22 September 2003
Top spot: Hayley Westenra's first-week album sales beat those of Charlotte Church

Hayley is all-time fastest classic seller

By Luke Leitch, Arts Reporter, Evening Standard

A 16-year-old girl smashed records today with the fastest-selling debut album in the history of the British classical charts.

The UK release by New Zealander Hayley Westenra has beaten previous first-week sales from Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli, Charlotte Church and Russell Watson, her record company said.

Pure has shot straight to number eight in the British pop chart and to the top spot in the UK classical charts. The soprano has sold 19,068 albums this week, toppling the previous record of around 18,500 notched up by Church, according to the Universal label.

Westenra was discovered busking in Christchurch, New Zealand, at the age of 11.

She was snapped up by Universal, home to acts including Sir Elton John, for a five-album £3million deal.

She said: "This is amazing, unbelievable, made all the sweeter by the fact I'm living in London and loving every minute."

Universal classics and jazz spokeswoman Linda Valentine said: "We are absolutely delighted that Hayley has broken this record and achieved such phenomenal success. We never doubted her."


Link thanks to John Armstrong - via Keith S


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