Katherine Jenkins released her tenth album, Home Sweet Home, last November, and her modern take on the genre is refreshing. We know, because we listened to her CD on repeat after she recently hand-delivered a few copies to our office. “Classical music is definitely having a bit of a makeover,” Jenkins told InStyle. It’s never too late to become a fan. “It’s really about introduction, so if there’s no pretense when someone hears it, then they’ll love the music for what it is.”
Proving just how contemporary a slow jam can be, the Welsh singer and Dancing with the Stars alum covered One Republic’s hit song “Secrets” on her latest record, albeit with her own twist by translating the track into Italian. “I wanted it to be anthemic but still classical music,” she said. She’s really the coolest, here’s why.
1. She can sing in eight different languages—and she’s going for a ninth.
“When you study classical music, you learn Italian, French, German, Russian, Czech, and Spanish,” Jenkins said. “I also sing in Latin and Welsh—the newest one I’m trying is Mandarin.” And her reason for taking on so many linguistic challenges is purely for the fans. “When I go to different countries, people always really appreciate it if you can sing a song in their language, even if you sing it wrong,” she said. “So even though I’m not fluent in every language, I still try!”
2. Last year, she received an OBE, a royal honor bestowed by Queen Elizabeth each year.
“I got to go to Buckingham Palace, and Prince Charles presented it to me,” she said. “He knew that I was running the marathon at the time, and he said, ‘You’re looking very fit, Katherine.’ He’s really quite funny—they’ve all got a nice sense of humor.” Other than knowing when to curtsy, her biggest challenge that day was finding the right outfit. “There was a lot of discussion about it, because you have to wear a hat and be respectful,” said Jenkins. “I wanted to wear something that was particularly British, so I wore a Preen dress and a beautiful bright fuchsia hat by Phillip Treacy.”
“He makes all of my hats for Ascot and the race days,” she said. “I usually send him my dress a few months in advance, and then he’ll make me a creation—but I don’t know what it’ll be until I get it on that day. He once sent me two options just to see which one I’d go with, and I went or the more conservative one.” So why’d she decide to play it safe? “The other hat looked like a spaceship!” she said.
4. Her 2014 wedding to Andrew Levitas was the first to ever take place inside Hampton Court Palace, the home of Henry VIII.
“No one had ever been allowed to get married in the actual palace before,” Jenkins explained. “By a stroke of luck, the law suddenly changed, so we were the first people in history to get married in the building—and it was a sign that I’d be able to plan my wedding in only four months, since we had just gotten engaged!”
5. Her fans are seriously devoted.
“One man recently came to my record signing in London, and said he wanted to show me something,” Jenkins said. “Then, in front of everyone, he dropped his trousers and showed me that he had a huge drawing of my face tattooed on his thigh.” Her reaction? “Thank god it’s a pretty decent tattoo!” Check it out below.