Number of songs: 9 | Total weeks on charts: 44 Appearing in a total number of: 11 charts | Total period running: 209 days
Russell Watson (born 23 November 1966) is an English tenor who has released singles and albums of both operatic-style and pop songs. The self-styled "People's Tenor" had been singing since he was a child, and became known after performing at a working men's club. He came to attention in 1999 when he sang "God Save the Queen" at the Rugby League Challenge Cup Final at Wembley Stadium, "Barcelona" at the last match of the Premiership season between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford and a full set of songs at the 1999 UEFA Champions League Final in Barcelona between Manchester United and Bayern Munich.
Watson's debut album titled The Voice was released in May 2001; four others followed. However, an album planned for November 2006 was delayed due to the removal of a benign pituitary tumour. This album, titled That's Life, was eventually released on 5 March 2007.
On 24 October 2007, it was discovered that there had been a regrowth of his pituitary tumour and bleeding into his brain. He underwent emergency surgery and was discharged from hospital on 31 October. He underwent an extensive rehabilitation programme, including radiotherapy. His sixth studio album, Outside In, was released on 26 November 2007.
On 22 November 2010, Watson released La Voce, his first album since overcoming brain cancer.
Once Watson finished radiotherapy in 2008 he decided to embark on a return to music. He soon found that his treatment had given him not just a fresh outlook on the world, but a new, deeper, richer voice. "The tumour could have been growing for 10–15 years in my nasal cavity, so when I had cut it out I went from a V8 to a V12!"
Some critics have said that Watson's untrained tenor voice is not up to operatic standards; Rupert Christiansen, music critic of The Daily Telegraph has, for instance, called him a "karaoke crooner". Watson has responded that it "doesn't bother me. Seven years ago classical crossover didn't exist – putting Italian lyrics to pop songs in a big ballsy way. Now every bugger's doing it. I've transcended all that bickering and bitching." Watson's career ambition is "[l]ongevity, that's the most important thing. I want to be a musical force for a good long while." On 5 June 2008 Watson released his autobiography Finding My Voice.
Watson has two daughters: Rebecca and Hannah. He is divorced, having separated from his former wife soon after the release of his first album. Watson has been reported as saying: "It [his first pituitary tumour] changed my priorities. Made me appreciate the importance of relationships, of friends and family and, most of all, my two daughters. My fear for them if I died – that was the worst part."
Watson is also a fan of Manchester United. Watson became engaged to his 22 year old girlfriend from Harriseahead, Staffordshire in December 2013.