Cerys Elizabeth Matthews, MBE was born in Cardiff on April 11th, 1969, her family moving to Swansea when she was seven. She learned to play the guitar at the age of eight, teaching herself traditional folk songs. She is fluent in Spanish and French, along with English and Welsh. She was also a nanny in Spain where she learned to speak Catalan.
She was a founder member of the pop group Catatonia in 1992, co-writing “You’ve Got a Lot to Answer For”, “Mulder and Scully”, “Dead From the Waist Down” and “Road Rage”. She also played guitar on most of the early tracks before Owen Powell joined the band. Matthews was voted the “Sexiest Female in Rock” in a 1999 readers’ poll in Melody Maker. After four albums, “Way Beyond Blue”, “International Velvet”, “Equally Cursed And Blessed” and “Paper Scissors Stone”, Catatonia split in 2001.
Cerys moved to Nashville, Tennessee in 2002 and recorded her debut solo album, “Cockahoop” which was released in the UK in 2003. Whilst recording the album she met Seth Riddle, whom she married in February 2003 (in Pembrokeshire). In 2006 she toured the UK and Ireland to promote her second solo album, “Never Said Goodbye” (the first release on her own label, Rainbow City). She headlined Cardiff’s Big Weekend festival the same year as well as undertaking a short acoustic Welsh tour that November, before returning to Nashville for Christmas.
Matthews appeared on the 2007 series of ITV’s “I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!”, which aired in November 2007 (she fourth with Christopher Biggins winning that year). She won the “Contemporary Composition” award in the National Eisteddfod for her Welsh mini-album “Awyren = Aeroplane” (the first time this had been awarded since 1936). In 2007 she laos became Vice-President of the Welsh homelessness charity Shelter Cymru. She released English and Welsh versions of her next CD “Don’t Look Down” (the Welsh version being called “Paid Edrych i Lawr”) in October 2009. It was recorded in Providence, Rhode Island, Nashville, Seattle and London and was followed by a two week UK tour.
In 2010, she released her third solo album, “Tir” (Welsh for ‘land’), a collection of traditional Welsh songs including “Calon Lân”, Cwm Rhondda, Migldi-Magldi (a duet with Bryn Terfel), Sosban Fach and Myfanwy. Her fourth solo album “Explorer” was released in 2011 which was inspired by the music she heard on her travels around the world. The whole album was recorded over seven days.
In 2014 she co-founded a new interactive festival The Good Life Experience with Charlie and Caroline Gladstone. This is held every September on the Gladstone Estate in Hawarden, Flintshire.
Matthews won a prestigious ‘St David Award’ for her contribution to culture in 2014 (run by the Welsh government). She was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2014 Birthday Honours for services to music. She currently lives in London with her husband Steve Abbott and her three children..
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