Camilla Kerslake is an English classical crossover singer from London who was the first signing to Gary Barlow’s record label. She released her debut album on 23 November 2009 in the UK. In 2008, after years of auditioning, Kerslake won a place in an all-girl pop group. She was initially selected, but was let go soon afterwards owing to their feeling that, at age twenty, she was too old. Motivated to try harder, she started performing in pubs and working men’s clubs as well as in an ABBA tribute band to finance her own classical singing lessons. In early 2009, Kerslake learned of a studio where Gary Barlow was recording. She submitted her demo CD “every day for six weeks” until Barlow finally listened to it. As he was instantly impressed, Kerslake promptly became Barlow’s first signing under his new label, Future Records.
Kerslake was born in Dulwich to a Welsh mother and New Zealand-born father. The family moved to New Zealand shortly after and lived there until returning to the United Kingdom eight years later. Kerslake “prides herself on her English/Welsh/Kiwi roots”. After attending Esher College, Kerslake sought singing lessons, but opted to sing contemporary as she could not afford classical training.
In 2008, after years of auditioning, Kerslake won a place in an all-girl pop group. She was initially selected, but was let go soon afterwards owing to their feeling that, at age twenty, she was too old. Motivated to try harder, she started performing in pubs and working men’s clubs as well as in an ABBA tribute band to finance her own classical singing lessons.
She currently dates the former captain of the England national rugby union team, Chris Robshaw.
In early 2009, Kerslake learned of a studio where Gary Barlow was recording. She submitted her demo CD “every day for six weeks” until Barlow finally listened to it. As he was instantly impressed, Kerslake promptly became Barlow’s first signing under his new label, Future Records.
Her first album, Camilla Kerslake, was released 23 November 2009. A song from this album, the Christian hymn “How Can I Keep from Singing?”, was featured in a 2009 Waitrose supermarket Christmas advert.
At the 2010 Classic Brit Awards Kerslake was nominated for NS&I album of the year, and her live performance from the ceremony, with classical boy band Blake and Howard Goodall’s Enchanted voices, was chosen to become the first ever charity single release from the awards.
Kerslake sang the United Kingdom’s national anthem at Wembley Stadium before the 2010 football League Cup final between Manchester United and Aston Villa.She sang “Abide with Me” at the Challenge Cup final between Leeds Rhinos and Warrington Wolves in 2010. Kerslake regularly provides the pre-match entertainment at Twickenham Stadium, having performed there a total of six times, both for international and premiership matches.
Camilla also performed the national anthem for the Queen’s arrival at The Derby in 2010] as well as two charity concerts for the royal family, one at Buckingham Palace for the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall and two at Windsor Castle for Prince Edward.
Following a West End run, Kerslake was forced to pull out of the Les Misérables 25th Anniversary Concert at The O2 Arena under doctor’s orders, owing to a throat infection. Katie Hall was selected to replace her. However, in November 2012 she appeared in two sold out-performances at the O2with tenor Andrea Bocelli.
Kerslake’s second album, Moments, was released on 21 March 2011 to critical acclaim.
in June 2011 Kerslake’s mother, Dr Deborah Kerslake, was diagnosed with breast cancer and Camilla suspended all non-charitable work commitments until Deborah was given the all clear in August 2012. Kerslake has since become an ambassador for The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and Breast Cancer Campaign.
Kerslake’s philanthropic work continued throughout 2013 with several appearances for Breakthrough Breast Cancer including a memorable performance at the Inspiration Awards for Women 2013.
After discovering the positive effect singing had on the mental well-being of cancer patients during her mother’s battle, Kerslake decided to form a choir of women directly affected by the disease, with some members still undergoing treatment. The 21 strong group, named the Sing to Beat Breast Cancer Choir, along with Kerslake and her longtime collaborators Blake, recorded a version of “You Raise Me Up” with the blessing of its lyricist Brendan Graham. All proceeds went to the Breast Cancer Campaign Kerslake joined Blake on their 20 date autumn tour to promote the single, which culminated with a moving performance at the pink ribbon ball for which the choir received a standing ovation. The group also performed on the breast cancer awareness special of TV show This Morning