Meet Charlotte Church
When she was a toddling three-and-a-half years old, she sang the theme from “Ghostbusters” with her cousin at a seaside camp. Their performance won the competition, but when the song ended and her cousin left the stage, Charlotte Church refused to leave the limelight and had to be dragged off! Since then, the little girl with the astonishingly powerful voice has sung for Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, the Pope, and President Bill Clinton.
Five years after her seaside premier, the opera-loving soprano who was born in Llandaff, Cardiff, in Wales, was making a name for herself at local karaoke competitions. Success was lurking right around the corner one day when she was home alone watching TV—the Richard and Judy Show was searching for talented kids. She called the telephone number provided, and was asked to audition over the phone. So she let them have it with what by now has become her calling card: Andrew Lloyd Webber’s haunting “Pie Jesu.” Her parents were the last to learn she’d been invited to appear on the show! That first TV spot led to other guest appearances, followed by high profile concerts at the London Palladium, the Royal Albert Hall, and Cardiff Arms Park. Not bad for somebody not yet in her teens!
Her debut album, Voice of an Angel, was released n 1998, when Charlotte was only 12 years old. Selections ranged from “Panis Angelicus,” “Ave Maria,” and “Psalm 23,” to “Danny Boy,” “Three Welsh Bird Songs,” and “Amazing Grace.” It soared to the top of the charts, selling over two million copies in just four weeks, making her an overnight international superstar. Her life is now filled with tutors, tours, and travel. When she’s on the road, this angel is accompanied by an entourage that includes her mother, her manager, a vocal coach, and tutors for schoolwork.
Despite the acclaim and attention, Charlotte remains a regular girl with typical teenage tastes. She loves shopping sprees; catching up on school gossip with her best friend, Kim; and pop music by Celine Dion, Puff Daddy, and Gloria Estefan. [Trivia question: What do opera stars Renee Fleming, Placido Domingo, and Andrea Bocelli have in common with rapper Sean “Puffy” Coombs? They are all artists Charlotte dreams of singing with one day!] But her single greatest ambition is to perform Madame Butterfly at La Scala in Milan.
One would expect most teens in her situation to be spoiled by success. But Charlotte remains remarkably levelheaded and grounded. Though her life is hectic, and at times difficult, she says, “I take everything with a grain of salt. I don’t take it too seriously.” As to her singing career, “I don’t expect it to last my whole life.” For now, stardom takes a back seat to her education. Charlotte’s a serious student, who’s especially interested in ancient history and philosophy, particularly Egyptian, Greek, and Roman civilizations. Eventually she hopes to pursue a degree in this area, but for now is content to be reading the complete works of Plato!
Quotes and information gathered from Hiponline.com, Salon.com, and the Sony Music website. Posted 5/2001