Singer Hayley Westenra is a native of Christchurch, New Zealand, although her family background is Irish; Westenra's father is a gemologist and her mother a photographer. At about the age of four, Westenra was cast as the lead in a local grade school Christmas play; afterward, the teacher took Westenra's parents aside and informed them that their daughter had perfect pitch. Westenra would spend the balance of her single-digit years performing in musicals such as Annie and kid's parts in opera productions; however, when she was 11 she took up busking in shopping malls to earn extra change. Westenra had the presence of mind to bring along some home-burned CDs of her singing and the demand for them was so great that a family friend kicked in $5,000 in order to have a proper CD made for her to offer. One of these reached the offices of ...
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