Russell Watson in fine voice ahead of Sheffield and Doncaster shows

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A huge tour, guest performances across the world – and a wedding.

It is fair to say the last 12 months have been pretty good for fit and healthy classical crossover artist Russell Watson.

Following the lows of divorce and two brain tumours, 2015 was a return to form – with the 49-year-old himself describing it as one of the best years of his life.

“It’s definitely up there, particularly having come out of the darkness of previous years,” he says.

“I’ve had a fantastically successful year touring and, of course, I got married as well.

“It’s just been a year of incredible events: head-lining the Proms in the Park in Hyde Park, the performance on the West Lawn of the Capitol in Washington DC for memorial day, in front of 350,000 people.”

And that is without mentioning his performance at the Caracalla Unicef Concert in Rome.

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“There were lots of moments when I wondered if I’d ever get it back,” says Russell, who hails from Salford.

“I’ve always maintained that success in its early stages is relatively easy, but sustaining it is incredibly difficult.

Russell Watson.

Russell Watson.

“I’m so grateful to have sustained my career.”

It is a career which has sustained throughout the health scares and without the need for jungles, Big Brother houses or TV dancing contests.

“Well I believe, although not everyone else will, that I’m a singer,” he says.

“That’s what I do best and that’s all I really want to do.”

Now he is back with his new show Songs from the Heart, “featuring a stunning collection of our best-loved songs” and including a performance at Sheffield City Hall in July, following An Audience With event in Doncaster next week..

And love is something key to Russell’s contentment right now, having married his girlfriend Louise Harris in August last year.

“I was on my own for five years,” he says.

“I was very ill and wasn’t in the right frame of mind for a relationship.

“When I eventually met Louise, I have to be honest, yes, there was a certain amount of scepticism.

“But as we got to know one another, I saw a person who was really down to earth, grounded, and incredibly supportive of me. Not a bit financially motivated, in fact quite the opposite.

“I’ve never seen a human being have so much affection for living things and, as a result of that, my once-empty five-bedroom house is now full of life.

“We have a full-on menagerie – dogs, cats, a horse, chickens and ducks.

“I’d say Louise was also responsible for drawing my family back in and that’s been something that I’ll be eternally grateful for.”

And Russell admits to feeling immensely “comfortable” with where he is right now.

“I think that’s the way I feel on stage right now,” he says. “If you feel comfortable and life is good and you’re happy I think that does very much shine through onto the stage.

“During the time I battled on with the illness, and I wasn’t happy, it did transcend onto the stage, it comes with you like suitcases on a holiday.”

Russell plays Sheffield City Hall on Friday, July 15.

For tickets, priced from £32.50, visit www.sheffieldcityhall.co.uk
An Audience with Russell Watson takes place at The Dome, Doncaster, on Saturday, April 23.

For tickets, priced from £38.50, visit www.the-dome.co.uk

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