The world’s most successful classical singer Katherine Jenkins takes us to the movies in her newly released album, Cinema Paradiso, writes Nick Benson.
World-famous mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins has sparkled some musical magic from the movies into our lives with the release of her latest album, Cinema Paradiso.
Comprised of 15 iconic tracks and released on Decca Records, Cinema Paradiso is a collection of unforgettable songs from some of the world’s best loved movie moments including Moon River from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Pinocchio’s When You Wish Upon A Star and Tonight from West Side Story, featuring fellow Welsh star, Luke Evans.
The album’s release comes only months after Jenkins was unmasked as the Octopus on the hit ITV series The Masked Singer.
“When I was thinking about my favourite musical film moments, I knew that West Side Story had to be in there somewhere,” said Jenkins. “There are two songs from West Side Story, one is Somewhere, which I also performed on The Masked Singer, so I thought it would be nice to re-record that for the album. I also really wanted to do the duet Tonight, which is my absolute favourite. I’ve been lucky enough to sing this beautiful song with José Carreras. I very much enjoyed seeing Luke Evans perform last year with his album and really wanted to do a Welsh version of it. I was thrilled when Luke said yes – he’s got such a beautiful voice.”
Recent exciting endeavours in the world of film have been a huge inspiration in the making of the new album – one of which is Jenkins’ role in the upcoming film Minamata, directed by her husband Andrew Levitas.
This film not only sees Jenkins star in her first movie role, but she also wrote and sang the title track and co-wrote the film score alongside Ryuichi Sakamoto, the award-winning singer, songwriter, record producer, activist, and actor. Minamata is yet another example of why Jenkins is one of the world’s most prolific artists – a true example of her multifaceted talents.
“I’ve always loved movie soundtracks and have recorded a lot of them in the past. I wanted to create an iconic movie moment with this record – all the best film musical themes that we know and love, all together on one album,” said Jenkins. “The last few albums I’ve made have been inspired by what’s happening in my own world. This one in particular was inspired by the things that were going on around me. Having played my first movie role last year, it felt like a natural transition for me.”
Cinema Paradiso also includes Jenkins’ take on I’ll Never Love Again from the film A Star Is Born, the song that kick started her journey as the Octopus on The Masked Singer.
“We wanted to include I’ll Never Love Again on the album because I had just performed it on The Masked Singer, and it was a song that I didn’t ever imagine I would sing. When I was looking for songs for the show that were out of my comfort zone and outside my usual repertoire, it was one of the first tracks to come to mind,” said Jenkins. “It was very current and fresh and I loved it in the film. The idea behind each song on the album is that you can almost picture the moment in these iconic movies when they were performed, and I certainly feel with this one that you immediately think of Lady Gaga when you hear it. It’s a really emotional song and I’m so glad that the Octopus gave me the opportunity to perform it!”
On doing The Masked Singer, Jenkins said: “My job can be quite serious at times, but I have a four year old daughter who absolutely loves Blue Planet, so I created the Octopus character for her. Her favourite colours are pink and purple with sparkles and I thought it would be something to allow her to understand more about what mummy does. I can’t think of a better reason to do the show.”
Cherished as one of Britain’s all-time favourite singers, in 2017 Jenkins was officially crowned The number one selling ‘Classical Music Artist of the Last 25 Years’ by Classic FM, and made chart history when her last album, Guiding Light, became her 13th UK Classical number one album, further cementing Jenkins’ position as the world’s most prolific artist in UK Classical chart history.
As one of the UK’s greatest musical exports, multi-award winning Jenkins has performed all over the world, for the pope, for presidents and is a favourite of the Royal Family, having been invited to sing God Save The Queen at Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee, perform at Her Majesty’s Coronation Concerts at Buckingham Palace and by special request at Her Majesty’s 90th birthday celebrations at Windsor Castle.
She has embarked upon numerous sold out tours and duetted with such names as Placido Domingo, Andrea Bocelli, José Carreras, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Bryn Terfel, Rolando Villazon, and Il Divo, amongst others. Jenkins was awarded an OBE in the 2014 New Year’s Honours List for her services to music and charity and wowed audiences and critics alike with her stellar performance as Julie Jordan in Lonny Price’s semi-staged production of Carousel at the London Coliseum in 2017.
Her latest album, Cinema Paradiso, is just the magical movie musical tonic we all need right now.
Cinema Paradiso by Katherine Jenkins is available now on Decca Records.