By Selina Maycock published
Katherine Jenkins is no stranger to setting up a concert from her home to socialise in lockdown - after staging not one but 20 online shows.
The Welsh mezzo-soprano, who plans to bring another dose of festive cheer to fans with the broadcasting of her Royal Albert Hall Christmas Spectacular, has given her tips for those wanting to create their own festive zoom concert for family and friends.
Speaking exclusively to woman&home, she said, "It’s really about capturing that Christmas spirit and hopefully by the end of the year people will be beginning to feel better."
So, what are Katherine Jenkins top five tips for creating your own online Christmas concert?
1. Get a good stand to hold your phone
I was just singing into my phone, there was no microphone, nothing, literally into my i-phone so I bought a stand that held it because it’s more comfortable viewing for the viewer if there’s a clear picture.
2. Set a programme
Plan out what you’re going to do in advance - have a programme that you’re working to.
3. Strong wi-fi connection
Think about your Wi-fi before you start. Make sure you turn off everything you don’t need because you don’t want it cutting out in the middle of your performance.
4. Have fun with it
It was a way to keep people company and boost morale - realising I couldn’t do any of the amazing things they were doing on the front line but I could sing a few songs to keep people company and that’s how it started. The further along we developed themes and the family getting involved, go with the flow, enjoy it and it became our highlight of the week.
5. Laugh it off if it doesn’t go quite right
Especially if you’re a family putting it on, nobody is expecting a professional level of production. It’s the sentiment of it that counts. I definitely had a few mishaps in the middle of our concerts so it happens - not in the Royal Albert Hall - but we definitely did at home.
Speaking about filming the upcoming concert, which was her biggest challenge to-date, Katherine said “I wanted to bring in all the different elements of Christmas that make me feel Christmassy - the Nutcracker - I always take my children to see that show and as we’re not going to be able to this year so we’ll bring the Nutcracker in along with Walking in the Air, and all the traditional festive music with the community singing the carols at the end, people are going to be able to sing at home or along on the cinema with us."
Katherine will be joined by an array of stars guests including Sir Bryn Terfel, Vanessa Redgrave CBE, Bill Nighy, Marisha Wallace, Alberto Urso, the RAF band, and English National ballet doing the Nutcracker.
Katherine admitted she had more of a creative input in the production and its something she would love to explore further in the future. Speaking about why the location was so special, she said, "I hope it comes across to the audience that the Royal Albert Hall is like a character in a movie and people get to see parts of it they never normally get to see and we bring that majesty to life. It’s really a film and not a concert as only a small amount takes place on the stage."
She continued, ‘I’ve never created a part of a show with a concept like this before but I loved it. I attribute it to being at the Royal Albert Hall which is my favourite venue so I think the experiences I’ve had there have allowed me to have the bandwidth to think on a bigger scale with it. It’s definitely a first."
Katherine also told us about her own festive traditions:
Q: What’s your favourite way to spend Christmas?
Normally we’d go to Wales but I’m not sure if that's going to be able to happen this year with the lockdown.. I don’t know what’s going to happen and I genuinely feel this is going to be the first year we don't really know if we can make a plan but everyone’s in the same boat. So we’re trying to do as much of the Christmas traditions as we can here making it really special for the kids. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been in the Christmas spirit but I ordered my turkey mid-October. I haven't started Christmas shopping yet but my daughter’s done her list for Father Christmas.
Q: What are your all time favourite Christmas movies?
We love Elf and Santa Claus the Movie. I also love to have Carols From Kings movie on in the background.
Q: Tips for a stress-free Christmas Day?
I try to do as much of the prep of the Christmas dinner the day before otherwise you feel exhausted. With the kids they get so much stuff I try to stagger the presents over a few days otherwise it’s a mad rush to get everything opened. I’d much rather they acknowledged the present and play with it so it feels like less of a rush. It also makes them appreciate and remember what they had.
Q: Tips for Christmas Day beauty?
I’ve usually got a onesie on Christmas Day - it’s the day not to get dressed up. It’s different if you’re visiting relatives but I imagine this year I won't move out of my onesie and I’ll have a glass of champagne on the go.
Q: Who would you like to work with in 2021?
Dame Shirley Bassey - I’d love to do a duet with Shirley Bassey that would be fun. We’re friends so that would be fabulous, she was my dad’s favourite singer so I know that would be some fun. We could have a 'sequin off'.
Katherine Jenkins: Christmas Spectacular is in Cinemas from 1 December and available to own and stream this Christmas. Visit Katherine Jenkins film to book Tickets and Pre-order on DVD and Digital now.
Selina is a Senior Entertainment Writer with more than 14 years of experience in newspapers and magazines. She currently looks after all things Entertainment for GoodtoKnow, Woman&Home and My Imperfect Life.
Before joining Future Publishing, Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism. She is fully NCTJ and NCE qualified and has 100wpm shorthand. Having spent the start of her career working on local newspapers and online, Selina spent six years as Acting News Editor and Entertainment Reporter at the Scunthorpe Telegraph where she dug into hard news stories, conducted interviews, covered court reporting, features, and entertainment, whilst going to gigs in her spare time.
Whilst at the paper she was awarded an O2 Media Judges' Special Award for helping a terminally ill cancer sufferer realise his dying wish and marry his childhood sweetheart through a successful newspaper campaign. Things like this are close to her heart when it comes to using journalism to make a positive difference in people's lives.
Selina later branched further into all things celebrity to became a Showbiz Writer at Heat magazine, covering red carpet events, showbiz parties, and various launches before going freelance for two years. One of her biggest celebrity achievements - aside from generating celebrity exclusives - was interviewing Take That (including Robbie Williams) and bumping into Simon Cowell so much at events she told him 'I'm calling you my showbiz dad!'
In 2017 she joined TI Media as a senior reporter on Woman, Woman's Own, Woman&Home, Woman's Weekly celebrity desk before branching online in 2020 when Future gave her the opportunity to focus on digital-first.
When she's not interviewing celebrities you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories.
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