This article appeared in the April edition of a South
African magazine called "Blush"
Vanessa-Mae, child prodigy, veteran of classical concerts recordings,
violin music writer and performer. All of this and she isn't even 20.
Some call her a child prodigy, she takes this as a compliment. How did
Vanessa get to where she is at such a young age?
VANESSA'S JOURNEY TO FAME
Vanessa-Mae explains that in her case, music was part of her family. She
started playing the piano at the age of three and two years later she
was mastering the violin. "So young," I ask. "Yeah," she laughs, taking
a sip of her mineral water. "While we are on the subject, how did you
deal with success at such a young age?" She seems quite surprised - as
if she hasn't contemplated this before, then explains that as her
success was gradual she didn't find it difficult integrating her music
to her lifestyle.
As we settle into the interview we discuss more personal issues, such as
the most disappointing and incredible moments she's experienced due to
her fame. "Incredible," she glances up as she sighs, "was being able to
unite with different ages, cultural groups and nations, all together, in
making one album." She continues, "Disappointing, was when my
grandfather was sick in Singapore and by the time I got to him, he had
passed on." Vanessa-Mae is an only child and spent her younger years
travelling with her Mom. What about men? Her career leaves little time
for relationships, but what she is looking for is someone who is
understanding enough and caring enough to be able to deal with her
Who then is Vanessa-Mae, the artist! Mostly she is seen as having a sexy
image. According to her, that is just the perception of her listeners.
She says that since the release of her first album, she's tried to
remain honest to her age, style and ideas. The same applies to her taste
in clothing. and music. Does she follow trends? To a certain degree, but
Vanessa Mae is an individual. Her taste in clothing ranges from
Gaultier, Versace, and Ozbek (her favourite designers), to Marks and
Spencers or any other store that has clothes she likes, she says,
pointing towards her black, below-the-knee, skirt and matching top. Her
choice of music ranges from Paganini, to Jeremy Require, The Bee Gees
and Janet Jackson (with whom she collaborated with in The Velvet Rope).
From this eclectic mix, one can see where Vanessa-Mae gets her
inspiration for expressing her freedom in her classical pop mix.
She describes her second pop album, Storm, as dynamic and more powerful
than the first albums. She co-wrote Storm with her producer and found it
creatively inspiring. I ask her about the turmoil and the anger found on
the Storm album. She looks surprised and explains that she had no deep
anger to express in her music. Her favourite tracks are Hocus Focus and
Storm ("for its flashy, virtuous sound").
WHERE TO FROM HERE?
"One should never plan too far ahead. Technically, my time is planned
but I don't want to get into a trap of setting goals and running out of
time to achieve them," she says with an air of maturity. One of the
technical projects is her recent tour to South Africa where South
Africans experienced a pop-fusion concert, featuring a rock band that
she brought over, which played mostly music from Storm.
HER MESSAGE TO HER FANS?
"Respect the past and the elders and listen to what they have to say,
because they are experienced. Be humble when receiving criticism - at
the same time follow your instincts and develop as your own person.
Never be restrained by conventions and expectations."
Right on sister!
Thanks to Denis Millar for this article!