From voice of an angel to political activist: How Pie Jesu singing schoolgirl Charlotte


Charlotte Church found fame as a schoolgirl when she emerged as a classical singer – shocking the nation with her powerful young voice. 

Her musical career kicked off when she was just 11-years-old after she sang Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s Pie Jesu song on This Morning in 1997. She then branched into pop music in 2005 and by 2007 the singer had sold more than ten million records worldwide. 

Charlotte found success with her album Voice Of An Angel and became the youngest Classical artist in history to claim a number one title.

Big moments in her early years include performing Amazing Grace for then President Bill Clinton in 1999 – and performing for President George Bush at his inauguration in 2001 at aged 15.

But the soprano singer has now become embroiled in controversy after footage emerged showing the 38-year-old star leading a choir in the protest chant at a Sing For Palestine event in Caerphilly, south Wales.

Charlotte led a 100-strong pro-Palestine choir featuring children in singing From The River to Sea. 

The song is deemed anti-Semitic and has been accused of being a direct call for the state of Israel to be destroyed.

But in an Instagram live on Monday, Charlotte said: ‘Just to clarify my intentions there, I am in no way antisemitic. I am fighting for the liberation of all people. I have a deep heart for all religions and all difference.

‘It was a beautiful, beautiful event. But unfortunately the powers that be can’t have that. [They] can’t have such a powerful symbol of resistance as what we worked towards on Saturday.’

Charlotte Church appearing on the Big Big Talent Show hosted by Jonathan Ross in 1997

Charlotte Church appearing on the Big Big Talent Show hosted by Jonathan Ross in 1997

Charlotte came to fame with her album Voice Of An Angel and became the youngest Classical artist in history to claim a number one title (pictured with her mother Maria in 1999)

Charlotte came to fame with her album Voice Of An Angel and became the youngest Classical artist in history to claim a number one title (pictured with her mother Maria in 1999)

 

Charlotte rose to fame in childhood as a classical singer before she branched into pop music in 2005, by 2007 the singer sold more than ten million records worldwide (pictured in 2000)

Charlotte rose to fame in childhood as a classical singer before she branched into pop music in 2005, by 2007 the singer sold more than ten million records worldwide (pictured in 2000)

Charlotte Church, pictured in green, led a 100-strong pro-Palestine choir featuring children in singing the 'anti-Semitic' song From The River to Sea

Charlotte Church, pictured in green, led a 100-strong pro-Palestine choir featuring children in singing the ‘anti-Semitic’ song From The River to Sea

Charlotte reportedly led the choir in a seven-minute rendition of the song which many Jews see as a call for genocide

Charlotte reportedly led the choir in a seven-minute rendition of the song which many Jews see as a call for genocide

The 38-year-old was seen posing for photos after the concert, in which she sang the tune 'Stop the Occupation'

The 38-year-old was seen posing for photos after the concert, in which she sang the tune ‘Stop the Occupation’

In the clip, reported by the BBC, she added: ‘Clearly, if you know the history of it all, [it is] not an antisemitic chant calling for the obliteration of Israel. It is not that in any way shape or form. It is calling for the peaceful coexistence of Israelis and Palestinians.’

The Welsh singer, draped in a keffiyeh scarf in solidarity with those in Palestine, was also caught singing ‘Stop the Occupation’ as she attended the event at the Bedwas Workmen’s Hall on Saturday night.

The incident has sparked fury among people in the Jewish community, with the advocacy group the Campaign Against Antisemitism accusing her of using her ‘stardom to teach kids to sing extremist lyrics in a village hall’.

And Jewish MP Andrew Percy blasted the incident as ‘deeply concerning’, saying all who joined in Charlotte’s sing-along ‘should hang their heads in shame’. 

The pop star has been outspoken in her support for the territory, having released an Instagram video in November calling for the ‘liberation of Palestine’.

During the event, which was attended by 150 people, Church told the crowd it was a ‘safe space to just breathe and sing and get it all out’, The Sun reports.

She then led a choir, which included some children, in a seven-minute rendition of the controversial song as part of her 40-minute set.

It has sparked calls from the Campaign Against Antisemitism for an investigation by the Charity Commission. 

The singer revealed she was able to sit two of her GCSEs in The White House and was even given a cup of tea by an invigilator during her tests

The singer revealed she was able to sit two of her GCSEs in The White House and was even given a cup of tea by an invigilator during her tests

Right before taking her GCSE exams in Washington D.C., Charlotte performed for President George Bush at his inauguration in 2001 at aged 15 - here she is reflecting on that time

Right before taking her GCSE exams in Washington D.C., Charlotte performed for President George Bush at his inauguration in 2001 at aged 15 – here she is reflecting on that time 

Charlotte Church was seen singing protest song ‘from the river to the sea’ at a pro-Palestine rally in Wales on Saturday

The choir held up a sign saying 'Let Gaza Live' during the event held at Bedwas Workman's Hall

The choir held up a sign saying ‘Let Gaza Live’ during the event held at Bedwas Workman’s Hall

The organisation told MailOnline: ‘The genocidal chant ‘From the River to the Sea’ refers to the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea, and only makes sense as a call for the destruction of the world’s only Jewish state – and its replacement with a Palestinian state. It is a call for the annihilation of half the world’s Jews, who live in Israel.

‘Since 7th October, when Hamas committed their barbaric terrorist acts, we have heard this chant on the streets of Britain during anti-Israel marches, accompanied by all manner of anti-Jewish racism.

‘Singing ‘From the River to the Sea’ is not standing up for human rights. At best Charlotte Church has been tone deaf, but at worst she is using the voice for which she is so well known to fan the flames of hatred. You cannot stoop lower than using your stardom to teach kids to sing extremist lyrics in a village hall.

‘We will be writing to the Charity Commission to ask them to investigate how this was allowed to take place on a charity’s premises.’

Charlotte has been supportive of Palestine since the war in Gaza began last Autumn following Hamas’s surprise terror attack in southern Israel which killed more than 1,000 people.

In November the pop star choked back the tears in a video posted on Instagram as she implored her followers to take up the plight of innocent Palestinians caught up in the violence.

And she posted ahead of the latest event on X, formerly Twitter, saying: ‘Hello my loves, Big sing for Gaza is today! So wonderful to sing with a generous, big hearted group of humans! Bedwas here we come!’

She faced criticism in the online responses, including one person telling her: ‘Sing for Israel, sing for those murdered in 7th Oct, sing for those raped, sing for the babies, sing for the hostages.’

Other responses offered thoughts such as ‘Start by saying you want the hostages freed and then I might respect you’ and ‘How about a sing song for the hostages? No…didn’t think so’.

Yet she was also told: ‘Morning Charlotte, that’s great, bless you, thank you for your singing special and may you all have a great day in support of Gaza.’

Other responses included ‘Free Palestine! thank you’, ‘Love and solidarity’ and ‘Queen Charlotte’. 

It’s not the first time Charlotte has taken a public political stand either. 

She hit headlines in May 2015 when she brandished a placard proclaiming she was ‘mad as hell’ as she protested against the Conservative government.

Singer Charlotte Church attends a protest on Queen Street in Cardiff, Wales following the result of the General Election which saw the Conservative party win an overall majority in 2015

Singer Charlotte Church attends a protest on Queen Street in Cardiff, Wales following the result of the General Election which saw the Conservative party win an overall majority in 2015

After Labour’s resounding loss at the polls emerged at the time, she tweeted her devastation and claimed to have lost her faith in humanity when the Conservatives emerged victorious with a majority.

And the Welsh singer took her fury to the streets of her hometown Cardiff wielding a cardboard sign with the words ‘I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more’ painted on hapharzardly on it – a quote from 1976 movie Network.

The mother addressed a 200-strong crowd and said the government is one that ‘does not care about its people’ after claiming the public had handed over the reins of power to ‘bogey men’. 

She said at the time: ‘This is a government that does not care about its people and is only interested in cosying up to big business.’ 

MailOnline has contacted Charlotte Church’s representatives for comment. 



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