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EDITIONS
 Monday, 27 January, 2003, 13:01 GMT
Charlotte breaks into pop chart
Charlotte Church
Church has experimented with a raunchier look
Singing star Charlotte Church is celebrating breaking into the pop charts with her first non-classical single.

The song - recorded with dance music supremo Jurgen Vries - went straight into the BBC's official Top 40 at number three.

The track - The Opera Song (Brave New World) - is being seen as the 16-year-old's passport to even more international success, and a wider audience.

Charlotte Church
She has developed a sexier image

Maxine Sheppard, product manager for Virgin Megastores across Britain, said: "It is selling particularly well in Scotland and the North West, and perhaps unsurprisingly, our highest selling store to date is Cardiff."

Church's desire to snare success outside the opera world has been known for some time.

She has often spoken of her ambition to record more contemporary tracks.

Her first attempt has been described as "trance music"- an offshoot of the dance music genre.

New name

The style of the track means she is able to continue to use her operatic skills, but with a modern twist.

This is also the first time she has appeared in the charts with the new title CMC - which stands for Charlotte Maria Church.

With the song sitting close to the top of the chart, there are signs that Church is building up a whole new fan base.

Her mother Maria has insisted that her daughter has no intention of turning her back on the opera world.

Changes

"It happened by accident," she said. "A record label sent her the track, asked her to sing on it and she agreed, but it is just a one-off."

In a recent interview, however, Church indicated that her views on her singing style were changing.

She told Radio One's Chris Moyles that she did not consider herself a "proper opera singer".

"Opera is a lot of work. I'd have to train for hours a day," she said. "I used to like it a lot, but now my taste has changed."

Royal comparison

The past year has seen Church hitting the headlines several times, with the spotlight falling on her year-long love affair with DJ Steven Johnson, and her relationship with her mother, Maria.

Last month, she compared the pressures in her life as a famous teenager as similar to those faced by Princes William and Harry.

She said that at times she felt she was living "in a goldfish bowl", and the pressures made the normal teenage growing problems even more difficult to bear.

On a recent 15-date tour of the United States, she was accused of having temper tantrums.

Fan claims

But she hit back, accusing the media of making her life hell, and denying she was having an emotional breakdown.

Press reports had claimed the singer had refused to meet fans after a concert in Cincinnati, Ohio, and that ticket sales for the concerts were poor.

She said: "I try to let it all go over my head but it's hard because my family get really upset.

"The people around me get really upset and get really angry, because none of it is true - none of it is true.

'Distortion'

"I don't throw big tantrums, I'm not a diva. I've been to all the meet and greets that I'm supposed to go to, so I just don't know where they get it from.

Speaking during the interview with ITN News, Church said she could identify with Princes William and Harry, and compared her life with theirs.

"I can completely sympathise with them, because like I said, being young is hard and confusing, and when you're put in a goldfish bowl everything you do is just multiplied and made into this big extravagent story," she said.

Personal life

Dealing with newspaper stories was a "really, really difficult" part of being famous, she added.

"I know when you kind of make yourself available to be a celebrity, you have to accept the parts of your personal life will be looked at.

"But that's OK for a 30-year-old who knows how to deal with things likethat.

"I'm just starting in relationships and stuff like that, and when everything is being scrutinised, it's just - it's confusing enough being 16," she explained.


More from south east Wales
See also:

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