Cerys Matthews

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Cerys Matthews
Cerys Matthews Glastonbury 2008 (cropped).jpg
Background information
Born (1969-04-11) 11 April 1969 (age 45)
Cardiff, Wales
Genres Alternative rock, Britpop, indie rock, folk rock, pop rock
Occupations Singer, songwriter
Years active 1990–present
Associated acts Catatonia, Tom Jones
Website cerysmatthews.co.uk

Cerys Elizabeth Matthews, MBE (/ˈkɛrɪs/; born 11 April 1969) is a singer/songwriter, author and broadcaster, a founding member of Welsh rock band Catatonia.

Matthews programmes and hosts a music show on BBC Radio 6 Music, has made documentaries for television as well as BBC Radio 2 and 4 and has been a presenter for The Culture Show and The One Show. She writes a column for Songlines, and has written for The Guardian, The Times and Grazia, and is author of 'Hook, Line and Singer ' published by Penguin and children's stories Tales From The Deep and Gelert, A Man's Best Friend, (2014).

Life and work[edit]

Early life[edit]

Matthews was born in Cardiff, the second of four children. The family moved to Swansea when she was seven. She attended St Michael's, an independent school in Llanelli, and Fishguard comprehensive school.[1] She is fluent in English, Welsh, Spanish and French.[2] She has cited her childhood heroes as being Pippi Longstocking and writers William Butler Yeats and Dylan Thomas.[3][4][5][6][7] She learned to play the guitar at the age of nine, teaching herself blues and Irish folk songs.[8] She was a member of the West Glamorgan Youth Orchestra.[9] She had a stint in Spain as a nanny, where she learned to speak Catalan.[10]

Catatonia[edit]

Catatonia was formed in 1992. She subsequently sang lead vocals on, and co-wrote the music and lyrics for, the band's hits. Songs she co-wrote included "You've Got a Lot to Answer For", "Mulder and Scully", "Dead From the Waist Down", and "Road Rage". Matthews also played guitar on the earlier material before second guitarist Owen Powell joined the band. She also performed a single with the band Space named "The Ballad of Tom Jones", which tells the story of two lovers who want to kill each other, but then hear a Tom Jones song that defuses their homicidal feelings. Matthews later collaborated with Jones to record a version of Frank Loesser's "Baby, It's Cold Outside" on Jones' album Reload. Matthews was voted the "Sexiest Female in Rock" in a 1999 readers' poll in the now defunct magazine Melody Maker.[11]

After Catatonia's rise to fame with their second album International Velvet, and subsequent success with Equally Cursed And Blessed, the band returned in 2001 with their fourth studio album Paper Scissors Stone. In September 2001, the band officially split.[12]

2000s[edit]

Cerys joined The Pet Shop Boys on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in June 2000. Performing a duet of their hit "What Have I Done To Deserve This"[citation needed]. In December 2001, Matthews returned to the recording studio for the first time since Catatonia split up. She recorded a song in both English and Welsh for the pre-school cartoon series Sali Mali.[13] Matthews provided guest vocals on the track "Cyclops Rock", from US alternative rock band They Might Be Giants 2001 album Mink Car. Her line was originally supposed to be provided by Joe Strummer of The Clash.[14]

Matthews moved to Nashville, Tennessee in 2002. On her arrival she began playing with Bucky Baxter, who had played lap steel guitar for Bob Dylan and Ryan Adams. She had already collected seventy-six traditional folk songs with the idea of making an album of folk covers. Her debut album, Cockahoop, ended up consisting mainly of her own songs. It was recorded in seven months and appeared on Blanco y Negro Records in the United Kingdom in May 2003. Whilst recording this album she met Seth Riddle, whom she married in Pembrokeshire in February 2003.[15] She toured the album around Britain with minimal promotion as she was several months pregnant at the time. The album's Stateside Records release followed in October 2004.

In December 2005, Matthews recorded a new version of Len Barry's 1960s UK and US top 10 hit "1-2-3" in Nashville. She released it as a download-single with all profits going to a children's charity.[16][17] In spring 2006, Matthews introduced material from her upcoming album at SXSW in Austin, Texas.[citation needed]

In 2006 Matthews conducted a short tour of the UK to promote her new second solo album, Never Said Goodbye. The new album was preceded by the single "Open Roads". Band members included Kevin Teel on guitar, Ben Elkins playing keyboards, Mason Neely on drums, and Jeff Irwin playing bass. She headlined Cardiff's Big Weekend festival. During September and October 2006, Matthews embarked on a UK and Ireland tour, during which she played tracks from her first two solo albums as well as three Catatonia hits. She also embarked upon a short acoustic Welsh tour in November 2006 before returning to Nashville for Christmas.

Matthews appeared on the 2007 series of ITV's I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!, which aired from 12 to 30 November. She was voted off one day before the final episode, coming fourth behind Jason "J" Brown, Janice Dickinson and eventual winner Christopher Biggins. Matthews became involved with fellow contestant Marc Bannerman after the show, but they split four months later. Matthews appeared at the live Guilty Pleasures concert at the Hackney Empire, London in 2007. She performed the Bonnie Tyler hit "Total Eclipse of the Heart" and the Dolly Parton/Kenny Rogers duet "Islands in the Stream" along with Terry Hall and the BBC Concert Orchestra

In an interview on the eve of the launch of her Welsh mini-album Awyren = Aeroplane, Matthews confirmed she had divorced from Riddle and temporarily moved back to her farm in Pembrokeshire.[18][19] Awyren = Aeroplane won her the 'Contemporary Composition' award in the National Eisteddfod. The award had been resurrected and presented for the first time since 1936. In 2007 Matthews became Vice-President of the Welsh homelessness charity Shelter Cymru.[20] She also accepted a role of Performing Arts Ambassador for Linden Lodge School, Surrey in the same year.

Matthews joined the Welsh band Manic Street Preachers onstage at The O2 on 28 February 2008 to sing the female vocals of their 2007 hit "Your Love Alone Is Not Enough". She replaced Nina Persson in both the awards ceremony (within indigO2) and at the following 'Big Gig' live show (within The O2 arena).

From November 2008, Matthews sat in for Stephen Merchant and Marc Riley on BBC 6 Music and went on to present George Lamb's slot in April 2009. In May 2009 she presented show A Month of Sundays With... Cerys Matthews. She then covered for Nemone on 6 Music from July 2009 while Nemone was on maternity leave.

Matthews began maternity leave from November 2009 and had to finish presenting the show a month early. In April 2010, Matthews returned to 6 Music to present a weekend show on Sunday mornings. She spoke out in 2010 after the (now-abandoned) proposed closure of BBC 6 Music, calling for the decision to be reversed. She produces and presents radio documentaries and shows, including Hook,line and singer, where she shared her love of fishing on Radio 4.

Matthews released her first CD in two years in October 2009. The album, entitled Don't Look Down, was released in two versions, one in English and the other in Welsh (the title of the Welsh edition was Paid Edrych i Lawr). It was recorded in Providence, Rhode Island, Nashville, Seattle and London, and coincided with a two-week UK tour in October.

Since 2010[edit]

Matthews has covered Glastonbury Festival for both BBC Television and BBC 6 Music, she wrote and presented a BBC Two programme on poetry, and presented TV documentaries on singer Dorothy Squires, the Mississippi River and Cuba. She wrote and presented a documentary on early blues players such as Memphis Minnie, also Pippi Longstocking, Mahalia jackson, iconic British blues label 'Blue Horizon'. She has presented a documentary for BBC Radio 2 on Maida Vale studios. She frequently contributes to BBC Radio 4 programmes such as Feedback, Frontrow, Loose Ends and Saturday Live, writes a column for world music magazine Songlines. She has curated festivals for the likes of the Tate Modern, the Shetland theatre and Womex.

In 2010, Matthews released Tir (in Welsh: 'territory' or 'land'), a collection of traditional Welsh songs, and of photographs from her family archive from the 1880s to 1940s of people at work and play.[21] They included "Calon Lân", Cwm Rhondda, Migldi-Magldi (sung as a duet with Bryn Terfel), Myfanwy and Sosban Fach.[22] This is the third release on her own label, Rainbow City.

Explorer is Matthews' fourth solo album (2011). In both selecting and writing the songs she delved into the influence of both the music she has heard round the globe, and the places she had visited. Recorded over seven days, the album from the outset had no pre-determined sound or calculated format.[23] On the album she incorporates a little Spanish, Scottish, Irish, Welsh, and American sensibilities, styles, and genres.[24] In April 2011, a video was released through Matthews' official YouTube Page[25] of the lead single from Explorer, "Sweet Magnolia".

Matthews played the Isle of Wight and Hay festivals in 2012, the latter with a Woody Guthrie tribute show, and collaborated with artists such as Arun Ghosh, Tunde Jegede, Attab Haddad, Frank Moon and the London Bulgarian Choir. 2012 also saw her play music from her acclaimed and popular selling collection of Welsh traditional songs 'Tir', with Ballet Cymru, ending in a show in Sadler's Wells, and a nomination for a Theatre Critics Award 2012.[26] She produced and arranged Christmas album Baby, its Cold Outside (2012) to much acclaim, recognised by the Sunday Times as an "essential seasonal album"[citation needed]. Cerys played UK literary festivals including Dartington, Chester, Hay and Edinburgh and released an album of traditional Welsh reels and songs Hullabaloo'. Matthews sang Patsy Cline's Crazy and Dylan's Blowin' in the wind as part of the memorial service for esteemed War correspondent Marie Colvin, in May 2012. Matthews appeared as a celebrity guest mentor on the first series of the UK version of The Voice for Tom Jones's Team broadcast.[27]

Matthews won gold at the 2013 Sony Radio Academy Awards, winning in the 'Music Broadcaster of the year' category.[28] Baby it's Cold Outside, released for Christmas 2013 on the Rainbow City label, is a selection of Christmas carols and classic Christmas songs all arranged and produced by Matthews using instruments such as Chinese temple blocks, oud, celeste and coconut shells. She was Artistic Director for the opening ceremony of Womex 2013 representing Wales.

Matthews won a prestigious 'St David Award' - for her contribution to culture in 2014 - run by the Welsh government, in its inaugural year- 2014 Other prize winners on the night were Bryn Terfel and Lyn Evans.

She was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2014 Birthday Honours for services to music.[29]

Books[edit]

Hook, Line and Singer, Cerys' collection of singalong classics published by Penguin, became a top 3 Sunday Times bestseller in 2013. The book includes personal anecdotes and song histories. Song examples are "Let's Go Fly A Kite", "Oh Susannah", and "Swing Low Sweet Chariot".

Tales from the deep is a duo of stories written in verse with paintings by Fran Evans, published by Gomer. It was nominated for a People's Choice Award. It was followed by Gelert, a man's best friend (Gomer, 2013)

Personal life , patronage and charities[edit]

Matthews currently resides in London with her children Glenys Pearl y Felin (born 10 August 2003), Johnny Tupelo Jones (born August 2005), and Red Owen (born 23 November 2009), and her husband Steven Abbott.

Matthews is Vice-President for Shelter Cymru,and Vice President for the Hay festival of Literature and the Arts, an Arts Ambassador for Linden Lodge, a Specialist Sensory and Physical College, a patron of the Dylan Thomas Society, along with Prince Charles and Bryn Terfel, and a patron of Ballet Cymru. She has is a judge for the Dylan Thomas Literary Prize also a judge for the Forward Prizes for Poetry 2014.

Solo discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Compilation albums[edit]

Singles[edit]

Appearances on other original recordings[edit]

Catatonia discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Year Details Peak chart position Certifications
(sales thresholds)
UK
[30]
AUS
[31]
GER
[32]
IRL
[33]
NZL
[34]
1996 Way Beyond Blue 32
1998 International Velvet
  • Released: Feb 1998
  • Label: Blanco y Negro/WEA
1 27 39 32
1999 Equally Cursed and Blessed
  • Released: 28 March 2000
  • Label: Blanco y Negro/Atlantic
1 48 28
2001 Paper Scissors Stone
  • Released: 6 August 2001
  • Label: Blanco y Negro
6 55 37
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.

Compilation albums[edit]

Year Details Peak chart position Certifications
(sales thresholds)
UK
[30]
AUS
[31]
GER
[32]
IRL
[33]
NZL
[34]
1995 The Sublime Magic of Catatonia
  • Released: 1995
  • Label: Nursery
1998 The Crai-EPs 1993/1994
  • Released: 19 October 1999
  • Label: Crai/M.I.L. Multimedia
2002 Greatest Hits
  • Released: 15 October 2002
  • Label: WEA
24 43
2006 Platinum Collection
  • Released: 21 March 2006
  • Label: WEA
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.

Singles and EPs[edit]

Year Title Peak chart positions Album
UK
[30][36]
AUS
[31]
IRL
[37]
NZL
[34]
1993 May "For Tinkerbell" (EP) Non-album EP
1994 Jun "Hooked" (EP) The Sublime Magic of Catatonia
Sep "Whale" (vinyl-only)
1995 Jan "Bleed" 158
Dec "Christmas '95" (fan club vinyl)1 Non-album single
1996 Apr "Sweet Catatonia" 61 Way Beyond Blue
Jul "Lost Cat" 41
Oct "Bleed" (re-issue) 46
1997 Feb "You've Got A Lot To Answer For" 35
Oct "I Am the Mob" 40 International Velvet
1998 Jan "Mulder and Scully" 3 17
May "Road Rage" 5 40 29
Jul "Strange Glue" 11
Oct "Game On" 33
1999 Apr "Dead From the Waist Down" 7 44 Equally Cursed and Blessed
Jul "Londinium" 20
Oct "Karaoke Queen" 36
2000 Mar "Storm The Palace" (EP)
2001 Sep "Stone by Stone" 19 Paper Scissors Stone
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.
  • 1 – The A-side being "Blow the Millennium, Blow".

Miscellaneous and promos[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Biography". cerysmatthews.co.uk. Retrieved January 29, 2014. 
  2. ^ Paul, Chris. "Cerys Matthews". Beat Review. Retrieved 2014-04-25. 
  3. ^ "BBC Radio 4 - The Strongest Girl in the World". Bbc.co.uk. 2010-09-16. Retrieved 2014-04-25. 
  4. ^ "Dylan Thomas". BBC. 1970-01-01. Retrieved 2014-04-25. 
  5. ^ Moore, Dylan. "Cerys Matthews". Wales Arts Review. Retrieved 2014-04-25. 
  6. ^ "Cerys Matthews: A star is reborn". The Independent. 22 July 2006. 
  7. ^ "Expectant Cerys home for birth". BBC News. 7 August 2003. 
  8. ^ Rhodes, Giulia. "Cerys Matthews rocks the crib | Music | Entertainment | Daily Express". Express.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-04-25. 
  9. ^ Schweitzer, Louise (2012-12-17). "Cerys Matthews, The Old Market, Hove, December 15 (From The Argus)". Theargus.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-04-25. 
  10. ^ "Cerys Matthews profile: news, photos, style, videos and more – HELLO! Online". Hellomagazine.com. Retrieved 2014-04-25. 
  11. ^ A star is reborn The independent
  12. ^ Troubled Catatonia split up BBC News
  13. ^ Cartoon Sali Mali joins Channel 4 BBC News 28 July 2009 Retrieved 23 November 2009
  14. ^ "Cerys Matthews – TMBW: The They Might Be Giants Knowledge Base". TMBW. Retrieved 15 April 2012. 
  15. ^ Cerys arrives for wedding on tractor BBC Wales – 22 February 2003
  16. ^ http://www.jmcreative.net/ "1-2-3" download
  17. ^ "1-2-3 (For a Very Good Reason)" commercial film
  18. ^ Divorced Cerys returns to Wales BBC Wales – 15 October 2007
  19. ^ "Cerys and Marc in Pembrokeshire". BBC. 8 December 2007. 
  20. ^ Morton, Cole (14 October 2007). "Cerys Matthews: 'My marriage is over. I'm coming home'". The Independent. 
  21. ^ EccentricUK – Cerys Matthews Retrieved 19 February 2012
  22. ^ WalesOnLine – Cerys Matthews: The tracks of my life Retrieved 19 February 2012
  23. ^ CerysMatthews.co.uk = Explorer Biography Retrieved 19 February 2012
  24. ^ InsideWorldMusic – CD Review: Cerys Matthews' 'Explorer' Retrieved 19 February 2012]
  25. ^ a b "cerysofficialYoutube". 
  26. ^ South Wales Argus Release.
  27. ^ Digital Spy Article, Cerys Matthews appears as guest on The Voice.
  28. ^ BBC Release. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-22521663
  29. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 60895. p. b21. 14 June 2014.
  30. ^ a b c "British chart positions". chartstats.com. Retrieved 3 March 2010. 
  31. ^ a b c "Australian chart positions". australian-charts.com. Retrieved 3 March 2010. 
  32. ^ a b "German album positions". musicline.de. Retrieved 3 March 2010. 
  33. ^ a b "Irish chart positions". irish-charts.com. Retrieved 3 March 2010. 
  34. ^ a b c "New Zealand chart positions". charts.org.nz. Retrieved 3 March 2010. 
  35. ^ a b c "British certificates: searchable database". bpi.co.uk. Retrieved 3 March 2010. 
  36. ^ "UK Chartlog: Chris C. – CZR". zobbel.de. Retrieved 3 March 2010. 
  37. ^ "Irish singles positions". irishcharts.ie. Retrieved 3 March 2010. 

External links[edit]