Hayley Westenra Releases 'Pure' On July 17th In NZ

Monday, 30 June 2003, 2:12 pm
Press Release: Universal Music NZ

“The first time I met her in New Zealand, I saw this tiny little girl and I thought wow! This voice came out and it was incredible. The only word that I can use to describe it is angelic. I think she’s a little phenomenon!” (Russell Watson)

True talent is indefinable. A voice like Hayley Westenra's can be nurtured and guided through maturity, but its source belongs to nature. It is this remarkable voice that caught the attention of Costa Pilavachi, President of Decca Records International. His verdict was simple, “Hayley Westenra is a star!”

After her remarkable early success in New Zealand, Hayley signed with Decca Records International in London, who in September 2003 will introduce New Zealand’s brightest young star to the world. Decca are the world’s largest classical label and home to greats such as Andrea Bocelli, Pavarotti and Russell Watson.

Hayley’s debut international album “Pure” is released first in New Zealand on July 17th, closely followed by its Australian release on July 21st. The UK, the US and Asia release in September and October of 2003 and other territories will be releasing the album in early 2004.

Hayley has broken new artistic ground in her choice of songs for “Pure”. "Before, I was singing show tunes and light classical music. It was all one genre, whereas now I've got a lot more variety. I'm going to more extremes with proper classical pieces and poppier songs. Making this album has broadened the way I sing; I've developed different singing styles."

Hayley sees herself as primarily a classical performer, but she does not wish to put herself into a stylistic corner, and on “Pure” she explores the worlds of pop, traditional Maori choral singing, and gives a new freshness to well-known classical repertoire. The album's producer Giles Martin enrolled a number of people to help Hayley achieve this, including his father, legendary Beatles producer Sir George Martin, all of whom contributed in achieving the album's unique appeal.

Hayley was discovered busking with her younger sister Sophie in her hometown of Christchurch in 2000. The young buskers’ fan was a journalist with a local television station and Hayley soon appeared on air. The appearance captured the attention of concert promoter Gray Bartlett, and a deal with Universal Music New Zealand soon followed.

Hayley's self-titled debut recording for Universal featured an eclectic mix of show music and classical pieces; it went straight in at No.1 in the pop charts (where it remained for four weeks), turned triple platinum and made Hayley the fastest-selling local artist in New Zealand's history. This was soon followed by the Christmas album "My Gift To You".

2003 has already been an amazing year for Hayley, recording her album in London with Giles and Sir George Martin as well as performing at the Classical Brit Awards in May with Aled Jones. The months ahead look even more remarkable for Hayley. "If I could be anyone in the world, I'd actually choose to be me, where I am right now, because I'm so excited about what I'm doing and I'm loving it totally. It's incredible; the opportunities I've been given. I really didn't expect this to happen", she says with wide-eyed wonder. "It is amazing how one thing leads to another."

'Pure' is released July 17th in New Zealand.



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