Christina Johnston interview

 A feature from the June 2016 issue of Suffolk Norfolk Life magazine
Suffolk Norfolk Life June 2016Click to view this issue »
Stephanie Mackentyre meets the coloratura soprano

At just 29, Christina is yet another brilliant singing sensation sired from the Framlingham stable of vocal talent. However, she was the first. Older than Ed Sheeran and Laura Wright, she and Laura also both attended Framlingham College. “I used to sing a lot with Laura as we are only two years apart. However, I didn’t know Ed but my family do know Ed’s parents. I’d like to think Laura and I have inspired each other. She’s more of a cross-over artist and I’m more classical.” I asked Christina what she thought was the reason for so much singing success originating from Framlingham? “It does seem to have some really talented people. I’d say Framlingham College is very good at nurturing and spotting talent. Certainly when I first went there, they really pushed me and gave me lots of opportunities to get me to sing as a soloist. The music teacher there at the time was Rob Goodrich. He did concerts outside the school too, and he encouraged me to take part. That experience at an early age gave me confidence and the ability.” Interestingly it was fate which brought Christina to Framlingham College. “My parents were going to send me to Brandeston, which is where Ed (Sheeran) schooled. At just three years old I was a bit of a handful and they didn’t take children there till they were four, so I went to Amberfield. The Head of Music at Amberfield School told my parents I was going to be an opera singer and they laughed. My father always wanted me to go to Framlingham College. Sadly he died when I was 11, and around that time I was having trouble with some bullies at Amberfield so my mum and I set about trying to find a new school for me. Just as I was thinking where to go a leaflet came through the door for Framlingham College, saying they had an open day. It was almost as if my dad was still looking out for me.”

At Framlingham College Christina became friends with Henry Dunham, as he was a musician and his best friend was Slava – a Russian student who joined the college to learn English. “We were all 13 when we met and if you’d told me at 13 I was going to marry Slava I wouldn’t have believed it! He wasn’t into music at all; he was into Mathematics. Our paths never crossed except that he was Henry’s friend and they would walk me to school each day.” However, the couple met again on New Year’s Eve 2009 when they were both 22. “We met at a party and we just clicked, so much so that 10 months later we were married.” Slava’s family business is in Prague and so the couple settled there after their wedding.

Read the full article in the June 2016 issue of Suffolk Norfolk Life Magazine
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