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Review 03 - By Rachael Grunwell - 30 September 2001

"Westenra sounds on song for major record deal!"

The head of a major international record label has met teenage singing sensation Hayley Westenra and discussed recording an album.

The Sunday Star-Times has been told the head of Decca Records loved Westenra, 14, and an album deal could be finalised by the end of the year.

Decca Records is a leading classical music label based in Britain and the United States. The company has released albums with stars including Luciano Pavarotti and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa. Westenra is recording her second album for Universal and spent three days recording half the songs at the Corelli School of Music's studio.

The album will feature a selection of Christmas, favourite and original songs such as Silent Night, Pokarekareana, Somewhere Over the Rainbow and a Boh Runga song All I Have to Give. It will be released in November.

"I'm still in shock that I'm doing another album," Westenra said. "But I'm really enjoying singing and inspiring other children."

She said the new album was a family affair with her sister Sophie, 11 and also a soprano, joining her on the song Greensleeves. The Burnside High School student hopes the album will be as popular as the first, a disc of modern and show songs, which went triple platinum with 54,000 sales.

She also recently had a sold-out nationwide tour in six centres.

Dame Malvina Major, who is helping Westenra with her technique once a week, said she did not know what the future held for Hayley and that her voice could change. But she was doing the right thing by making the most of every moment.

"She's a very talented young lady. She's got a special sound, a very true sound," she said.

Auckland's Corelli School of Music principal David Selfe, a producer of the album, said there were also plans for the Christchurch teenager to perform concerts in the US next year.

~ Rachael Grunwell ~

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