Tuesday, 23 September 2003
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Now Hayley is bigger than Pavarotti


PURE DELIGHT: Teenage New Zealand singer Hayley Westenra is loving every minute of her British success.
ROB KITCHIN/Dominion Post

Pure, Hayley Westenra's debut international album, has notched first-week sales that surpass even the great Luciano Pavarotti.

The Christchurch golden girl has achieved yet another milestone in her music career, breaking the record for the fastest-selling debut album in the history of the British classical charts.

The 16-year-old prodigy has outdone popular household names such as Pavarotti, Charlotte Church, and Andrea Bocelli.

Pure is No. 8 on the United Kingdom pop charts and No. 1 on the classical charts in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.

Speaking from London last night, Westenra told The Press her achievement was still sinking in.

"I don't think anyone realised it was possible that we would break a record," she said. "I was so nervous over the last few days."

The demands on her time had become huge, but Westenra said the attention was exciting.

"It's better than no-one wanting to know about you," she said.

Westenra was proud to laud New Zealand when asked about her roots. "New Zealand is a great place. I'm very proud to be a Kiwi."

Westenra's promotions agent, Gerhard Simanke, said the British thought Hayley was a real sweetheart.

"From the look of the charts and the speed of her success, they seem to have really taken to her. She has a very pure voice and she's not over-promoted or commercialised, which makes her more natural."

Westenra has just performed with Jose Carreras and Bryn Terfel in Wales, and will make her UK solo debut at the Royal Albert Hall in December. She has been invited to appear on Michael Parkinson's show, due to screen in the UK at Christmas.

  Link thanks to Keith S. 


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