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Singer makes it big in the US but still misses Oxford
SHE was the first classical singer to sign a £1m recording contract and her debut album reached number one in the US iTunes charts and number two in the UK.
But Summer Watson’s singing career all started when she was a pupil at Didcot Girls’ School and spent her summers punting in Oxford.
Speaking to the Oxford Mail from Los Angeles where she now lives, and following the release of her festive single, the singing star, pictured, says she still misses Oxford and would love to visit the city on tour.
She said: “I miss Oxford so much. When you travel you keep postcard pictures in your mind, and I miss things like May Day on Magdalen Bridge and punting with friends.
“It sounds corny but that’s what you did and I miss singing beautiful choral music in the choir.”
The 33-year-old has performed for the Royal family, the president of Israel, the governor of California and 1.3 billion Chinese people in a TV special.
The festive single called If Every Day Was Christmas is available on iTunes.
She said she hoped to return to the UK on tour next year, and possibly even Oxford.
“My dream would be to come back and get familiar with the Oxford concert halls,” she said.
“When I last toured the UK I really wished I was doing the concert venues in Oxford, I love it.”
Born in Weymouth, Ms Watson moved to Benson, near Wallingford, aged 14.
Her father, Robert Watson, worked as the chief executive of South Oxfordshire District Council. She went to Didcot Girls’ School and learnt to sing with Oxford Youth Chamber Choir.
A lot of her success, she says, is down to her parents.
Ms Watson added: “My mum was a very successful businesswoman as a chiropodist.
“She was incredible, she instilled so much love in everything. She didn’t have a lot so they wanted to give me everything a child could have.”
Growing up she learnt French, German and Italian as well as playing the piano, flute and singing.
She said: “I love the memories of Didcot Girls’ School – I have fond memories of it there.”
After Didcot, she went to study at the Royal College of Music in London.
While studying there she gave a concert reviewed by Tatler magazine, and once an executive from Sony heard her sing she was signed up for the biggest classical record deal ever.
Now her goal is to bring classical music to everyone around the world. She said: “Pavarotti used to say music is for everyone – it should be like sport.
“Classical music is beautiful art, I never understood why opera was considered expensive and elitist. The exposure of any classical music is brilliant.”
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