Russell Watson is a popular English tenor, self-styled as ‘The People’s Tenor’.
Born in Salford on November 24th, 1966, Russell's mum would play him Tchaikovsky, Chopin and Schubert, and his grandfather was a concert-level pianist. Aged seven, he learnt to play the piano, and started singing and playing guitar as a teenager.
Russell started work in a factory, which he did for £90 a week, and singing soon became his escape. Watson learnt Nessun Dorma phonetically and when he first sang it live, famously got a standing ovation. A few short years later, in May 1999, that standing ovation was at Old Trafford.
Since then, Watson has sung for American presidents, Japanese emperors, British Royalty, an array of European prime ministers, Middle-Eastern sultans, even the late Pope John Paul II who requested a private audience at the Vatican.
There have been eight albums. His first, The Voice, went to No. 1 in the US and the UK and won two Classical Brit awards. Encore shot to No. 1 in the UK classical charts, stayed there for 30 weeks and won him another two Classical Brit Awards. Every one of his releases have made the Top 10 in the UK. He's also attained two Double Platinum certifications, one Platinum and two Gold. Watson’s latest album, La Voce, was recorded in Rome with the Roma Sinfonietta.
In 2006 Russell was asked by former Guns 'n Roses guitarist Slash if he would be interested in fronting the guitarist’s new band, Velvet Revolver. Russell, who was concentrating on his solo career at the time, turned the offer down.