The three years since the release of Hayley Westenra’s debut international album “Pure” have been a whirlwind. Along with her second album “Odyssey” she has achieved combined sales of over three million albums around the world making her a household name in many countries and breaking umpteen records along the way. ‘Pure’ is still the fastest-selling classical album in the history of the UK charts and Hayley is also the best-selling classical artist in Japan. Probably most important of all, ‘Pure’ is the best-selling album of all time in New Zealand. It also made the top 10 national pop charts in 11 countries. Even more significant is that the young soprano achieved all of this before her 19th birthday.
Despite all of this success, Hayley still remains the same unaffected down-to-earth girl from Christchurch, New Zealand (where her family from Monaghan travelled on a maiden voyage from Ireland in 1848). Even though she has an incredibly busy schedule, she still finds time to dedicate a great deal of energy to her role as the youngest Unicef Ambassador in the world. Her time in Ghana inspired her to initiate her own UNICEF ‘Bikes For Ghana’ campaign.
She also has a deep interest in music therapy and is patron of the Raukaturi Music Therapy Centre in Auckland. The Centre uses the Nordoff Robbins method in using music as therapy for children with autism and other severe physical, intellectual and emotional disabilities. Hayley has appeared on both the BBC in the UK and CNN in the US with her own news features aimed at raising awareness in the benefits of music therapy. Coincidentally, in a recent survey on music therapy by a British Medical Journal, Hayley’s voice was described as having the most “calming and therapeutic quality ” of all music tested (including Mozart!).
She requires a quite different quality in her voice when she performs at any of the numerous sporting events around the World, which have included football (the FA Cup Final, in The Champions League for Celtic) baseball (the NBA in the US), Tennis (The Mercedes Cup in Los Angeles) and what is her proudest duty, singing the New Zealand anthem for her beloved All Blacks rugby team before their victories over the British Lions, Wales and England.
Hayley is in great demand as a duet partner and has sung with, among others, Jose Carreras, Bryn Terfel and Andrea Bocelli and recently toured with Il Divo . PBS recorded an hour long ‘Great Performances’ TV Special in New Zealand last year. It was whilst recording another TV Special in Canada with Andrea Bocelli that Hayley saw the first Celtic Woman Special and became an immediate fan .Although currently in the middle of recording her third album , she jumped at the chance when invited to join the Celtic Woman project .
More information about Hayley can be obtained on her website www.hayleywestenra.com