Russell Watson: The Platinum Collection
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With nine Top 20 albums and several classical Brit Awards under his belt, tenor Russell Watson has been an instrumental figure in the success of the classical crossover genre, with his collaborations with Happy Mondays' Shaun Ryder and Steps' Faye Tozer — and operatic renditions of contemporary pop songs — undoubtedly paving the way for the likes of G4, Katherine Jenkins, and Il Divo. The Platinum Collection, released to coincide with his seventh studio album, La Voce, is his second best-of following 2006's The Voice, and once again shows why the Salford-born singer is described as the "People's Tenor". Featuring stirring renditions of popular arias "O Sole Mio," "Volare," and "Caruso"; classic standards "Me and Mrs Jones" and "You Raise Me Up," and soundtrack themes from Gladiator and Star Trek: Enterprise, it's a wide-ranging collection of songs which showcases his impressively versatile vocal abilities. Elsewhere, there are duets with Lulu and Hayley Westenra, his 1999 Rugby World Cup anthem "Swing Low," and a previously unreleased Christmas track, "Let It Snow." With nine songs included that didn't appear on The Voice, there's enough material here to justify a second compilation, but with several notable omissions such as his only Top 20 hits, "Someone Like You" and "Nothing Sacred," it doesn't quite paint the full picture of his consistent and illustrious career. ~ Jon O'Brien, Rovi
Born: 23 November 1966 in Salford, Lancashire, England
Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s