Paradiso features new compositions written by Morricone for Westenra, as well as Hayley performing some of his best-known film compositions in vocalese. Westenra also contributed new English lyrics for some of Morricone's most well-known pieces, "Gabriel's Oboe", "La Califfa", and "Malena". Westenra said she not only was inspired by "Gabriel's Oboe" (the theme from the 1986 film classic The Mission), but also contributed lyrics to Whispers In A Dream (music:"Gabriel’s Oboe") in the spirit of world peace.
Morricone produced all of Westenra's vocal performances and created new arrangements for each track, conducting instrumental sessions with his own 120-piece orchestra, Sinfonietta di Roma. On 18 July 2011, Morricone commented, "When I first heard Hayley’s voice I was impressed and fascinated. I was very pleased when I was asked to compose and arrange the pieces that Hayley sings on her CD and am delighted with the results. I want to mention that this is not just a small anthology but also includes new songs performed and recorded for the first time... I wish our CD great fortune and many listeners and to this beautiful performer, a great career." Oscar-winning lyricist Don Black, Sir Tim Rice, and Marilyn and Alan Bergman also contributed lyrics to the multi-language album (including some English and Italian songs, a French and a Portuguese song).
Paradiso became the 85th local #1 album since the inception of the Official New Zealand Music Charts in 1975. It has been certified gold in New Zealand, and had broken the record for the New Zealand artist with the most #1 albums to their name announced by the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (Rianz) in May. It rose from the #3 position on 14 July 2011 to #1 on 26 August on the Amazon Classical pre-release chart, and topped the HMV Classical pre-release chart from 14 July until its release on 29 August.
On 17 July 2011, Westenra talked about working with world-renowned composers on Paradiso when interviewed by Terry Wogan, and performed Whispers In A Dream and "Songbird" live for BBC Radio 2. On 1 September, Premier Christian Radio interviewed Westenra about recording Paradiso with Morricone and his orchestra in Rome. On 15 September, Westenra appeared as a guest star on the popular Italian reality TV show for children "Io Canto" (Canale 5) and sang "Whispers In A Dream" and "Cinema Paradiso: Profumo di Limone" with the show's 2010 winner, Benedetta Caretta. The BBC programme Songs of Praise broadcast "Whispers In A Dream" as performed by Westenra in Salisbury Cathedral. Also, Hayley was interviewed by several American media outlets, including Fox News, to promote the album's release in the United States. On 17 October, Westenra appeared on CNN for an interview entitled "Prodigy Puts Words to Morricone's Classics".