BY her own admission, Katherine Jenkins just loves Christmas. And now both she and her legion of fans have even more reason to look forward to the festive season.

For the fans, the good news is that Katherine will be bringing a special show to the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester at which she will perform seasonal songs backed by the London Concert Orchestra.

But for Katherine, being able to share the special time of year with her daughter Aaliyah, is something she can’t wait for.

“I love Christmas,” said Katherine. “I have been on tour since I was 23 and it has always been that one time that no matter how crazy the year has been, I always make sure that I’ve got Christmas with the family.

“It has always been a time when I can switch off.

“But really Christmas is for the children. I sing a song by John Rutter which has the line ‘the gift of children makes the season new again’ and that’s exactly what has happened with Aaliyah.

“This year will be her third Christmas. I thought last year was fun with her but this year is going to a different kettle of fish.”

Now 37, Katherine admits that motherhood has changed her - for the better.

“It has made me the best version of myself,” she said. “I think you just become more chilled in a weird way. You become more understanding and sympathetic with other people.

“I honestly think it’s the best thing we ever did. I’m obsessed with my daughter. It has changed my life. It’s an obvious thing to say but it has in ways I’d never expected.”

This year has seen Katherine officially being recognised the number one classical artist for the past 25 years. by Classic FM

She has had 12 number one albums in her career which began when she was just 23.

“I was just minding my own business on holiday and got call to say this had been revealed,” she said. “It was a huge shock and it still hasn’t quite sunk in.

“The first thought I had when I heard was how lucky I have been with the support of fans. I cannot believe how well supported I have been and how lovely everyone has been to me. I have been very blessed.”

Katherine is one of a number of artists who have brought classical music to a wider audience and it is something which she is very proud of.

“That was definitely something I wanted to do,” she said. “It’s not just down to me, there have been a few artists with the same hope.

“But I think it was all to do with my background. I was from such a normal place in Wales where my family did not take me to opera or to concerts. I really found my singing and classical music through church music.

“It’s all about how you are introduced to the music in the first place. If you feel you have a natural connection to it or it’s easy to find then people fall in love with it.

“I can understand that classical music can be a little intimidating and I wanted to try and help take that element out of it.

“After all, classical music was the pop music of its day and was written for the masses so no-one should be excluded from it today."

Growing up Katherine loved songs from the musicals but it was singing in the church choir which led her down the path to a classical career.

“It was a natural progression,” she said. “I started having singing lessons. I had been training my voice as a chorister. But when I went to this new singing teacher he said ‘your voice is already trained in a lyrical way through church so why don’t we try some classical music?’. He started me on some Italian songs and a bit of Beethoven and that was it. It just was like this was what my voice was meant to sing and I was really excited by it.”

It's been another busy year for Katherine. As well as her touring schedule, he also became a regular presenter for BBC's Songs of Praise. And she also got the chance to return to the musicals she loved as a girl when she appeared in Carousel with Alfie Boe in London, earning rave reviews.

“It was a dream come true.” she said. “It was very daunting and I felt a lot of pressure but I thoroughly enjoyed it and it also taught me that providing the musical was right I would definitely consider doing more of it. It was fun.”

After the Christmas shows, Katherine promised some exciting news for fans in 2018 and also revealed she is working on an animation for children based on the orchestra in which she will voice one of the characters.

She will be working on this with husband Andrew Levitas.

“It’s so funny,” she said. “It’s a project we started when I was pregnant and by the time it will be on screen Aaliyah will be the perfect age for it. So we will have our own in-house critic. I just hope she likes it!”

Christmas with Katherine Jenkins, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, Thursday, December 14. Details from 0161 907 9000