Westenra showcases her mix of music
generation has had its child stars. From Judy
Garland to Michael Jackson and Charlotte Church,
they must have been born singing. No different
for Hayley Westenra, the latest 'angel-voiced'
teenager to hit the spotlight.
New Zealander, who will be performing in a showcase
today, wowed audiences at school when a teacher
told her parents that their little one was pitch
perfect and should be encouraged. Westenra didn't
need much cajoling, taking to the violin, piano
and several other instruments with gusto. She
took part in musical theatre productions and cut
being spotted while busking with sister Sophie,
and put on television, Westenra released a few
albums that sent her soaring to the top of the
New Zealand charts. When her talent was spotted
by Universal Music, her blossoming career was
put in the hands of Sir George and Giles Martin.
Sir George, who made the Beatles sound great,
and son helped make Westenra quite a voice to
be reckoned with.
first international album, Pure, tosses up a mix
of material - from classical to traditional Maori
and pop - and Westenra is keen on furthering the
classical-crossover category. 'It's important
to try different things,' reckons the 16-year-old
who bubbles with teenage excitement.
photogenic linguist - she's learning French, Italian
and German - is revelling in the limelight and
is enjoying the jet-setting ways of the international
performer, complete with tutor.
most teenagers, there is a sense of longing for
familiarity while on the road, but that passes
quickly when the pace picks up. 'I definitely
want to do this. When I was younger, I always
enjoyed singing, but never expected this would
happen. It's a dream come true,' she enthuses.
The mix of music has helped to keep things interesting
for Westenra. By blending a largely classical
repertoire with some sophisticated pop fare, Westenra
is aiming for a long-haul career.
her talent has seen her performing with Russell
Watson, and soon with Jose Carreras, at Bryn Terfel's
Faenol Festival in Wales. Westenra is the first
to admit there's lots to learn on the road ahead.
'There's lots more pressure to do well. People
are relying on me to do well. I can't let them
News Menu 2003