When it comes to the world of classical music, Katherine Jenkins is in a league of her own.

She performed at the Montblanc Art Bag event at Martin Place last Wednesday and has released her new album Rejoice in Australia.

At the age of 23 the mezzo-soprano signed the largest record deal in UK classical recording history worth £1 million, not to mention wearing £6 million worth of diamonds to the 50th annual Grammy Awards.

If that weren’t enough, the diva will release her autobiography, Time To Say Hello, later this year.

Jenkins told SSO her new album was a mixture of originals and covers that are heartfelt and meaningful.

It’s very different from what I’ve done before. It’s a natural progression to start doing original songs, with the other half being a nice mix of aria, gospel and soundtrack tunes, she said.

The title track Rejoice is not a cover and, when I first heard it, it really struck me because I wanted my original tracks to be inspirational.

I was going through a change in my personal life and, like what anyone says, you reach a point when you find yourself again. So you realise what was lost is found and that’s what I felt in my life and I really wanted to sing that song.

The album also features songs like Kiss From A Rose, Secret Love and How Do You Leave The One You Love?

Jenkins said gay icons Shirley Bassey and Doris Day were two of her biggest inspirations for the album.

In the meantime, she has teamed up with Darcy Bussell for a stage show titled Viva la Diva. The production pays tribute to stars who have inspired the two of them such as Marilyn Monroe.

Jenkins said she hopes to bring the show to Australia at the end of the year or early in 2009, as well as to tour her album.

She hopes both these stage events will help her continue to break the myth that classical music is only for rich, old people.

When I first started people didn’t see me as an opera singer. They said you had to be hugely overweight and wear Viking horns, Jenkins said.

It’s not just for rich and posh people. It’s for everyone. I come from a very normal background and I fell in love with the music.For more information on Jenkins visit www.katherinejenkins.com. Rejoice is out now through Universal Music.

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