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Cerys Matthews - Biography

The Catatonia singer was born in April 1969

Cerys Matthews smiling while attending the Chelsea Flower Show on May 23, 2022 in London© Getty Images
Hannah Watkin
Content Writer
Updated: August 17, 2023
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Early life

Cerys Matthews was born on 11 April 1969 in Cardiff. The second of her parents' four children, the future Catatonia star was brought up in Swansea and speaks fluent Welsh. Her family moved to Pembrokeshire and then Dorset as she grew up. 

Cerys first showed signs of her musical talents aged nine when she learned to play the guitar, teaching herself Welsh and Irish folk songs, and blues music. After leaving school she spent time working as a nanny in Spain - where she learned to speak Spanish and Catalan - before she eventually moved back to Cardiff. 

Career with Catatonia

It was in the Welsh capital that Cerys met her future-boyfriend Mark Roberts, with whom she formed Catatonia in 1992. The band enjoyed phenomenal success in the 90s, with Cerys' husky vocals and confident persona making her an instant sex symbol as well as popular musician. 

Among their hits were 'Road Rage', 'Mulder and Scully' and 'You've Got a Lot to Answer For', all of which Cerys helped write. Not long after the release of their fourth album in 2001 the group disbanded after Cerys and Mark split up.


After finishing playing with Catatonia, Cerys began working on a solo singing career. She released her first album, Cockahoop, in 2003. Her second album, Never Said Goodbye followed in 2006.

In 2007 the singer surprised fans by announcing she would be entering the jungle in reality show I'm A Celebrity: Get Me Out of Here, saying she felt compelled to do it "just to see exactly how it feels". Since the 2010s, Cerys has worked as a presenter for the BBC (both on TV and radio) at music events including Glastonbury, plus has presented documentaries on topics such as the singer Dorothy Squires.

Personal life

After her split from her former bandmate, Cerys found love again with Nashville-based music producer Seth Riddle and relocated to the US town to make her first solo album and build a life with him. The couple married and had two children, Glenys Pearl Y-Felin and Johnny Tupelo Jones, but the union broke down and Cerys returned to Wales with the children. 

In 2011 she married her manager, Steve Abbott. They tied the knot at the Tabernacle Welsh Baptist Chapel in Cardiff.

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