At 17, a modest success
soprano Hayley Westenra is an international star.
DAILY NEWS FEATURE WRITER
Hayley Westenra hasn't bared an inch of skin to become
a chart-topping teen singer.
"I'm not into clothes that are too revealing,"
says the modest 17-year-old soprano, whose pop-tinged
album "Pure" made classical charts this week.
little skin is okay as long as it's tastefully done,
but I wouldn't really be into the whole Britney thing.
don't have any desire to go down that road just yet.
I'm quite happy with my image."
who's prone to lilting laughter as she speaks in a rapid
New Zealand twang, has built a career on her voice,
not her body.
teacher discovered her perfect pitch when Westenra was
6 years old and singing in a school play. Piano, violin
and recorder lessons followed, as did performances in
musical theater and "busking" on the streets
of her hometown of Christchurch with younger sister
coins earned from the sidewalk hustle helped pay for
a self-recorded demo at age 12, which led to an album
at 14 and a Christmas CD soon after.
is her third album and first international release.
Josh Groban and Charlotte Church - more classic than
classical - Westenra's sweet, soaring melodies include
a mix of pop-styled arias and folk; she also does a
cover of Kate Bush's hit "Wuthering Heights."
album has already sat atop New Zealand's chart for 18
weeks (the longest ever by a local performer), and has
reached No. 1 in the U.K.
had experiences where I've gone to parties and people
are like, 'Oh, you're that classical singer? Wow, I
thought you'd be really stuck up,' " says Westenra,
who's finishing her last year of high school with a
fact, she's down to earth. The singer has a $4.5 million
record deal with the Decca Music Group, but she isn't
hitting the Prada racks. Instead, she's using the money
to support her family, because her father, a gemologist,
has had to interrupt his career to travel with her.
seems somewhat shocked by herself if she splurges on
a pair of designer denims. "Before, I would be
like, 'No way. I don't need them. I can get jeans for
a lot cheaper,' " she says.
now it's like, 'Ohhhhhh, I can get one pair.' Then I
think of the price - it's like …whoa."
will make New York her home for the next few months.
She'll be busy recording a song for the DVD "Mulan
2," practicing for a PBS "Great Performances"
special and a doing a guest spot on NBC's "American
miss being at home with my friends and having the routine,"
says Westenra, who also admits that being on the road
leaves her no time for dating.
just hope I can make it back in time for my school ball
from New York Daily News, Entertainment Section