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hayley westenra interview

Hayley Westenra's new album ODYSSEY was always going to be a different proposition to PURE, the record-breaking 2003 collection which marked her international debut. A lot has happened to the young New Zealander over the past two or three years - and those changes are clearly reflected by a record which encapsulates her growth from a budding teenage prodigy into a mature young woman.

How did you get into the entertainment biz?
Right from when I was little I was always singing around the house. When I was six, my teacher at school noticed that I could sing and gave me a solo in my end-of-year school play! I then started to go in local musicals like 'Annie' and 'The Sound of Music' -I loved being up on stage and really enjoyed the whole 'show biz' experience! It was a lot of fun. I would also go busking (street performing) with my younger sister Sophie and the money that I earned from that ended up paying for a demo cd I made. My Mum and Dad helped me send off some copies to record companies and Universal Music New Zealand heard it and signed me up when I was 13 years old. I was very lucky.

What's your favorite piece of music and why?
That's a tough one! There is so much fantastic music out there and my musical tastes are so varied! There is a traditional Maori song (maori is New Zealand's native language) called 'Pokarekare Ana' which I recorded for my album 'Pure'. It's my favourite piece to perform because it gives me an opportunity to introduce a piece of my heritage to the audience.

What do you like most about being a musician?
It's such a creative field and really gives you an opportunity to express yourself.

Was there ever a time in your life where you didn't feel like you were going to make it to where you are today?
There were times when I thought to myself, "who are you kidding?! You come from a small city, in a small country, miles away from the hub of the entertainment scene and you think you're going to make it??!" -Fortunately I had a bit of self-belief to overide those thoughts!

If you could play with any musical artists, from the present or past, who would be at your dream session?
I've already performed and recorded with one of my musical heroes, Andrea Bocelli (he sings 'Dellamore Non Si Sa' with me on my album 'Odyssey'). His album was the first I ever bought. Performing with Pavorotti would be unbelievable and it would be pretty cool jamming with the likes of Joni Mitchell, Stevie Wonder, Loreena McKennit...that would make a very interesting mix!

If you weren't a musician, what occupation would you most likely have?
I can't even imagine my life without music! If I was pushed to pursue something 'non-music realted' though I would probably delve into natural health research...I find it quite fascinating.

Do you have any brothers or sisters?
Yes, I have a sister, Sophie, who's 15yrs and a brother, Isaac, who's 12yrs. They're both very talented. I really miss them! I can't wait to see my sister who's flying over to spend some time with me in London during her school break!

What are/were your favorite activities in school?
Well, surprisingly, I didn't always enjoy my music classes! I found music theory to be pretty boring! I had a great teacher one year for Science and he really inspired the whole class. I wish all my teachers had been like that! In my lunch break, I'd go indoor-rockclimbing in our gymnasium. That was a lot of fun.

What makes you happy?
I'm happy when the people I love are happy. I'm very close to my family and I care about them so much.

Do you do any sports or have any extra-curricular hobbies?
I don't really have time for much else other than music. I love getting out amongst nature whenever I get the chance and swimming in the ocean (preferably in a warm climate!) as well as trekking through the wilderness. It's great for your state of mind!

What's your favorite junk food?
Mmmm...anything chocolate!!

Do you have a signature flirting trick for catching guys' attention?
A sweet smile in his direction won't do any harm! Forget the 'play hard to get' idea too...he needs to know you're interested. I'd say, casually start up a conversation with him and cross your fingers you have some common interests!

Who is your celebrity crush?
Jake Gyllenhaal seems very sweet and isn't bad lookin' either!

Since you're doing an interview with Myjellybean.com - what's your favorite kind of jelly: jellybeans, jelly in a jar, or jelly bears?
Defintely the classic jellybean. They're hard to beat. :)

listen to Hayley's new song
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credits : Caite Cocker US Correspondent  
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