Hayley Westenra (born 1987) is a classical crossover
singer from New Zealand
. She started performing at 6 years old; had her first professional album cut at 12; and released an international CD (Pure
) at 16. The rest of her recording career mainly consists of the words "gold", "platinum", "award" and "fundraiser" repeated over and over.
Apart from her voice - a description of which usually includes the words "clear", "bell" and "angel" - Hayley is notable for her near-constant touring/gigging (according to her calender, she now has enough air-miles to buy Bolivia), and her charity work: A UNICEF ambassador since before she could vote, she tends to gravitate towards children and returned servicemen but is liable to veer off towards Welsh air-ambulances and earthquake victims at the drop of a hat (Or the drop of a chimney, if you live in Christchurch
Initially focusing on covers, she has started developing as a lyricist (many of the Paradiso
lyrics were penned by Hayley) and full-on songsmith (The Treasure
tracks "Let me Lie" and "Summer Rain" and all hers).
During the 2011 rugby
world cup, Hayley's covers of "World in Union" (English
) effectively replaced "God Defend New Zealand"/"Aotearoa" as the New Zealand national anthem(s). Earlier, several of her songs were licensed for use in the Wii
game Endless Ocean
Has been a Sixth Ranger
of Celtic Woman
: Tropes from there may also be applicable. If discussing Hayley with a Celtic Woman fan, be sure to have either running shoes or an asbestos suit handy, as her involvement
may lead to heated discussion
- Walking In The Air (2000)
- Hayley Westenra (2001)
- My Gift to You (2001)
- Pure (2003)
- Odyssey (2005)
- Treasure (2007)
- Hayley Sings Japanese Songs (2008)
- River of Dreams (2008)
- Hayley Sings Japanese Songs 2 (2009)
- Winter Magic (2009)
- The Best Of Pure Voice (2010)
- Paradiso (2011)
Provides examples of:
- Adorkable: Sometimes comes across on interviews as a little nervous and shy. Then sings in front of 10,000 rugby fans without batting an eyelid.
- Amazing Freaking Grace: And often. Thankfully without the usual Melismatic Vocals.
- Christmas Songs: Winter Magic.
- Greatest Hits Album: Somewhat subverted - River of Dreams was only released in the UK and NZ, and The Best Of Pure Voice only in Japan and Taiwan.
- Hey Lets Put On A Show: Her default reaction to anything bad. Follows it up by putting on a show and collecting a fat wad of cash.
- Lyrical Dissonance: Seems to be quite fond of this.
- "Whispers in a Dream" takes Morricone's haunting "Gabriel's Oboe" and adds Westenra's optimistic, uplifting lyrics. The effect is stunning.
- "Summer Rain" mixes a melancholy melody, an up-beat tempo and uplifting lyrics.
- Her choice of covers often reflects the more usual happy tune/sad lyrics combination: "Wuthering Heights", "Summer Fly" and "Metti Una Sera A Cena" are all perfectly cheerful until you discover what fate has befallen the protagonist.
- Motor Mouth: "Lezione di Musica".
- Nice Hat: "Who Painted the Moon Black?"
- Non Sequitur: on Paradiso, sitting happily between "Amália Por Amor" and "Malena", you'll find Joan Baez's anarchist anthem "Nicola and Bart", stroking its moustache and daring anyone to ask: Dafuq?
- Older Than Steam: "Melancoly Interlude" on Treasure is based on a 1600-ish piece by John Dowland called "Melancholy Galliard".
- Old Master: Refers to Morricone as "The Maestro" for some reason.
- Omniglot: Songs in English, Māori, Gaelic, Welsh, German, Portuguese, French, Italian, Latin, Japanese, Mandarin, Taiwanese and a pinch of Quenya. So far...
- With Lyrics: The basis of Paradiso.