Artist Spotlight: Russell Watson
British superstar Russell Watson is feeling the Christmas spirit as his new release "Do You Hear What I Hear" hits retail locations across the U.S. this holiday season. The award-winning classical singer is one of the most well known and respected performers in the UK, having set a world record with his debut album, The Voice, which held the number one spot on the UK charts for 52 weeks, while also maintaining a number one spot in the U.S. 15 years and many, many hit albums later, Watson continues to impress fans with a vast repertoire from Puccini to Pop, proving he is a truly gifted artist.
You’ve performed for royalty, political dignitaries, celebrities and crowded stadiums. What is your favorite performance setting, and why?
It’s very difficult to pick a specific performance location that I would deem as being my favourite, as I’ve been incredibly fortunate to play at some of the most prestigious locations on the planet – The Vatican for the Pope, Old Trafford home of Manchester United, Nou Camp Stadium, Barcelona, The Royal Albert Hall, Sydney Opera House. Probably one of the most memorable evenings of my life was walking on stage at Carnegie Hall in New York. It was at a time when I found out that I had a simultaneous UK and US number one spot in the album charts. It was a feeling of complete euphoria.
Your version of holiday favorite, “Do You Hear What I Hear” will be playing at retail locations across the U.S. very soon. What do the holidays mean to you and how will you spend them this year?
Holidays for me are all about family. Spending time with my loved ones, my wife and children. Just being at home and enjoying that period of time. I also find it a time to reflect on friends and family that I have lost over the years.
Charity work is important to you and despite your busy schedule, you make time for it. Tell us about your recent work and the causes you support.
I’m involved with several charities and this year I will be performing at a special carol service in St Paul’s Cathedral London in December in aid of the NSPCC (National Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children). I’m Ambassador for the Prince’s Trust and Duke of Edinburgh Awards along with being Patron of The Katy Holmes Trust, a UK Charity raising awareness and funds for pediatric brain tumours.
Your new album, True Stories, will be released in November. What was your inspiration for the album and what are some of its highlights?
I don’t generally need much inspiring I love what I do. I’m very fortunate to do something that I enjoy immensely. So whenever I walk into a studio or onto a stage, wherever it might be, I feel a real sense of gratification and joy that I am in that position in the first place. Some of the highlights from the record, is the classical repertoire which is what I am best known for in the UK, but I’m also very proud of how the pop songs have turned out, not least of all the hit that we have in the US at the moment. We are thrilled that this is my first success in the singles charts. It’s a real thrill for me to be in the pop charts.
If you could record a duet with anyone (living or deceased) who would it be and what song would you record?
It’s a very difficult question, if I could record a song with anyone living or dead, I think Elvis would be up there, Nat King Cole is one of my favourite singers of all time, but at her peak, Whiney Houston was an absolutely incredible vocal performer and I think a duet with her would have been quite something. Again it’s difficult to pick a song, but David Foster's "The Prayer" would have been quite something.
Finally, a shameless plug … What would you like our readers to know about you?
The one thing I would like the readers to know about me in the United States is that for the last 15 years I’ve been one of the most consistent and best-selling male artists in the United Kingdom outselling any other classical artist from the UK.