Interview: Cerys Matthews talks to the Welwyn Hatfield Times

Former Catatonia frontwoman Cerys Matthews talks to the Welwyn Hatfield Times about her new album, being Welsh, Luton Town Football Club and why St Albans is a special place

CERYS Matthews is a lot of things - singer, former reality TV star, soon-to-be mother of three - but it's impossible to ignore her most striking feature; her Welshness.

Despite having spent years living away from her native Wales, the former frontwoman of 90s indie darlings Catatonia has not forgotten her roots.

"I've got a base in Wales," she says, in her unmistakable Welsh brogue. "And my children go to a Welsh school in London, so it feels like I haven't really left.

"I like the high octane life in the city, but I like to go back to Wales and just be one of the locals too. It's important for me to have that balance."


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When we speak, former I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! contestant Cerys has just finished recording her last show on BBC Radio 6 Music before embarking on a two-week tour through

England and Wales to promote her first record in two years, Don't Look Down.

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A Welsh version of the same album, which translates as Paid Edrych I Lawr, has been released simultaneously, and topped the charts in Wales in its first week.

"It's never been done before," says Cerys, on her new, bilingual record. "I released a mini album in 2007 entirely in Welsh.

"I really enjoyed that, so I decided to do a simultaneous release in Welsh and English. It's on my own record label [Rainbow City Records], and having my own label allows me to make the big decisions and do what I want."

Her 11-date tour takes in one evening at the Alban Arena in St Albans, and the 40-year-old said she could not wait for her stint at the venue.

"I've never played there before, and I'm really looking forward to it," she says.

"It's a gorgeous theatre, and St Albans is becoming a very familiar and special place for me and my family.

"I've spent a lot of time travelling through that area because I'm a big Luton fan."

Ah yes, Luton Town Football Club. If you didn't already know, Cerys is the latest recruit to the Hatters' cause, following in the footsteps of Eric Morecambe and TV presenter Nick Owen, now the club's chairman.

She started following the team through her partner, Steve Abbott, a life-long Luton fan, and she was at Wembley to see the Bedfordshire side win the Johnstone's Paint Trophy in April.

"My son's going to be a Luton fan, whether he likes it or not!" she says.

Speaking of her children, Cerys is currently expecting a third child, her and Steve's first, in January.

How does pregnancy and touring, two very different but punishing regimes, work together?

"It's fine. Rosanne Cash used to do it all the time," Cerys dismisses. "Touch wood everything will go to plan. It's not like I'm going to be performing any highwire stunts.

"Anyone coming to my show shouldn't expect any trapezes!"

* Cerys plays the Alban Arena this Friday, October 23. Tickets are still available. Visit www.cerysmatthews.co.uk for more information.

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