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, New Zealand born Hayley is 23 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 enthuses of her latest album, “when I listen back to the recordings, I see my voice is fuller now and the range has changed and there’s a difference in tone and quality.
“With this album I feel I’ve grown a lot musically and I had a lot more to put into it emotionally. But the bottom line is I was working with a musical genius whose arrangements are out of this world and I had the opportunity to put lyrics to his amazing melodies.”