Russell Watson was born on 24th November 1966, in Salford and went to the local high school. He has one sister, Hayley.
He left school and got a job doing very boring repetitive work at Sabre Repetition, a local nuts and bolts factory.
At the age of 24 years, he married Helen and then, in 1994, his first daughter, Rebecca was born.
With a wife and new baby to support, he supplemented his income by performing in working men’s clubs in and around Lancashire.
His second daughter, Hannah, was born in 2000.
Unfortunately, Russell and Helen split up in 2002 but he later had a romance with New York based receptionist Roxanne Valerio. This ended partly because Russell didn’t want to leave the UK.
Russell decided to learn (phonetically) Puccini’s aria Nessun Dorma that had become popular as a result of being used as the theme tune for the World Cup. At the time, he was earning extra money by performing in working men’s clubs. The main focus of an evening at such a club would perhaps be drinking beer and the bingo rather than the “turn” for the night, but Russell went ahead and sang it and ‘stopped the show’ as they say.
It became a regular part of his repertoire and at a charity evening at the Midland Hotel in Manchester the then Chairman of Manchester United Football Club heard him and offered him the opportunity to sing it before the opening of a game at Old Trafford. It was the last game of United’s premiership winning season and Russell’s ‘big break’. That was the turning point and, after winning a local talent contest as well, he went in to work and handed in his notice.
His debut album, “The Voice”, soon followed and it became the fastest-selling classical record in British history and even reached No. 5 in the UK pop charts. It was followed by another hugely successful album, Encore.
Russell’s UK success was mirrored in the USA.
His career was interrupted by the discovery of a lump on his vocal chord. This was surgically removed but it was some time and much training before Russell sang again.
In September 2006, Russell had an emergency operation to remove a brain tumour.
After this first operation to remove his tumour, he was unaware that it had returned until, in October 2007, he became seriously ill, which he said was “very scary”, with symptoms including loss of vision.
The BBC reported that Russell was in a critical condition after brain surgery “to remove an aggressive tumour” and he later described how he thought he was not going to make it.
In February 2008, the BBC reported that Russell had completed a five-week course of radiotherapy to treat the recurrent tumour.
A month later, it was revealed that Russell was planning a UK tour starting in Glasgow on 9th June and finishing at Newcastle City Hall on 7th July.
On the 22nd November 2010, Russell released a new album “La Voce”, recorded with the Roma Sinfonietta.
On the 27th March 2011, at The Lowry, Manchester, Russell began his UK “La Voce” tour, the highlight of which was most probably thought to be the Royal Albert Hall, but, in fact, ended at St George’s Hall, Bradford.
There followed visits to Japan, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand.
The Royal Albert Hall concert was recorded for a DVD, released on 7th November 2011. (see Discography - DVDs)
During his career to date he has released 12 albums, some having had International variations, along with many “Singles” and Eps. (see Discography - CDs)
Russell has also published his autobiography entitled “Finding My Voice”.: Publisher:Ebury Press;
First Edition edition (5 Jun 2008) ISBN-10:0091922917 ISBN-13: 978-0091922917 >
Available in both hardback and paperback. :
Russell’s album “Anthems – Music To Inspire A Nation” was released on 28th May 2012, held the No 1 position in both the Official Charts and Classic FM Chart for 8 weeks and was nominated for the Classic Brit Awards Classic FM Album Of The Year Award.