The bal­ance

Singer Kather­ine Jenk­ins on kids, work­outs and not speak­ing be­tween shows. Plus Shar­madean Reid

The Guardian - Weekend - - Contents -

Kather­ine Jenk­ins, 38, mezzo-so­prano

Sleep I get up at 6.30am to feed my seven-month-old son, Xan­der, but as a morn­ing per­son, I have lots of en­ergy. I get less sleep than I should – I’m never in bed be­fore 11pm. Luck­ily I’m good at nap­ping on planes or in the car. My hus­band An­drew works on West Coast time, start­ing at 3pm and fin­ish­ing at three in the morn­ing.

Food I am a pesc­etar­ian-ve­gan in re­mem­brance of my friend Polly Humphries, who passed away from can­cer and ate a plant-based diet. Break­fast is por­ridge with al­mond milk. Lunch is salad with tuna or tofu. Din­ner is roasted veg with salmon and salad. I en­joy a glass of wine on hol­i­day, but al­co­hol’s ef­fect on the voice means none while per­form­ing.

Work I no longer get ner­vous per­form­ing. When I was younger, I would over­think things, and never per­formed as well as in re­hearsal. Now it’s se­cond na­ture to get out there and have a good time, shar­ing the oc­ca­sion with the au­di­ence. With young chil­dren, I do less in­ter­na­tional tour­ing; I can go back when Aaliyah, who is three, and Xan­der are older. On tour, I don’t speak be­tween per­for­mances: from com­ing off stage to the next sound check. It’s a dis­ci­pline. To be in the best vo­cal state, you must not over­work your voice. I let ev­ery­body know: I would hate to ap­pear rude.

Fam­ily Kids are the best thing that ever hap­pened to us. I’m in awe of my hus­band for how great a fa­ther he is. We’re both artists, so love paint­ing, dress­ing up, or putting on a show with the kids. My sis­ter Laura lives in Lon­don with her two chil­dren, so my mother Su­san can see all the grand­chil­dren at once. Mother-in-law comes over from New York twice a year, and An­drew’s grand­mother is 93. My nana was an im­por­tant in­flu­ence on me, so it’s great the chil­dren have these wise peo­ple in their lives.

Fun I en­joy eat­ing out and try­ing dif­fer­ent kinds of food. We love the theatre and art ex­hi­bi­tions. I’ve run marathons and 10km races, so fun for me is go­ing for a run or fit­ting in a work­out. I’ve def­i­nitely changed: I used to chase fun, but now ev­ery­thing I want is at home

Kather­ine Jenk­ins’ new al­bum Guid­ing Light is out now. The Guid­ing Light tour be­gins in Ox­ford in April 2019. In­ter­view by Su­san Gray

Kather­ine Jenk­ins

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