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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-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 hectic schedule.
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").
"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.
"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!


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