286. Charlotte Church (Listen and Read)
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Many years ago, a German opera impresario was asked why so many of his leading ladies were physically unattractive.
He replied, "The ones who look like horses, sing like nightingales, and vice versa".
Certainly, a good voice doesn't always go with an attractive appearance.
But in our day of media images, good looks seem very important.
Charlotte Church recorded her first album when she was 12 years old.
It was called, "Voice of an Angel".
Everyone agreed that the little girl has a very big voice.
And they were delighted that Charlotte not only sounded like an angel, she also looked like one.
Her sweet schoolgirl appearance and winning smile are part of her success.
Charlotte Church was born in Cardiff, Wales in February, 1986.
Music and singing are very important in Welsh culture,
and all of Charlotte's family were musical.
Although Wales is part of Great Britain,
the Welsh people are very proud of their own language, history and heritage.
Now that Wales has its own parliament in Cardiff,
Welsh culture is promoted even more strongly.
Charlotte sings some of her songs in the Welsh language.
Charlotte began singing along with the radio as an infant, and by the age of three she could sing a number of popular songs.
She began singing lessons when she was nine.
Charlotte first appeared on television early in 1997.
This led to a number of other TV and concert appearances.
In 1998, she signed a contract with Sony to record five albums.
Since Charlotte's first album appeared, she has spent a lot of time doing promotional tours.
Since she's a schoolgirl, her two tutors travel along with her.
"Voice of an Angel" was recorded in five days in Cardiff, Wales.
All the songs were ones that Charlotte already knew and liked.
These included "Pie Jesus", "The Lord's Prayer", "Jerusalem", and "Danny Boy".
The album came out on November 9, 1998,
and within a couple of weeks was number four on the popular music charts.
She recorded her second album, "Charlotte Church", in 1999.
Travelling involves doing "showcases" for people in the music industry and the media.
This is to encourage people to promote your music.
Charlotte also appeared on various U.S. talk shows, including David Letterman and Jay Leno.
She finds that she gets asked the same questions over and over again.
Besides media celebrities, Charlotte has met many leading public figures.
Since she is a Roman Catholic, Charlotte was especially excited to meet the Pope.
This was after she'd been invited to sing at a Christmas concert at the Vatican.
She was also asked to sing at Prince Charles' fiftieth birthday party in 1998.
She saw the Prince again in 1999, when she sang at the official opening
of the Welsh National Assembly.
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip talked to her too.
Later that year, she sang for Bill and Hilary Clinton at the Ford Theatre in Washington.
Something that people like about Charlotte Church is that she hasn't been spoiled by fame.
Many show business kids are loud, brash, noisy and rude.
But when she is away from the stage, the young singer leads a normal life with her family and friends.
Even when she is on TV, she comes across as an ordinary teenager, but a very nice one.
Charlotte's voice always gets comments.
It seems like such a big voice for a little girl.
Very few teenagers have a powerful operatic voice like hers.
Some people have found it hard to believe that it is actually Charlotte singing.
For the most part, she enjoys her success.
She likes to travel and meet new people.
Los Angeles is her favorite city, and she likes the United States and Canada.
But she is always glad to get home to Wales and be with her friends.
At the moment, she goes to an all-girl school, so she doesn't see boys very often.
But, at age fifteen, an interest in boys is likely to become a factor in her life.
Charlotte now has recorded three albums, and we can expect a fourth in 2001.
She also has written an account of her life for all her fans.
It is entitled, "Voice of an Angel: My Life (So Far)".
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- Listen & Type exercise for this lesson: 286. Charlotte Church (Listen & Type)