|Wed 23 Nov 2011, 7:30pm–10:00pm|
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New Zealand’s biggest selling artist of all time, Hayley Westenra, announces she will be returning home in November to celebrate 10 fabulous years since her career began.
Her “Paradiso” 10th Anniversary Homecoming Tour – her first NZ tour in four years - will be a very special tribute to the success she has enjoyed over the past decade as well as to her greatest supporters, New Zealanders!
Now 24, the superstar soprano has become a favourite of the Royal Family and Presidents and has the added distinction of the fastest selling international debut album in the history of the UK classical charts.
She has toured internationally with some of the biggest names on the planet. For some years now, after six album releases, she has headlined her own show worldwide.
For the young lady who has already accumulated a lifetime of memorable experiences, this homecoming tour of NZ is special - only 10 concerts in 10 cities November 15-29.
There’s something about Hayley Westenra’s voice. It’s not just a beautiful voice. It’s a voice that moves you, gets inside of you because you feel it’s coming from a woman who has felt everything – love, joy, anger, despair – the whole range and then some.
It soars and swoops as much as it ever did on her first international Number 1 album Pure, released in 2003 when she was just 15. Now, Hayley is 24 and the pureness of her tone is edged with experience, confidence and power.
The catalyst for her staggering development was working on her latest album in Rome with legendary film composer Ennio Morricone and his orchestra.
She says, “I spent the whole of last year working on it. I’m happy with the input on so many different levels. He really got involved with me, directing me and getting the best performance out of me. I found that invaluable. I’m really happy with the album.”
Westenra speaks with poise. Her looks are striking. Her face has an openness, the beauty of a 1940s pin-up. A girl who has just become a woman. And the album marks this transition. “There’s been a lot going on since I got my first record contract. Then I only knew a few songs from the musicals I did when I was a kid and a few Andrea Bocelli tracks.”
Hayley left New Zealand aged 14 when she was signed internationally by Universal Records in the UK. This meant spending months at a time in the Britain, being supervised by one parent at a time. They alternated looking after her younger brother and sister back in Christchurch. “Looking back it was tough on both my parents. My Dad gave up his job, it was proving too much.”
Pure became the fastest selling international debut album in the history of the UK classical charts. Proceeding albums Odyssey (2005), Treasure (2007) and River of Dreams: The Very Best of Hayley Westenra (2008) – all showcased her sensational voice and won her international acclaim, selling over four million copies worldwide to date.
“Over the years I’ve learnt more and more about music and my interpretation of the music is different. I suppose I’m digging deeper and deeper in myself and putting more out there rather than just singing a song – it’s no longer singing without any life experience.”
After all, she has sung for such luminaries as George W. Bush and Tony Blair, has been personal songbird to Her Majesty The Queen four times and has sung for both Princes William and Harry.
Hayley has also performed at many prestigious sporting events, including football (the FA Cup Final), baseball (the MLB in the US), tennis (the Mercedes Cup in Los Angeles) and rubgy, with her proudest duty - singing the New Zealand national anthem in support of her much-loved All Blacks rugby team.
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