Royal Favourite Sings Lullabies for Newborn
At 26, New Zealand soprano Hayley Westenra has been a favourite of the Royal Family for over a decade, so when Welsh composer Paul Mealor, who was commissioned to write some new music for William and Kate’s wedding by the couple themselves, decided to create a lullaby dedicated to the royal baby, Westenra was the perfect choice to sing it. Westenra imagined rocking a baby to sleep as she recorded the lullaby, called Sleep On. And her record bosses loved it so much they then suggested she make a whole album of lullabies. “The idea took me by surprise as I expected to do an album like this when I was with child myself,’ Westenra said. “But then I realised I could put some of my favourite tunes on it and record the sort of album I’ve always wanted to do. It’s intimate and close to the microphone, there’s no big orchestra and no reverb.” Christchurch-born Westenra was a 14-year-old busker when music bosses fell in love with her unique voice, and by the age of 16 she had a record-breaking £3 million deal with Decca Records. Her album Pure became the fastest-selling classical debut of all time with sales of more than two million in 2003 – breaking Charlotte Church’s record – and remains the best-selling album of that genre this century. She’s performed in front of the Queen, presidents and prime ministers and worked with her musical idols, selling four million albums. Westenra’s album, Hushabye, is out now on Decca. Every child born on the same day as the royal baby can claim a free copy.