Hayley takes her success in her stride


Christchurch Star - Wednesday December 17 2003

Even teen singing sensations need their mum.

Speaking to the Christchurch Star from London, Hayley Westenra said the support of her mother, Jill, had been crucial in the past few months as the young star negotiated an exhausting round of interviews, performances and media appearances.

Mum still tells me when to hang out the washing and tidy my room. She still gives me a hard time.

Crammed into a schedule designed to promote the young star's new album, Pure has been a performance for George Bush on his state visit, in front of the Queen at the Royal Variety Show, and a billing alongside tenor Jose Carreras at the Royal Albert Hall. Westenra's schedule was so busy, the Star was given strict instructions to stick to a 10 minute time limit by her New Zealand publicists. The 16 year old was more than happy to talk past her allotted time, however, even though it was past 10pm in London.

She said dealing with the pressures of the record company Decca's expectations was simply part of the life of a professional singer.

"I guess I'd be annoyed if was just sitting around and no-one wanted to call and talk to me about the album and everything, so I can't really complain.

Between promo stuff, radio interviews, concerts, TV and magazines it can be pretty busy,"

Westenra's album made history after its release in July when it achieved higher sales in its first week of release than any other classical album. The album went straight to the top of the classical charts and has sold more than 500.000 copies in the UK.

It has sold 100,000 copies in New Zealand, and stayed at the top of the New Zealand album charts for more than three months.

Westenra's public profile has been growing in Britain, although she was barely known there when her album made its first appearance in July.

She said she enjoyed meeting the English, who seemed intrigued by the fact she was a New Zealander, and always wanted  to hear renditions of the Maori classic Pokarekare Ana.

"They really appreciate that song. They seem to find it quite mystical," she said.    Westenra said she was looking forward to seeing family, especially her brother ,Isaac and sister, Sophie and friends in New Zealand for Christmas, which she would spend in Timaru.

The Christmas break will be a brief respite for Westenra, who starts an international tour in January that includes performances in New Zealand in February.

Thanks to Belinda H for this item.


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