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About Cerys Matthews
Cerys Matthews is a Cardiff-born singer and songwriter. With her distinctive voice, bags of charisma and no-nonsense attitude, she's duetted with Tom Jones, lived in a shack in Tennessee and bungee jumped out of a helicopter on national TV. Expect the unexpected with Cerys!
Initially finding success as front-person for the band Catatonia; Cerys' rise to fame began in the same way that these things often begin - travelling around the country in a transit van. Catatonia gained success through the rock tradition of hard work, copious gigging and surviving on peanuts . Their debut album, ‘Way Beyond Blue', was an indie success, giving them their first top 40 single in ‘You've Got A Lot To Answer For'. However it was their second album, ‘International Velvet', that made them household names, with ‘Mulder And Scully' charting at number 3 and the album itself creeping up to number 1. The success continued with their third album, ‘Equally Cursed And Blessed', entering the charts at number 1, in a week when ‘International Velvet' was sitting at number 36 and ‘Way Beyond Blue' reached its highest chart position of number 32.
Cerys herself received a lot of media attention. Although often portrayed as a hard-drinking ladette, she was more likely to spend interviews talking about gardening and being a ‘lady'. Difficult to pigeonhole, she duetted with Space on the quirky 1998 hit ‘The Ballad Of Tom Jones', then duetted with the legendary Welsh crooner himself on the big band classic ‘Baby, It's Cold Outside' in 1999.
Catatonia released a fourth album, ‘Paper Scissors Stone', in 2001, but split shortly after. It was expected that Cerys would release a solo album, but less predictable that she would go to Nashville to do it. Armed with a list of folk songs and not a lot else, she teamed up with producer Bucky Baxter and spent her time living in a shack with no electricity or running water. The resulting album, ‘Cockahoop' (2003), has a stripped-back sound and was described by Cerys as "the most honest record I could make". The critics liked it too - The Independent declaring, "the instant you hear ‘Cockahoop', you wonder why she never made it before".
Not one to retread old ground and release the same album twice, Cerys changed direction again for her second solo outing. In some ways ‘Never Said Goodbye' (2006) was more of a return to the Catatonia sound, yet at the same time it gave nods to the country-tinged Cockahoop, whilst also exploring new territory. Cerys said "I came back to Nashville and started working on this album. I wasn't going to shout in any of the songs, and then all of a sudden I realized I wanted to let loose again. At the end of the day, I'm an absolute huge pop fan. I love mad arrangements and music that has imagination and that doesn't take the normal route."
Since the release of ‘Never Said Goodbye', Cerys has moved back to the UK with her two children and put out her first entirely-Welsh-language release. The ‘Awyren=Aeroplane' mini album was released towards the end of 2007 on the My Kung Fu label. A change in style again; there's a sensual, dreamy quality to these songs. The title track has just been bestowed the best song awarded the prize by the Welsh Eisteddfod. So, how to follow a release such as this? Why, a trip into the Australian outback of course! In November 2007, Cerys became a contestant on reality TV show ‘I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!'. An appearance that raised money for homelessness advice service ‘Shelter Cymru'.
So, how to follow all that? Well, Cerys is currently just finishing up a new album for release in 2009 and playing festival dates around the UK. And as always, expect the unexpected!
Paul Heaton and Cerys Matthews joint headline tour - Oct/Nov 2008.
Two of the UK's most original and uniquely talented artists take to the road together throughout October and November. Paul Heaton and Cerys Matthews will play 11 joint headline shows around the country including London's ULU on 5 November.
This is rare chance to see to see what promises to be an eclectic and memorable run of gigs. Both singers have recently (very recently in Heaton's case) been carving out their own solo careers after fronting successful bands over the years; Heaton in the Housemartins and Beautiful South, Matthews in Catatonia.
Paul Heaton released his first solo album "The Cross Eyed Rambler" last month to critical acclaim and finished a successful tour on his own plus a string of festival dates.