautiful acoustics Picture: Keith Heppell
Russell Watson said he loves singing in locations with beautiful acoustics Picture: Keith Heppell

He spoke of the 'incredible' walks where he lives and the 'menagerie' of animals on his farm, including two alpacas, a miniature horse, a cat and a parrot.

Watson, who appeared in hit TV show I’m A Celebrity in 2020, also enjoys tennis, adding he plays the pros at his David Lloyd fitness club.

“I can usually give them a good run for their money,” he said.

To book call the box office on 01256 416384 or visit the OEP Live! Website: www.oeplive.com

Russell Watson is performing at St Edmundsbury Cathedral on Friday, July 29. Doors open at 6.30pm, with the show starting at 7.30pm.