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Last Updated: Monday, 22 September, 2003, 08:38 GMT 09:38 UK
Teenage star tops classical charts
Westenra 'Pure' album cover
Pure sold more than 19,000 copies in its first week
A 16-year-old former child busker has topped the UK classical music chart with the fastest-selling debut album in its history.

New Zealander Hayley Westenra has beaten the first-week sales set by artists like Pavarotti, Charlotte Church and Russell Watson with her UK release, Pure.

Pure has shot straight to number eight in the UK pop chart and to the top spot in the UK classical charts.

Westenra has had a remarkable rise to fame since she was "discovered" busking in Christchurch, New Zealand, aged 11.

She was snapped up by Universal, home to acts such as Elton John, for a five-album £3m deal.

Last month, she appeared on the same bill as Spanish tenor Josť Carreras and Bryn Terfel at The Faenol Festival in north Wales.

The soprano sold 19,068 albums last week, toppling the previous record of around 18,500 notched up by teen star Charlotte Church, Universal said.

Westenra said: "This is amazing, unbelievable, made all the sweeter by the fact I'm living in London and loving every minute."

Universal Classics and Jazz spokeswoman Linda Valentine said: "We are absolutely delighted that Hayley has broken this record, which we heard this afternoon, and achieved such phenomenal success, although we never doubted her."

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