She admits that renovations on the run-down property have ‘a long way to go’ (Picture: Shirlaine Forrest/WireImage)
Singer Charlotte Church, 35, on blowing her life savings, healing in nature and spending her teens at the White House.
What are you up to at the moment?
After the lockdowns I was so excited to be back in the world that I said yes to everything, so it was way too much.
I’ve had gigs, my TV show about creating a wellness centre at Rhydoldog and The Awen Project, which is the learning community I set up… the list goes on.
And then, with a little baba and two teenagers, I’m trying to juggle it all but not quite finding the balance. So now I know my limits, I won’t let it get like that again.
Rhydoldog is Laura Ashley’s old house and beautiful, but a shell…
It is amazing and will be brilliant once we’ve done all the work. I’d never really visited that part of central Wales before. A lot of south Walians tend to holiday in west Wales but this bit is so insanely beautiful.
It’s not very populated so it’s really wild. For me, it’s about the land and how we can transform it to make it into a permaculture heaven, where it’s pretty self-sufficient and a beacon of sustainable living, healing and working.
I’m so passionate about the sorts of experiences we can create there. But it’s a lot of work and we’ve got a long way to go.
The Welsh mansion was once owned by designer Laura Ashley (Picture: Really)
You were just looking for a bit of land but ended up spending all your life savings on it.
It was not part of the plan at all! But I’ve lived a charmed life, in many ways. I’ve not had to worry about money so the way I’m seeing it — when I’m in my most calm mind — is that it’s just a leveller.
Before working was more of a choice, I had the good fortune that I could take some time off to raise my babas.
Sometimes I’m like, what have I done? But I know when the centre opens it will change people’s lives. I’m here for the big healing and it’s going to feel good to be a part of it.
How much renovating have you done before?
I’ve bought two houses in my life and done them both up, so I’ve got a bit of experience.
I really enjoy design and aesthetics and creating beautiful spaces. As you get older, you allow your creativity to spill over into other areas of your life, whereas in your teens and twenties, you’re so self-conscious, with all that imposter syndrome, you think, ‘I can’t do this.’ Now I’m like, ‘F*** it, I’ll have a go!’
You say Rhydoldog has been part of your healing journey as well…
Life is painful. If you’re going to exist then you’re going to suffer, it’s part of the deal. It’s also part of the beauty when you can start to view it like that.
Charlotte’s daughter Ruby was keen on being there for filming (Picture: Charlotte Church/Instagram)
Did you have a big family discussion about you all being in your new documentary?
Absolutely. They’re youngsters, so they’re all over it. Everybody wants to be famous and everybody partly is because of social media.
My son, Dexter, isn’t so interested but Ruby would come for more of the filming days. Within our family life, we give them a lot of agency. So it was completely their choice.
What can you still not believe you’ve done?
All of it was wild. I was in and out of the White House during my adolescence, doing a Christmas show for the president here or an inauguration there.
Working with composer James Horner was incredible, as was singing with Placido Domingo. Singing for the Pope at the Vatican was really meaningful because I was raised a Catholic and my nan was there, who’d been a devout Catholic all her life. Going to the MTV Awards when I was 14 and presenting an award to Eminem was the coolest thing that could have happened at the time.
I did a duet with Wyclef Jean at his charity gig where there was Destiny’s Child, Mary J Blige, Eric Clapton and Stevie Wonder — hanging out backstage with all those people was mesmerising.
I did another benefit in Las Vegas for Andre Agassi with Robin Williams and Elton John. I was always in a state of wonder.
Charlotte performed with Elton John at a benefit Andre Agassi (Picture: Gregg Kemp)
Would you like to do more in the music world again?
I’d love to be involved in it for the rest of my life because it’s the best job ever. I really want to release an album in the next couple of years but if we open the retreat centre next year, that’s going to take a huge amount of my time and energy.
So I need to box clever about how I spend my time. I want to live as a wild woman in the woods as much as I can too and be present for all of my babies, friends and family. So it’s just being realistic about how that happens.
Does it feel different being a mum again now you’re older?
It’s massively different from being a parent in your early twenties. Everything’s still chaotic, especially with a life and background like mine.
My family has not been simple so it was challenging. But I always loved it, motherhood suited me down to the ground and felt really natural.
I loved being pregnant, breastfeeding and raising my babies. I think we’re probably doing a better job this time around just because you know more about yourself.
Charlotte Church’s Dream Build is on Really and Discovery+ on Tuesdays