'Pure' star at 17
Hayley Westenra (AP photo)
singers are hotter names right now than Hayley Westenra,
the New Zealand 17-year-old sensation who makes her
U.S. orchestral debut with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra
and conductor Andrew Sewell at tonight's Concert on
the Square at 7.
sold 2 million copies of her first two CDs (the latest
titled "Pure"), Westenra has developed an
international following for her charming yet soulful
crossover versions of classical music as well as for
the native Maori music of her homeland.
WCO reports getting calls from people in Minnesota
and Michigan planning to attend tonight's concert
because of Westenra, who will sing arrangements of
Bach, Gounod, Vivaldi and Ravel as well as a Maori
song. (University of Wisconsin tenor James Doing will
also appear in a program that includes music by Andrew
Lloyd-Webber and Tchaikovsky's "Capriccio Italien.")
who has toured Europe and the Pacific, recently spoke
to The Capital Times about her Madison appearance
from Ottawa, Canada, where she just finished performing
in a "Lord of the Rings" concert tour:
a youngster, you played piano and violin as well as
sang. Do you come from a musical family?
younger brother and sister are musical, too. They
both have gorgeous voices, but I don't know if they
will pursue music or not. My dad and mom are musical,
but it comes more from my grandparents. My one grandma
was a great singer and my grandfather could play any
instrument by ear. So it's definitely in the blood.
known for doing crossover music that combines classical
music with pop music. Do you have a preference?
love both. That's why I chose such a range of different
styles. I didn't want to restrict myself. That's why
I couldn't give up one or the other. I love classical
makes life interesting to switch between the two.
There's something on my albums for everyone. People
who usually don't like one kind of music or the other
find my music opens them up to new things.
does singing and performing make you feel?
very fulfilling. You get this amazing electricity
from the audience. That's what I enjoy most. It's
an amazing feeling, making other people feel happy
my U.S. orchestral debut is going to be so much fun.
I don't really know the conductor. By my management
told me about him and I'm really keen to doing anything
with another Kiwi.
do you think people find so appealing in your voice
and your interpretations?
really don't know. I think it's a mixture of everything.
Maybe it's just that both my voice and my music sound
pretty clean and pure. It's quite relaxing and chilled-out
fact that I come from New Zealand may have something
to do with it. That makes me different and kind of
are your new projects?
just finished filming an episode of "American
Dreams." After Madison, I go to New York and
New Jersey, where I will make a PBS show that will
air in the fall. I'm learning how to play the guitar,
which is so portable, so one day I can accompany myself.
also writing songs as well as looking for new ones
to record. Ideally I'd like to have a little more
input into the writing of the songs. The lyrics are
the most important part. I've struggled to find ones
I can really relate to. They have to come directly
from me. I have a notebook next to the bed in case
I come up with something.
enjoy writing songs. It's fun, but the hardest part
is showing your ideas to someone else. Then you feel
lot of recent entertainers in America have come from
Australia and New Zealand, including opera singer
Kiri Te Kanawa; movie director Peter Jackson of "Lord
of the Rings"; actors Mel Gibson, Russell Crowe,
Nicole Kidman and Guy Pearce. Why are they such hot
names? What about them appeals to Americans?
are just very curious because we're tucked away at
the bottom of the world. People have become a lot
more aware about us.
I love it in America. There's so much happening here.
I was so impressed with New York and Los Angeles.
Plus, the people here are lovely and friendly, just
like New Zealanders and Australians.
perform here before about 10,000 people. Do you get
always get a little bit nervous, but just a bit. But
I've been performing for quite a while, since I was
6 when I sang my first solo at a Christmas concert.
So I'm used to it. It feels pretty natural being up
you still have to get used to the traveling, the planes
and the changes in time zones. It's a lot of wear
and tear on your body. Especially for a singer, the
wear and tear shows up in your voice.
only 17 and already a worldwide phenomenon. Do you
plan to go to college or pursue other training?
pretty happy to continue to sing. I just want to make
the most of this amazing opportunity. Further down
I may decide to get a degree. But ideally I'd just
like to continue performing, although I would like
to do some serious study of singing. But I want to
continue performing for the rest of my life, if I
can do that.
8:05 AM 7/28/04
to Roger Mansbridge for forwarding the link to this
2004 The Capital Times
Posted for discussion and information - Not for reproduction
without permission of the originating site