Childhood & Early Life
Watson was born on November 24, 1966, and grew up in Irlam, Lancashire, England. He attended the 'Irlam Endowed Primary School.' Later, he attended the 'Irlam and Cadishead High School.' However, he dropped out of it.
Through the 'Youth Opportunities Programme,' Watson got a job as a bolt-cutter in an Irlam factory, near Manchester. He was married off in 1993 and soon had a baby. To keep the family afloat, he started performing cover versions of Elvis Presley’s songs at North West clubs. This helped him earn extra money.
Watson also briefly worked at 'St. Ambrose College,' Altrincham.
Continue Reading Below
Watson's glorious music career had a serendipitous start. He was requested to sing a cover of Puccini's Turandot 'Nessun Dorma' at a men's club on Wigan Road. The rendition impressed everyone at the venue, and his talent was eventually broadcast in other circles as well.
Then, in 1990, Watson won the 'Search for a Star' contest, organized by 'Piccadilly Radio.' This pushed his early-found fame further. In 1998, he signed a management deal with Ian Boasman, the manager of the 'Bistro French' restaurant in Preston.
Watson sang 'God Save the Queen' at the rugby league 'Challenge Cup' final at 'Wembley Stadium' in 1999. A hardcore 'Manchester' fan, he tore off his dinner jacket to reveal a 'ManU' shirt while performing the Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballé song 'Barcelona' during the last match of the premiership season. The stunt earned him an opportunity to sing a full set at the 'UEFA Champions League' final.
On November 19, 1999, Watson sang his cover for 'Nessum Dorma' at Cliff Richard's 'The Countdown Concert.' It was aired live on 'Sky Digital.' The performance caught the attention of the label 'Decca Records,' which released Watson's debut album, 'The Voice,' in 2000. The album included the cover and made a record of being the first British album to top both the US and the UK classical 'Billboard' charts.
Watson was then managed by Perry Hughes, who had a crucial role in his flourishing career at the time. The success of 'The Voice' was followed by 'Where My Heart Will Take Me,' the opening theme of 'Star Trek: Enterprise,' in 2001, and his second album, 'Encore,' which enjoyed similar success.
Watson's third album, 'Reprise,' included 'Bohemian Rhapsody' by ‘Queen’ and the ‘Pearl Fishers' duet by Bizet ('Au Fond du Temple Saint'). With 'Decca,' he released his fourth LP, 'Amore Musica,' in 2004.
In 2005, he collaborated with Irish–Norwegian band 'Secret Garden' for their album 'Earthsongs' and sang the ending theme song for the video game 'Castlevania: Curse of Darkness.’
Watson ventured into acting with the stage adaptation of Jeff Wayne's musical version of 'The War of the Worlds,' playing 'Parson Nathaniel' (2006). He also won the 'BBC' reality show 'Just the Two of Us.' Watson's next release got delayed due to a brain tumor surgery at the 'St George's Hospital' in Tooting, South London.
Upon full recovery, he released two albums. 'That's Life' was released in March 2007. By the arrival of 'Outside In' in November, Watson had another emergency surgery, at the 'Alexandra Hospital in Cheadle,' Greater Manchester, for another tumor growth.
Continue Reading Below
Watson resumed with his seventh studio album, 'People Get Ready,' in 2008, which was his final project with 'Decca.' He was also on the judge's panel on the 'BBC' talent hunt show 'Last Choir Standing' and delivered several live performances subsequently. He released his autobiography, 'Finding My Voice,' on June 5, 2008.
In 2009, Watson delivered a critically acclaimed performance as 'Karl-Oskar,' one of the principal singers in the English world premiere of the Swedish musical 'Kristina från Duvemåla,' at 'Carnegie Hall,' New York. He reprised the role in the UK premiere at the 'Royal Albert Hall' in London in 2010.
Watson released his next album, 'La Voce,' on November 22, 2010, under 'Epic.' He later signed with 'Sony.' With 'Sony,' he came up with his ninth album, 'Anthems – Music to Inspire a Nation,' on May 28, 2012.
Watson's tenth album, 'Only One Man,' hit the shelves on November 11, 2013, and the following year, he went on a promotional tour for the album, around the UK. The tour was conducted by the 'Arts Symphonic Orchestra,' 'Arts Voices,' and pianist Robert D.C. Emery.
The year 2016 witnessed the release of Watson's 11th album, 'True Stories,' which reached among the top 30 albums on the ‘Billboard’ charts. He collaborated with Welsh singer, radio host, and TV presenter Aled Jones, for the album 'In Harmony,' which released in 2018 and peaked at the eighth spot on the UK album chart.
Family & Personal Life
At the peak of his career, Watson encountered tremendous work pressure, which eventually wrecked his first marriage with his childhood sweetheart, Helen Watson. They divorced in 2002, shortly after the release of his debut album.
Watson has vehemently denied the accusations of dumping Helen over the phone, while he was on a tour in North America in March 2001, and that of sending his manager to their family home to load all his belongings into a van. He counter-claimed that Helen had wanted a divorce and had thrown all his possessions out in a fit of rage.
Watson was rumored to date Joy Montgomery, a blonde Canadian barmaid whom he had met while on a tour in North America.
With Helen, Watson has two daughters, Rebecca (born in 1995) and Hannah (born in 2000). Despite his ambition ending his first marriage, Watson later turned out to be a great father. He considers fatherhood the most important thing in his life and values it more than music.
Watson found love again in New York-based receptionist Roxanna Valerio. They met at a Manhattan club while he was touring in the US in 2001. He eventually professed his love to her, but they somehow did not seem compatible. Hence, they broke up in 2005.
Watson is currently married to a much-younger former receptionist named Louise Harris. She is just 6 years older than his daughter Rebecca.
Watson has performed for several charitable trusts, such as 'The Prince's Trust,' the 'Katy Holmes Trust,' and 'The Kirsty Club.' He has also performed to raise funds and awareness for campaigns such as 'Soccer Aid 2010,’ the remembrance for the 4th 'Mechanized Brigade' at ‘York Minster’ (2010), the 'Legends Match' at the 'Celtic Park for Oxfam' (2011), and the 'Bob Champion Cancer Trust' in 2012, to name a few.