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Hayley Westenra preview

| February 15, 2006 | 2 Comments

Hayley Westenra
Chicago Theatre, Chicago
Friday, February 17, 2006

The verbal portion of most standardized tests have an analogy section: Dog is to puppy as (fill in the blank) is to swan. Hayley Westenra‘s analogy reads: Hayley Westenra is to pop music as the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling is to modern art.


Belonging to a generation that brands the ’80s ancient history and nostalgia anything that happened last summer, Westenra takes on the daunting task of being Generation Y’s answer to everlasting music. With her second Stateside CD, the international singer revamps classical music into modern, mature pop making it both accessible and listenable for her peers. In Odyssey the 18-year-old accomplishes what Mandy Moore attempted to do with Coverage, combining haunting vocals, youth-friendly lyrics, and a timeless sound with the package of a pop star.

Listening to young artists forces the constant reminding of oneself, “This artist is not someone they sound like or have been compared to, but an original that has something unique to offer.” Hayley Westenra relieves you of this duty. Thoughts of Josh Groban and Charlotte Church may cross listeners’ minds, but something about Westenra is different, something not palpable. It’s the background noise of dinner parties Gen. Y-ers will be having in 10 years, but the sound of their love stories today, and simultaneously the resonances of a climatic scene in a Disney cartoon a la Aladdin and Princess Jasmin or Princess Aurora and Prince Phillip, it’s what might be playing overhead on a loudspeaker in heaven.

The native New Zealander, who traveled the world with her international debut, Pure, and has performed for both the Queen Of England and President Bush, will be opening for Il Divo on their U.S. tour. Imagine receiving the opportunity to watch Michelangelo paint; yeah, it’ll probably be something like that. Maybe faster.

Angie Maldonado

Category: Stage Buzz, Weekly

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  1. Hal says:

    The day I die, I want Hayley Westenra playing when I make my way to those pearly gates. I’ve heard a few of her songs and all I wanted to do was take my television into the bathroom, put on Aladdin, run a bubble bath, light some candles and let her music seep into my pores.

    Angie M. thank you for capturing the essence.

  2. Hayley def has great music. My fav song of hers is My Heart Belongs to You.

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