As a child Russell Watson could always carry a tune, but he never dreamed he’d become an opera singer. Today, he’s counted among the world’s finest classical voices.
Born and raised in Salford, Watson worked an array of jobs and started singing in nightclubs to earn extra money. After enlisting a couple friends to play an organ and drums, he began to book regular gigs. When someone casually requested Watson add the aria Nessun Dorma to the setlist, his life’s path changed dramatically. The audience went crazy for it, inspiring him to include opera numbers in all his shows.
In 2000, Watson revealed his debut album The Voice and became a true singing sensation. Not only did it hold the No.1 spot on the UK charts for a world record 52 weeks and win two BRIT awards, but The Voice became the first and only album by a UK classical artist to sell over one million copies.
Watson’s next four albums – 2001’s Encore, 2002’s Reprise, 2004’s Amore Musica and 2007’s That’s Life – were also huge successes. They all landed within the top 13 of the UK albums chart and achieved either gold, platinum or multi-platinum status.
Watson went on to release six more solo albums over the next eight years, with 2012’s Anthems – Music To Inspire A Nation (featuring re-recordings of Swing Low Sweet Chariot, Land Of Hope And Glory, God Save The Queen and more) peaking at No.5 on the charts.
The New York Times said that Watson “sings like Pavarotti and entertains the audience like Frank Sinatra”.
Over the years, he’s performed for some of the world’s most prestigious people, from Her Majesty The Queen to the late Pope John Paul II. Plus, Watson appeared before three former US Presidents – Bill Clinton, George W Bush and Barack Obama.
In addition to his solo albums, Watson has collaborated with another vocal powerhouse, Aled Jones, and released the hugely popular albums In Harmony and Back In Harmony in 2018 and 2019, respectively. They also took to the road for a couple of joint tours to promote those albums.
Along with all the beloved arias, hymns and pop covers, Watson is known for making musical magic for Christmas, often celebrating the season with magnificent performances of festive songs all across the country.
In May 2020, Watson unveiled 20, an album commemorating his journey over the last 20 years since the arrival of The Voice. That winter he competed in the 20th series of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here, where he was the fifth celebrity to be eliminated.
Watson confirmed headliner slots for the 2021 editions of the Hale Barns Carnival – Proms and Lytham Proms. In early 2021, the dates for his 20th anniversary tour supporting 20 were rescheduled to October and November 2021.
On 1 March 2021, Watson also announced three outdoor summer concerts on 18 July, 25 July and 15 August 2021 as part of the Heritage Live concert series with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, producer Mike Moran, soprano Christina Johnston and either the NHS Choir or NHS Chorus-19.
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