Voice that spans the globe
BEWARE of pale imitations. Get ready to embrace the phenomenon that is The Voice.
Not the telly talent show of the same name, but the original and genuine Russell Watson.
Put the emphasis on the genuine. For a man who is a true star on both sides of the Atlantic, there is a refreshing lack of ego about the tenor.
"I live in a glamorous world," he jokes. "Right now I'm in a car on the M62, it's 1pm and this is the 17th interview I've done today.
BUY ONE GET ONE FREE - Medium Cod, Chips & Mushy Peas at...View details
Simply Purchase a Medium Cod, Chips and Mushy Peas and receive another portion for FREE.
Sustainable Cod, Fresh Cut Chips & Proper Mushy Peas.
Visit Our Website for more information and offers
Terms: Offer valid only with this Voucher, 1 voucher Per Customer. Not for use with any other offer, Not transferable to other menu items
Contact: 01752 421044
Valid until: Thursday, June 27 2013
"How do I keep going? I've no idea," he says, then adds in a stage whisper, "pass the vodka, would you?"
Watson would have every right to be full of himself if he wished, what with the New York Times not only mentioning him in the same breath as two of the biggest stars ever, but comparing him favourably with the best qualities of both men.
"He sings like Pavarotti and entertains the audience like Sinatra," the great newspaper said of Watson.
He was on the other side of the pond earlier this week performing at one of the biggest events in the US calendar, the Memorial Day concert.
Millions watched live on TV and about 500,000 people were in the audience on the lawn outside The Capitol, Washington DC, for the music marking the end of the American equivalent of Remembrance Day, a national holiday there.
On Friday next week more than 100 times smaller than that audience will see him at Plymouth Pavilions. His programme will include some stirring tunes – Men of Harlech, Land of Hope and Glory, Rule Britannia! and the like – fit for the Diamond Jubilee, from his new album, Anthems – Music To Inspire A Nation.
"I enjoy them all," is how Watson regards his concerts, large and small.
"There are so many celebrities around in the music industry that to be still doing this after 12 years is quite an achievement. I'm lucky to be still here performing.
"Anybody who has lasted more than five years will tell you that it is as much to do with commitment and drive, and not just to musicianship."
Of course there's another layer to that achievement. He is simply glad to be alive, let alone performing – in 2005 and again in 2007 he had brain tumours removed.
Watson not only lived to tell the tale but to sing better than ever: his voice is now deeper and richer than ever.
He is the UK's best-selling classical artist in history, and the first to hold the number one slot simultaneously in the UK and USA.
He has performed for some of the most influential and powerful people in the world including the Pope, US President Barack Obama, the Queen, and the Emperor of Japan.
And to top it all he is credited with helping create crossover – straddling pop and classical – and in the process selling seven million albums worldwide.
"Crossover did not exist in 1998/99 when I started doing it," he says. "Now the competition is a lot stiffer but the harder I work the luckier I get."
Every TV talent show seems to throw up another crossover contender. Watson got his first break in a rather smaller star search, on local radio in Manchester – he is from the neighbouring city of Salford.
Sport offered him the chance to push on. First he sang God Save The Queen at the 1999 Rugby League Challenge Cup Final at Wembley then the same year he got a couple of dream gigs, singing at Old Trafford as his beloved Manchester United won the Premier League title, and a couple of weeks later in Barcelona as they beat Bayern Munich to lift the UEFA Champions League trophy.
The 45-year-old's greatest achievement, though, is winning over some classical critics who, while acknowledging that Watson is not an operatic tenor, give him glowing reviews for his crowd-pleasing performances. He is not classically trained and admits he used to wing it in the early part of his career when he went from singing Elvis Presley and MC Hammer covers to Italian opera after the secretary of a working men's club suggested he try an opera song.
"I have worked very, very hard over the years to develop my voice," he says. "To get that feedback from critics is incredibly warming."
Top of his list of favourable reviews is the one he received from The Herald's classical music critic, Philip R Buttall, who rated his Plymouth show in April last year 'superb'.
"It will be lovely to be back in Plymouth," he says. "That was one of the most informed reviews I have ever read. It was wonderful – I put it on my website."