Rhydian Roberts

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Rhydian Roberts
Rhydian Roberts at the premiere of The Golden Compass in London.jpg
Background information
Birth name Rhydian James Roberts
Also known as Rhydian
Born (1983-02-14) 14 February 1983 (age 31)
Origin Sennybridge, Wales, United Kingdom
Genres Musical theatre
Classical crossover
Operatic pop
Wagnerian rock
Occupations Singer, musical theatre actor, television presenter
Years active 2007–present
Labels Sony, Syco, Conehead
Website www.rhydianroberts.com

Rhydian James Roberts (born 14 February 1983), or simply Rhydian, is a Welsh baritone, crossover artist, musical theatre actor and television presenter. He rose to fame after finishing as runner-up on the fourth series of The X Factor in 2007.[1]

Of his four studio albums, the first went platinum. Composer Karl Jenkins co-produced his second album, which included collaborations with Kiri te Kanawa and Bryn Terfel. His impending release, One Day Like This, makes a return to his core repertoire, mingling pop with classics, with duettists including Kerry Ellis and Bonnie Tyler.

Rhydian has completed two solo UK tours and made gala and charity appearances in Wales and at the Royal Albert Hall, London. He is an ambassador of The Prince's Trust. While his concert appearances have been centred mostly in Wales since 2011, he tours widely in musical theatre. He has starred in a European arena tour of The War of the Worlds - Alive on Stage! and UK tours of We Will Rock You, Grease, and The Rocky Horror Show.

Early years[edit]

Born in Sennybridge, Rhydian (middle name "James") attended the Pontsenni Cylch Meithrin and then Ysgol y Bannau Welsh medium school in nearby Brecon. From the age of 5, he represented both the school and Powys in the Urdd Gobaith Cymru Eisteddfod, maintaining links with the Urdd whilst at Llandovery College (where he became head boy)[2] and subsequently at university.

He played rugby union for the Gwernyfed RFC club as a junior and later for his school, as well as cricket for Powys County Junior teams.[3] "My plan was to be a professional player for the Swansea RFC Ospreys (rugby team)," he says. "From the age of ten that was all I could think about – and I wasn't interested in singing any more." He undertook a stringent exercise programme and was "a gym fanatic who could bench-press 386lbs at 16."[4]

Following a gap year teaching in a small school in South Africa, Rhydian returned to Britain, winning a bursary to the Birmingham Conservatoire at University of Central England (now known as Birmingham City University).[5]

Vocal training at Birmingham Conservatoire[edit]

Recognised as "a star pupil at the Conservatoire from the very beginning," [6] Rhydian studied with Adrian Clarke and Christine Cairns. He was the first student from outside London to win the Kathleen Ferrier Society Bursary for Young Singers.[7] Other accolades included the Reginald Vincent Lieder Prize, the 2007 Mario Lanza Educational Award,[8] and the Cecil Drew Oratorio Prize. At the Conservatoire, he played Charley in Merrily We Roll Along[9] and the title role in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde,[10] and he was also cast as Morales in the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra's semi-staged Carmen.[11] He auditioned for the BBC's Any Dream Will Do upon graduating in 2007.[12]


Concerts, galas and solo tours[edit]

Rhydian completed his first 24-date solo concert tour of the UK in 2008 and a second tour in 2013.[13] His performed at Andrew Lloyd Webber's 60th Birthday concert in Hyde Park for over 30,000 people,[14] and at private functions internationally. In 2009 he headlined a Liverpool Summer Pops Festival concert.[15]

Between March and May 2010, Rhydian starred in three galas at London's Royal Albert Hall: the Classic FM Live concert[16] and the Classical Brits Awards, and Classic Response, for charity[17] In Wales he sang in the closing concert of the 2010 St David's Week Festival at Brangwyn Hall, Swansea, performed frequently with Welsh male voice choirs, and returned to the National Eisteddfod of Wales.[18]

From 2011 onwards, Rhydian has concertised almost exclusively in Wales, featuring regularly with Cor Curiad, Flint Male Voice Choir, and the Morriston Orpheus Choir. On 1 March 2011 (St David's Day), he performed at his old high school in Llandovery during a visit by HRH The Prince of Wales.[19] He guested at at the opening night of the 2011 Gwyl Gobaith Festival, a 10th Birthday Concert of Wales Air Ambulance, which, said Rhydian, "is something close to my heart and saved the life of a neighbour of mine."[20]

Seasonal concerts[edit]

Rhydian's Christmas concerts include Hayley Westenra's Christmas Wishes at Birmingham's Symphony Hall and appearances at the Barbican Hall and at the O2 (2010), and Bath Forum (2011). He switched on the 2009 Hull Christmas lights.


Rhydian made his musical theatre debut in the 2010 European tour of The War of the Worlds - Live on Stage! (Parson Nathaniel),[21] He has performed extensively throughout the UK, touring in We Will Rock You (Khashoggi, Chief of Police),[22] Grease (40th anniversary tour, playing "Teen Angel")[23] and Rocky Horror Show (Rocky).[24]


In late 2011, Rhydian fronted an major eight-part television entertainment series for S4C, hosting many guests.[25] (His fourth studio album was released to tie in with this TV series.)

Rhydian guested on The 2008 X Factor finals[26] and on Charlotte Church's Christmas special.[27] During 2009 he appeared on the Children in Need charity telethon and Songs of Praise (BBC), and S4C aired his own special followed by a documentary, Rhydian, One Year On.[28]


Rhydian's eclectic repertoire, including classics, rock, Welsh songs, pop anthems, hymns, and folk, has been demonstrated through his albums.

One Day Like This (2014)[edit]

Funded by pledges[29] and released on 14 April 2014 through Futura Classics, One Day Like This is Rhydian's fifth album. It signals a return to his core repertoire, mingling expressive, lavishly produced classics and pop anthems, and features collaborations with Kerry Ellis and Bonnie Tyler.[30]

Earlier albums (2008-2011)[edit]

His eponymous debut, Rhydian, 2008's highest-selling album by a male newcomer,[31] sold over 600,000 copies in 2009. A second album, O Fortuna (2009), included collaborations with Kiri te Kanawa and Bryn Terfel, and was co-produced by composer Karl Jenkins.[32][33] He guested on the CD To Where You Are with the Morriston Orpheus Choir (Sain label, 2011).[34] Conehead, to which Rhydian moved in 2010,[35][36] released two contrasting albums in 2011: Waves with covers of classic 1980s pop showing a marked shift in recording repertoire[37][38]and then Caneuon Cymraeg ("Welsh Songs"), a mix of classic Welsh songs and originals, tying in with his debut television series for the Welsh-language channel S4C.

Charity concerts and appearances[edit]

In 2008, HRH Prince Charles invited him to become an ambassador of The Prince's Trust. Rhydian sang at the Children of Courage Awards Ceremony at Westminster Abbey.[39] In 2009 Rhydian again entertained the Royal Family, at "The Prince's Trust Celebrates Success" Awards.[40]

Extensive 2010 charity commitments included the Lord Mayor of Cardiff’s Gala Concert, Christian Aid's concert,[41] Classic Response at the Royal Albert Hall and the charity single "The Prayer,"[42] and posing nude in Cosmopolitan[43] ("Taking my kit off wasn't something I expected to do, but as it was for a great cause [prostate cancer] I changed my mind.").[44] Rhydian entertained charity gala dinners for Help for Heroes and for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC),[45] observing:

I'm delighted to take part in this event. I had a very happy childhood in Wales, but I know that not all children are so lucky. The work done by the NSPCC is critical in helping to keep children safe. . . . I hope that by performing at this event, I can do my bit.[46]

Rhydian joined one million runners nationwide, winning the 2012 Cardiff Mile for Sport Relief in "an impressive five minutes 40 seconds."[47]

Sports events[edit]

Rhydian sang at the 2008 Welsh Grand Slam celebrations and BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year Awards. He opened the 2010 Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford and the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor.[48] In 2011, Rhydian opened the Carnegie Challenge Cup final at Wembley Stadium.[49]

The X Factor (2007)[edit]

During his audition for X Factor, Rhydian had been openly self-assured and ambitious. Judges found him both perplexing and talented, and his eventual mentor Dannii Minogue gave the only "no" vote.[50] Sharon Osbourne was reported to have found him arrogant, although these tensions softened in time.[51] Later in the series, Simon Cowell averred: "[Rhydian] is incredibly polite and respectful. He stands out because he has an incredible voice."[52] Rhydian likened his portrayal during the series to that of a "pantomime villain".[53]

Powerful performances of, among others, "You Raise Me Up, " and "I Vow to Thee, My Country" made Rhydian favourite to win,[54] while his rendition of "Somewhere" moved judge Dannii Minogue to tears: "I can't even speak, that was so beautiful."[55] Of his "Bridge Over Troubled Water", Simon Cowell said "Rhydian, I thought that was bloody fantastic ... and I think probably your best performance, if not THE best performance of the competition so far."[56]

Notwithstanding his fears, Rhydian eventually won over public opinion. Overhauling his image, "his trademark white hair and flamboyant dress sense made him an audience favourite immediately"[57] He duetted in the final with Katherine Jenkins, whom he had long admired.[58] Despite finishing as runner-up,[59] Rhydian was offered a recording contract with Sony BMG by Simon Cowell the next day.

In retrospect, Rhydian has said: "I’m very proud of what I achieved on X Factor. I’m a showman and it gave me the chance to put on a show".[60] His appearances included:


Studio albums[edit]

title Details Peak chart positions Certifications
and sales
Rhydian 3 7
O Fortuna
  • Released: 30 November 2009
  • Label: Sony Music
  • Format: CD, digital download
25 61
  • Released: 1 August 2011
  • Label: Conehead
  • Format: CD, digital download
Welsh Songs: Caneuon Cymraeg
  • Released: 12 December 2011
  • Label: Conehead
  • Format: CD, digital download
One Day Like This
  • Released: 14 April 2014
  • Label: Futura Classics
  • Format: CD, digital download


Year Song Chart positions Album
2008 "The Impossible Dream" 91 Rhydian
2010 "The Prayer" Charity Single
2011 "Parade" Waves


  1. ^ "Rhydian Roberts". classicfm.co.uk. Retrieved 12 February 2012. 
  2. ^ "Llandovery College Information on Rhydian'!". Archived from the original on 13 February 2008. Retrieved 7 January 2008. 
  3. ^ "Cricket: 'My brush with Rhydian'". Retrieved 7 January 2008. 
  4. ^ "Change of tune that led to fame for Rhydian Roberts," Times Online, 2 February 2008. Retrieved 16 March 2010. This article gives Rhydian's background and interest in rugby union. He is described in several blogs as the strongest Welsh bench presser during his teens.
  5. ^ "bcu.ac.uk 2". 
  6. ^ By Michael Barry, Director of Theatre Studies
  7. ^ He beat 13 other 2nd-year vocal students from UK music colleges, and the judges hailed his "formidable talent" and his "immediate connection with the audience".
  8. ^ "Mario Lanza Award 2007'!". Retrieved 1 May 2008. 
  9. ^ June 2004, Crescent Theatre, Birmingham
  10. ^ June 2006, Crescent Theatre, Birmingham.
  11. ^ Symphony Hall, Birmingham, 27 September 2005. See BBC Radio 3 website. (He had been recommended for audition to the CMBSO's's Musical Director Sakari Oramo by the Birmingham Conservatoire's Director of Theatre Studies, Michael Barry, who directed the performance.
  12. ^ However, he did not progress beyond the bootcamp stage, as his voice was not deemed right for the production's pop score.
  13. ^ Viagogo website with venues and dates. Accessed 27 September 2012.
  14. ^ http://www.britishtheatreguide.info/reviews/ALWbirthday-rev.htm He performed "Music of the Night".
  15. ^ Rhydian Roberts, Only Men Aloud!, Summer Pops 2011 at Liverpool Echo Arena on Thursday 30th Jul 2009 Audience of 3,000 in the Echo Arena.
  16. ^ He sang "Myfanwy" and "Land of My Fathers" in Welsh.
  17. ^ For victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
  18. ^ National Eisteddfodd of Wales website. Retrieved 16 March 2010.
  19. ^ Report on the Prince of Wales's website. Retrieved 21 March 2011.
  20. ^ "Rhydian To Sing at Wales Air Ambulance Birthday Concert"/ Retrieved 28 August 2011.
  21. ^ Composer Jeff Wayne acclaimed him as "an incredibly talented singer whose range and depth of voice will suit this role perfectly. See Press Association announcement of 16 March 2010 Retrieved 16 March 2010.
  22. ^ Queen News. Retrieved 25 August 2010. Rhydian performed in Cardiff, Southampton and Birmingham.
  23. ^ Other guest "Teen Angels" on this tour have included Robin Cousins and Mary Byrne. See Grease website. Retrieved 31 July 2011. See also "Rhydian Roberts to Star in GREASE UK Tour," from broadwayworld.com. Retrieved 31 July 2011. Rhydian played at Blackpool, Sunderland, Liverpool, Norwich, and Edinburgh.
  24. ^ "Press release Tuesday, October 16th, 2012". TimeWarp The Official UK Rocky Horror Fan Club. Retrieved 17 October 2012. 
  25. ^ Guests included Hayley Westenra and [[Claire Jones (harpist)|]]
  26. ^ He sang "The Impossible Dream."
  27. ^ They duetted on "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas".
  28. ^ "Rhydian". S4C. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  29. ^ Pledge Music website. Accessed 24 March 2014.
  30. ^ [1] Pledge Music website. Accessed 24 March 2014.
  31. ^ Upon release, the album charted at number 3, selling over 150,000 in its first two weeks and over 300,000 after four weeks to win Platinum Album status as awarded by the BPI.
  32. ^ a b "Exclusive: X Factor loser Rhydian set for new album.. while Leon Jackson is dumped by label". The Daily Record. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  33. ^ a b "Rhydian dreams of duet with Christina Aguilera". Programmes.stv.tv. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  34. ^ Rhydian performs lead vocals in "Stars" (Les Miserables), "Bui Doi" (Miss Saigon), and "You'll Never Walk Alone" (Carousel).
  35. ^ Barber, Richard (9 May 2010). "Rhydian Roberts dumps Simon Cowell - and quits the 'Sycobubble'". Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 16 November 2010. 
  36. ^ "Rhydian Roberts quits Simon Cowell's Syco record label". 9 May 2010. Retrieved 9 May 2010. 
  37. ^ Interview in OK Magazine. Accessed 7 January 2011]
  38. ^ "X-factor's Rhydian to go from Opera star to pop star," Rachel Mainwaring, Wales on Sunday, 24 July 2011. Retrieved 1 August 2011.
  39. ^ http://www.itv.com/News/Articles/Prince-honours-Children-of-Courage-582180971.html
  40. ^ princestrust. "Rhydian at The Prince's Trust Celebrate Success 2009". YouTube. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  41. ^ The Lord Mayor of Cardiff's Gala Concert was City Hall for Bobath Children's Therapy Centre Wales. Christian Aid's concert was at St David's Hall.
  42. ^ Hoyle, Antonia (27 February 2010). "Classical stars sing The Prayer in aid of Haiti quake victims". Daily Mail (London). 
  43. ^ "Rhydian bares his XXX factor". 9 May 2010. Retrieved 12 May 2010. 
  44. ^ "Rhydian Roberts gets his bum out for Cosmo". 12 May 2010. Retrieved 12 May 2010. 
  45. ^ Help for Heroes, organised by Joe Calzaghe, at London's Grosvenor House Hotel, and the NSPCC gala at Cardiff City Stadium
  46. ^ "See Rhydian at Stadium". Retrieved 21 April 2010
  47. ^ "Cardiff rises up to go the extra mile for Sport Relief 2012", Cardiff Penny Post, 26 March 2012. Retrieved 8 April 2012.
  48. ^ At Old Trafford he sang the anthem "Jerusalem", and for the Ryder Cup he performed "This Is The Moment" and "The Impossible Dream."
  49. ^ He sang "Abide With Me" and "God save the Queen". The Black Dyke Band also performed. "Rhydian To Entertain Fans At Wembley". Retrieved 28 August 2011.
  50. ^ Rhydian's X Factor audition. Retrieved 16 March 2010.
  51. ^ "Rhydian and the no seX factor," Daily Mail, 7 December 2007. Retrieved 16 March 2010.
  52. ^ "Rhydian and the no seX Factor'!". Daily Mail (London). 7 December 2007. Retrieved 4 January 2008.  Cowell continued: "there is no arrogance or conceit. He's a very good guy, and in fact I think he is very insecure."
  53. ^ "Do you want Rhyd of me?", The Sun, 9 October 2007. Video clips of him often included the "Phantom of the Opera" song playing in the background.
  54. ^ "Same Difference out of X Factor". BBC News. 15 December 2007. Retrieved 22 May 2010. 
  55. ^ "Somewhere," on X Factor. Retrieved 16 March 2010.
  56. ^ "Bridge Over Troubled Water." Retrieved 16 March 2010.
  57. ^ Rhydian biography from Classic FM website. Retrieved 16 March 2010.
  58. ^ "ICWales". 
  59. ^ Leon Jackson won the series
  60. ^ Quoted in "X-factor's Rhydian to go from Opera star to pop star," Rachel Mainwaring, Wales on Sunday, 24 July 2011. Retrieved 1 August 2011.
  61. ^ Judging comments after Rhydian's performance of "Phantom of the Opera." Retrieved 2010-03-16.
  62. ^ TheXFactorUK (3 November 2007). "X Factor 4, ep 13, Rhydian (itv.com/xfactor)". YouTube. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  63. ^ TheXFactorUK (17 November 2007). "X Factor 4, ep 15, Rhydian (itv.com/xfactor)". YouTube. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  64. ^ a b "Rhydian Roberts > UK Charts". Officialcharts.com/. Official Charts Company. 
  65. ^ Hung, Steffen. "Discography Rhydian". Irish Charts Portal. Hung Medien. 
  66. ^ Lane, Dan (20 December 2012). "The Top 10 biggest selling X Factor debut singles and albums revealed!". The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 27 December 2012. 
  67. ^ Lyons, Beverley; Sutherland, Laura (20 March 2009). "Fans' anger as Leon Jackson is ditched by record label". Daily Record. Retrieved 4 April 2009. 
  68. ^ Announced 7 January 2010

External links[edit]