I’ve waited for trains, planes even automobiles but this was a wait outside a station with a difference (not a police station I hasten to add). This was HFM radio station in Market Harborough. I’d been due to interview a guest live on air at around ten past seven in the evening but she was running late due to her other on-air commitments that day primarily with the BBC at Leicester, BBC Northampton and various assorted smaller stations. When a ‘celebrity’ is running around with their management team which may include a musician or two they have to be quite frugal with their time in order to complete their day’s obligations with each radio station. That way everybody wins in that the artist is given equal amounts of access to the listener across a broader specific geographical region than perhaps might otherwise be the case. Unfortunately they sometimes encounter, let’s say, the less professional of broadcasters who give no courtesy to their counterparts at other stations by over-running their allotted time. Above all, this frustrates the artist who is under a great deal of pressure t push the day along. This was one such occasion. Our allotted time had slipped past and being in a ‘live’ studio scenario schedules had to be altered, staff reorganised, calls to be made. ‘We’re running late. We got held up. So annoying’. I’m paraphrasing of course. The actual terminology and language used is certainly not fit for publication. So we waited. By this time it was seven-fifty and I was worried that the ‘spark’ or livliness that can only come from the immediacy of a live interview may be lost, simply because of others lack of professionalism. Another phone call: another update, this time to say that they’d arrive at around eight o’clock. Once again we had to change ‘tack’. Studio’s had to be re-arranged, timings and personnel altered and, if all this wasn’t enough, we had two engineers working on a problem which could have affected the rest of our evenings output. So we continued to wait outside for my guest. We even found time to take pictures of a rainbow that had appeared in the skies over Harborough. Finally we saw the large black four-by-four pulling into our road and we instinctively knew that our wait was over. A representative from Decca records was first to emerge followed closely by a young guy with a Spanish guitar and then, at last, my guest.
Hayley Westenra’s first internationally released album reached number one in the UK classical charts in 2003 and has sold more than two million copies worldwide making her an overnight international sensation and the fastest-selling début classical artist to date. Most of my ‘homework’ for the interview had to go out of the window as our limited time dictated the course of events. When we all watch the final of this years Rugby World Cup in Auckland it will be Hayley who sings her national anthem to a global audience of millions!
You can see a ‘stripped-down’ accoustic version of the song I Knew I Loved You from Hayley’s new album Paradiso. Based on the movie theme Once Upon A Time In America. Accompanied by James Hayto, Wednesday 24th August 2011 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDVMRc_hsBk
A two minute ‘snip’ from the interview may be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzQOCsNNil0&feature=related
The full audio interview can be heard at http://soundcloud.com/richardoliff/hayley-westenra-interviewed