Rhydian Roberts

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Rhydian Roberts
Rhydian Roberts at the premiere of The Golden Compass in London.jpg
Rhydian at the Daybreak studios, August 2011
Background information
Birth name Rhydian James Roberts
Born (1983-02-14) 14 February 1983 (age 34)
Origin Sennybridge, Wales, United Kingdom
Genres Musical theatre,
classical crossover, opera, Operatic pop, Wagnerian rock
Occupation(s) Singer, musical theatre actor, television presenter
Instruments Vocals
Years active 2007–present
Labels Sony, Syco, Conehead
Website www.rhydianroberts.com

Rhydian James Roberts (born 14 February 1983), known mononymously as Rhydian, is a classically trained British baritone singer, television presenter and musical theatre actor.

Early years[edit]

Born in Sennybridge, Rhydian attended the Pontsenni Cylch Meithrin in Brecon and then Ysgol y Bannau Welsh medium school. His enjoyment of both singing and sport developed early. From age 5, he represented both the school and Powys in the Urdd Gobaith Cymru Eisteddfod, with which he maintained links at Llandovery College (where he became head boy),[1] and subsequently at university. Rhydian's ambition, formed from the age of 10, to play professionally for the Ospreys (rugby team) temporarily overrode his love of singing.[2] He played rugby union for the Gwernyfed rugby football club as a junior and later for his school, as well as cricket for Powys County Junior teams.[3] 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 won 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. Awards included the Kathleen Ferrier Society Bursary for Young Singers (first winner from outside London),[7] the Reginald Vincent Lieder Prize, the 2007 Mario Lanza Educational Award,[8] and the Cecil Drew Oratorio Prize. He appeared onstage in Merrily We Roll Along (Charley),[9] Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (title role),[10] and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra's semi-staged Carmen (Morales).[11] Upon graduating in 2007 he auditioned for the BBC's Any Dream Will Do.[12]


Concerts, galas and solo tours[edit]

Rhydian toured the UK in 2008, 2013, and 2014-15. The title of his third tour "One Day Like This", derived from his hit fifth record album.[13]

Between March and May 2010, Rhydian made three gala appearances at the Royal Albert Hall: in the Classic FM Live concert[14] the Classical Brits Awards, and Classic Response. He sang in the closing concert of the 2010 St David's Week Festival at Brangwyn Hall, Swansea, and at the National Eisteddfod of Wales.[15] He has guested with Cor Curiad, Flint Male Voice Choir, Pendyrus Male Voice Choir and the Morriston Orpheus Choir. On 1 March 2011 (St David's Day), he entertained his old school in Llandovery during a visit by HRH The Prince of Wales.[16] He featured in Andrew Lloyd Webber's 60th Birthday concert in Hyde Park [17] and headlined a 2009 Liverpool Summer Pops Festival concert.[18] Seasonal appearances include Hayley Westenra's Christmas Wishes at Birmingham's Symphony Hall and concerts at the Barbican Hall, the O2 (2010), and Bath Forum (2011). He switched on the 2009 Hull Christmas lights.


Rhydian has toured the UK in musical theatre since making his debut in the 2010 European tour of The War of the Worlds - Live on Stage! (Parson Nathaniel),[19] From 2010 to 2013 he appeared in We Will Rock You (Khashoggi, Chief of Police),[20] Grease (40th anniversary tour, playing "Teen Angel")[21] and Rocky Horror Show (Rocky).[22] He has played pantomime leads in Beauty and the Beast,[23] acclaimed for carrying the show "rather spectacularly" with "remarkable gravitas",[24] and Cinderella.[25] In 2015 he played Pontius Pilate in Jesus Christ Superstar[26] and in 2016 the Dentist in Little Shop of Horrors.[27]


2008's highest-selling album by a male newcomer (600,000 copies), was Rhydian's eponymous debut, Rhydian, incorporating material by Jim Steinman.[28][29] His second, O Fortuna (2009), co-produced by composer Karl Jenkins,[30][31] included duets with Kiri te Kanawa and Bryn Terfel. Rhydian guested on Morriston Orpheus Choir's CD To Where You Are (Sain, 2011).[32] There were two further albums during 2011:[33][34] first Waves, with covers of classic 1980s pop[35][36] and 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).

Funded by pledges,[37] One Day Like This (Futura Classics, April 2014), Rhydian's fifth album, returned to his core repertoire, mingling expressive, lavishly produced classics with pop anthems. Duettists include Kerry Ellis and Bonnie Tyler.[38] Within one week of release, it "stormed to the top of the Official Classical Album charts", remaining there for 10 consecutive weeks. It also reached 19 in the Official Album charts,[39] and topped the Classic FM Chart.[39] the second week after release.


During 2009, S4C aired Rhydian's own special followed by a documentary, Rhydian, One Year On[40] In 2011, Rhydian presented his own eight-part television entertainment series for S4C, [41][42] his fourth album, Caneuon Cymraeg (Welsh Songs) being released to tie in with it. He featured on Charlotte Church's Christmas special,[43] the Children in Need charity telethon, Songs of Praise (BBC), and The X Factor (4th series, final).

Charity concerts and appearances[edit]

Rhydian's charity work ranges from winning the 2012 Cardiff Mile for Sport Relief ("an impressive five minutes 40 seconds")[44] to posing nude for Cosmopolitan for prostate cancer in 2010.[45][46] He opened the 2011 Gwyl Gobaith Festival at the 10th Birthday Concert of Wales Air Ambulance[47] During 2010, Rhydian sang in Classic Response at the Royal Albert Hall and on the charity single "The Prayer,"[48] as well as at the Lord Mayor of Cardiff’s Gala Concert and Christian Aid's concert in Wales.[49] Charity gala dinners include Help for Heroes and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC).[50] An ambassador of the Prince's Trust, Rhydian performed at the Children of Courage Awards 2008 at Westminster Abbey,[51] and entertained the Royal Family again at "The Prince's Trust Celebrates Success" Awards (2009).[52]

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.[53] In 2011, Rhydian opened the Carnegie Challenge Cup final at Wembley Stadium.[54]

The X Factor (2007)[edit]

Rhydian has retrospectively commented: "I’m very proud of what I achieved on X Factor.[55] I’m a showman and it gave me the chance to put on a show".[36] His showmanship[36] was evident in

At audition his manifest talent, coupled with self-assurance and ambition, both awed and perplexed the judges.[59] During the live stages of competition, Rhydian felt that he was portrayed as a "pantomime villain",[60][61] but eventually his "trademark white hair and flamboyant dress sense made him an audience favourite."[62] His prospects had been buoyed by powerful performances of, among others, "You Raise Me Up," "I Vow to Thee My Country".[63] and "Bridge over Troubled Water", the last acclaimed by Simon Cowell as bloody fantastic ..."[64] Of his rendition of "Somewhere", a tearful Dannii Minogue declared: "I can't even speak, that was so beautiful".[65] His version of "The Impossible Dream" became the keynote track on his first album.[66]



  1. ^ "Llandovery College Information on Rhydian'!". Archived from the original on 13 February 2008. Retrieved 7 January 2008. 
  2. ^ "My plan was to be a professional player for the Swansea 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."
  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. ^ He did not progress beyond bootcamp, as his voice was not deemed right for the production's pop score.
  13. ^ Tickets section of Rhydian Roberts official fansite. Accessed 16 March 2015.
  14. ^ He sang "Myfanwy" and "Land of My Fathers" in Welsh.
  15. ^ National Eisteddfodd of Wales website. Retrieved 16 March 2010.
  16. ^ Report on the Prince of Wales's website. Retrieved 21 March 2011.
  17. ^ http://www.britishtheatreguide.info/reviews/ALWbirthday-rev.htm He performed "Music of the Night" for over 30,000 people.
  18. ^ Rhydian Roberts, Only Men Aloud!, Summer Pops 2011 at Liverpool Echo Arena on Thursday 30th July 2009 Audience of 3,000 in the Echo Arena.
  19. ^ War of the Worlds tour website Accessed 21 April 2014. Composer Jeff Wayne described him as "an incredibly talented singer whose range and depth of voice will suit this role perfectly."
  20. ^ Queen News. Retrieved 25 August 2010. Rhydian performed in Cardiff, Southampton and Birmingham.
  21. ^ Other guest "Teen Angels" on this tour 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.
  22. ^ "Press release Tuesday, October 16th, 2012". TimeWarp The Official UK Rocky Horror Fan Club. Retrieved 17 October 2012. 
  23. ^ Theatre Royal, Windsor, 2014
  24. ^ Paul Vale, "Beauty and the Beast", The Stage, 12 December 2014. Accessed 16 December 2014
  25. ^ Official website, news blog. Accessed 18 November 2015
  26. ^ Directed by Bill Kenwright and Bob Thomson. He played in Bromley, Cardiff, Dublin, Blackpool, Northampson, and Liverpool. See Official website. Accessed 2 September 2015.
  27. ^ Tour schedule and venue in Douglas Mayo, "Little Shop of Horrors 2016", britishtheatre.com website, 7 March 2016. Accessed 18 April 2016
  28. ^ Apple iTunes website Accessed 21 April 2014.
  29. ^ 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.
  30. ^ "Exclusive: X Factor loser Rhydian set for new album.. while Leon Jackson is dumped by label". The Daily Record. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  31. ^ "Rhydian dreams of duet with Christina Aguilera". Programmes.stv.tv. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  32. ^ Rhydian performs lead vocals in "Stars" (Les Misérables), "Bui Doi" (Miss Saigon), and "You'll Never Walk Alone" (Carousel).
  33. ^ For Conehead Records, to which Rhydian moved in 2010. See Barber, Richard (9 May 2010). "Rhydian Roberts dumps Simon Cowell - and quits the 'Sycobubble'". Daily Mail. London. Retrieved 16 November 2010. 
  34. ^ "Rhydian Roberts quits Simon Cowell's Syco record label". 9 May 2010. Retrieved 9 May 2010. 
  35. ^ Interview in OK Magazine. Accessed 7 January 2011]
  36. ^ a b c "X-factor's Rhydian to go from Opera star to pop star," Rachel Mainwaring, Wales on Sunday, 24 July 2011. Retrieved 1 August 2011.
  37. ^ Pledge Music website: artists page. Accessed 24 March 2014.
  38. ^ Pledge Music website: projects page Accessed 24 March 2014.
  39. ^ a b The Classic FM Chart. Accessed 28 April 2014.
  40. ^ S4C Adloniant, "Rhydian". Accessed 21 November 2015
  41. ^ Guests included Hayley Westenra and Claire Jones
  42. ^ "Rhydian". S4C. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  43. ^ They duetted on "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas".
  44. ^ "Cardiff rises up to go the extra mile for Sport Relief 2012", Cardiff Penny Post, 26 March 2012. Retrieved 8 April 2012.
  45. ^ "Taking my kit off wasn't something I expected to do", he explained, "but as it was for a great cause I changed my mind." "Rhydian Roberts gets his bum out for Cosmo". 12 May 2010. Retrieved 12 May 2010. 
  46. ^ "Rhydian bares his XXX factor". 9 May 2010. Retrieved 12 May 2010. 
  47. ^ Rhydian described Wales Air Ambulance as "something close to my heart and saved the life of a neighbour of mine." "Rhydian To Sing at Wales Air Ambulance Birthday Concert" Retrieved 28 August 2011.
  48. ^ Hoyle, Antonia (27 February 2010). "Classical stars sing The Prayer in aid of Haiti quake victims". Daily Mail. London. 
  49. ^ 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.
  50. ^ Help for Heroes: organised by Joe Calzaghe at London's Grosvenor House hotel.] NSPCC: At Cardiff City Stadium. Rhydian said, "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." "See Rhydian at Stadium". Retrieved 21 April 2010
  51. ^ ITV news report and Westminster Abbey press release. Accessed 21 April 2014.
  52. ^ princestrust. "Rhydian at The Prince's Trust Celebrate Success 2009". YouTube. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  53. ^ At Old Trafford he sang the anthem "Jerusalem", and for the Ryder Cup he performed "This Is The Moment" and "The Impossible Dream."
  54. ^ 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.
  55. ^ "Rhydian Roberts". classicfm.co.uk. Retrieved 12 February 2012. 
  56. ^ Judging comments after Rhydian's performance of "Phantom of the Opera." Retrieved 2010-03-16.
  57. ^ TheXFactorUK (3 November 2007). "X Factor 4, ep 13, Rhydian (itv.com/xfactor)". YouTube. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  58. ^ TheXFactorUK (17 November 2007). "X Factor 4, ep 15, Rhydian (itv.com/xfactor)". YouTube. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  59. ^ His eventual mentor Dannii Minogue gave the only "no" vote. See Rhydian's X Factor audition. Retrieved 16 March 2010.
  60. ^ "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.
  61. ^ "Rhydian and the no seX factor," Daily Mail, 7 December 2007. (Retrieved 16 March 2010) reported that Sharon Osbourne initially found him arrogant, although these tensions softened in time.
  62. ^ Rhydian biography from Classic FM website. Retrieved 16 March 2010.
  63. ^ "Same Difference out of X Factor". BBC News. 15 December 2007. Retrieved 22 May 2010. 
  64. ^ Cowell concluded, "THE best performance of the competition so far.""Bridge Over Troubled Water." Retrieved 16 March 2010.
  65. ^ "Somewhere," on X Factor. Retrieved 16 March 2010.
  66. ^ Rhydian (2008), recorded for Sony BMG, who offered him a recording contract the day after finishing as runner-up. He fulfilled a long-held dream by duetting in the final with Katherine Jenkins."ICWales". 

External links[edit]