Saturday, 24 October 2009

The diva and the darkness

In the run-up to Christmas, everyone with a new album to plug is coming out of the woodwork in an attempt to drum up some publicity. In recent weeks Robbie Williams, Whitney Houston, Michael Buble, Alexandra Burke and Westlife have all rocked up on the X-Factor stage (in varying states of sobriety) to showcase their new material. Even resident judge Cheryl Cole had a go, performing whilst dressed as the little drummer boy after a battle with a shredder.

Unfortunately, for acts like Katherine Jenkins (whose operatic stylings have become the soundtrack to a million tedious dinner parties and drives to the gymkhana) it's a little harder to find the right platform to advertise their wares.

So far, the stunning Welsh warbler has proved fairly effective at finding an audience thanks, in part, to a symbiotic relationship with the Daily Mail, which at one point portrayed itself as her self-appointed media guardian. After all, they were the ones who kick-started her career with a free CD in The Mail On Sunday - perhaps there were no 8-track Simply Red concert recordings to give away that week.

Unfortunately, Katherine's later revelations about drug use jarred with the paper's readership and suddenly its coverage of the deep-throated soprano took a more critical turn.

Making matters worse, Katherine's burgeoning success meant some changes needed to be made. So it was out with the old and in with the new, as she ditched the manager who'd first put her on the map and signed with major representation that could help her crack the notoriously difficult US market.

Managing to speak, even with a mouthful of sour-grapes, dumped Svengali Brian Lane told the Mail "Sometimes when an artist becomes successful, they start to believe their own hype. I’ve managed a lot of people but I’ve never had anything like this happen before." Given that the other 'artists' on Brian's roster included Yes and Daley Thompson, it's likely he was telling the truth.

With Brian now a distant memory, and the Mail keen to portray her as the Mariah Carey of Classic FM, Katherine's having to find new ways of publicising her new album. Even so, it's a little strange that she'd choose Piers Morgan's Life Stories in which to do it. Especially since the story that has been leaked to the press ahead of the broadcast is Katherine tearfully recalling a terrifying encounter with a would-be rapist.

Katherine's records are an acquired taste at the best of times, but they're rendered almost unlistenable when combined with the mental image of her fighting off a sex attacker in an alleyway. Next time, maybe she can just spring for a few more 30 second TV spots, and maybe a shuffle round the floor on Strictly Come Dancing.

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