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Customer Review

on 4 November 2004
Already something of a singing sensation, Katherine Jenkins is the latest Welsh singer to take both the classical and the popular charts by storm. A mezzo-soprano (her range is midway between soprano and contralto), the voice glissades effortlessly between the high and low notes. Technically, to my untutored ear at least, she sounds faultless. I saw her perform at Cardiff Millenium Stadium, entertaining the rugby crowd. Even a tiny figure, faced with an imperfect sound system, an arena not exactly built to enhance acoustics, and competing with the voices of the packed crowd, she exerted a presence. Star quality is, perhaps, a cliché, but she was given a warm and deserved reception.
Her voice certainly does have a presence. Listening to the songs on this CD, the emotion, the warmth, the professionalism all come across. She rocketed to stardom very quickly. Perhaps the most surprising thing about her voice is its confidence. You sense she knows precisely what she is doing and takes considerable pride in the quality of her singing. There is no sense either of nervousness or of overconfidence. There is no sense of prima donna celebrity - she manages to create an intimacy and honesty in her contact with the listener. You sense there is a bubbly, natural human being singing for you, not a distant star singing into a mike. She simply sings beautifully.
You would have to be tone deaf and wholly lacking in human emotion not to enjoy Katherine Jenkins' voice. The only question is whether you enjoy the choice of songs. For many, the real test of quality is in the sustained performance of an opera role like Carmen, or in a more tightly controlled selection of songs - say Katherine Ferrier's interpretation of folk songs. "Second Nature" includes an eclectic selection, ranging from the operatic to the popular, the religious and the secular, and even the football anthem, "You'll Never Walk Alone".
There's something here to please everybody, but equally, there may be songs you enjoy less than others. The marketing people obviously try to put together a selection which will result in the maximum number of sales, but the accusation then is that the finished product ends up 'middle of the road', and never really allows Ms.Jenkins to portray her talents to the full. But, forget the debate over choice of selection, just listen to her voice. She has extraordinary quality, and the presence, the confidence comes across in the recording. In places, quite inspirational, at times tender, even humorous, "Second Nature" is well worth a listen ... and you will surely find at least one track you like, probably several. Possibly all.
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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