Friday, October 4, 2013

Vanessa-Mae

Vanessa-Mae (born Vanessa-Mae Vanakorn on October 27, 1978 in Singapore) is a talented violinist who was successful in the United Kingdom and managed to chart on the Billboard charts as well. Her music style is self-described as "violin-techno-acoustic fusion."

She was born to Vorapong Vanakorn (an English hotelier of Thai descent) and Pamela Soei Luang Tan (a Chinese lawyer and a semi-professional concert pianist). After her parents separated, Vanessa-Mae's mom married a British attorney named Graham Nicholson who adopted Vanessa-Mae. She and her family moved to England when she was 4 years old.

At the age of 3, Vanessa-Mae began playing the piano and the violin when she was 5 years old. In 1989, she made her debut with the London Philiharmonia at the age of 10. When she was 11 years old, Vanessa-Mae became the youngest student to attend the Royal College of Music.
In October of 1990, Vanessa-Mae recorded her debut album "Violin" and it was finally released in March of 1991. On the album, she performed with the Mozart Players and contributed her royalites from the album to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.
During that same year, Vanessa-Mae released her sophomore album "Kids' Classics" on Tritico Records. The album was recorded in Ghent, Belgium and recorded in association with the New Belgian Chamber Orchestra.
Also in that same year, Vanessa-Mae released her third album "Tchaikovsky & Beethoven Violin Concertos." According to the Guinness World Records, she was the youngest soloist to record both the Beethoven and Tchaikovsky violin concertos. 

As she reached her adolescent years, Vanessa-Mae broke away from her traditional classical music influences.
In January of 1995, Vanessa-Mae released her first techno-pop music single "Toccata & Fugue" which peaked at #16 on the U.K. Singles chart and #24 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Club Play Singles chart.
In May of 1995, Vanessa-Mae released her fourth (and first techno/pop music) album "The Violin Player" on EMI Records.

In the U.K., the album peaked at #11 on the U.K. Albums chart. In the U.S., the album managed to chart at #32 on Billboard's Heatseekers Albums chart and #2 on Billboard's Top Classical Crossover chart.

The album sold over 8 million copies worldwide and was certified Gold by the British Phonographic Industry in June of 1995.

The second single from the album "Red Hot" peaked at #37 on the U.K. Singles chart. The last single from the album "Classical Gas" peaked at #41 on the U.K. Singles chart.

In 1996, Vanessa-Mae released her fifth album "The Alternative Record from Vanessa-Mae" which was only released in Poland and Asia.

During that same year, she released her sixth album "The Classical Album 1" which peaked at #47 on the U.K. Albums chart, topped Billboard's Top Classical Albums chart and sold over 500,000 copies.

The only single released from the album was "I'm A-Doun For Lack O'Johnnie (A Little Scottish Fantasy)" which peaked at #28 on the U.K. Singles chart.

In 1997, Vanessa-Mae released her seventh album "China Girl: The Classical Album 2" which peaked at #56 on the U.K. Albums chart and #3 on Billboard's Top Classical Albums chart.

The only single from the album "Happy Valley" didn't appear to make the charts at all. Vanessa-Mae toured in the U.S. and made some appearances on television.

In October of that same year, Vanessa-Mae released her eighth album "Storm" which peaked at #27 on the U.K. Albums chart. The album was released in the U.S. a year later and peaked at #2 on Billboard's Top Classical Crossover chart.
The first single from the album, the title song managed to peak at #53 on the U.K. Singles chart.
The follow-up single from the album, a cover version of Donna Summer's "I Feel Love" peaked at #41 on the U.K. Singles chart and #19 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart. In 1998, Vanessa-Mae made her film debut in the movie "The Violin Fantasy."

During that same year, Vanessa-Mae released her ninth album "The Original Four Seasons And The Devil's Trill Sonata" which peaked at #5 on Billboard's Top Classical Albums chart, but didn't make the U.K. Albums chart.

The only single to chart was "The Devil's Trill/Reflection" which peaked at #53 on the U.K. Singles chart. 

Vanessa-Mae appeared on the title track to Janet Jackson's "The Velvet Rope" album. In 1999, she fired her mother as her manager and in 2000, she appeared in the television movie "Arabian Nights."

In September of that same year, Vanessa-Mae released her first compliation album "The Classical Collection, Part 1."

In May of 2001, Vanessa-Mae released her tenth album "Subject to Change" which peaked at #58 on the U.K. Albums chart, but hasn't been released in the United States.

The first single "Destiny" failed to make the charts. The follow-up single "White Bird" managed to peak at #66 on the U.K. Singles chart.
In 2002, Vanessa-Mae released her second compliation album "The Best of Vanessa-Mae" which peaked at #5 on Billboard's Top Classical Albums chart.
In 2003, Vanessa-Mae appeared on Prince's album "Xpectation." During that same year, she released her third compliation album "The Ultimate Vanessa-Mae."
In 2004, Vanessa-Mae released her eleventh album "Choreography" peaked at #66 on the U.K. Albums chart.

In April of 2006, Vanessa-Mae was ranked as the wealthiest young entertainer under 30 years old in the United Kingdom in the Sunday Times Rich List, having an estimated fortune of about £32 million which stemmed from concerts and record sales of over an estimated ten million copies worldwide.

During that same year, Vanessa-Mae announced she would be releasing a new album sometime between 2007 and 2008. 
A new album was expected to be released in 2009, but it was never released. During that same year, she moved to the Swiss alpine resort of Zermatt.

In 2011, Vanessa-Mae attended a celebration in Chechyna for the birthday of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov along with other celebrities, playing excerpts from Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" and reportedly received $500,000 for her performance.

Human rights groups urged the celebrities to cancel their appearances of because of human right abuses carried out under Kadyrov and were criticised by them for attending the event. The celebrities apologized and donated their fees to charity, but Vanessa-Mae has not done that.

These days, Vanessa-Mae has taken up alpine skiing. She had been skiing since she was 4 years old and wanted to compete in the Olympics since she was 14 years old. 
She attempted to represent Thailand in the 2002 Winter Olympics, but she was unable to do so because the Thai Olympic Committee requested that Vanessa-Mae give up her British citizenship which she wasn't ready to do.

In 2009, Vanessa-Mae took up residence in the alpine resort of Zermatt and began training competitively in 2010. 

On February 18, 2014, she competed in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. During that same year, she was later banned from skiing because a qualifying race for her benefit was allegedly corrupt, but in June of 2015, the ban was nullified by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, citing lack of evidence for her own wrongdoing or any manipulation.

As for her music career, it's unknown whether or not Vanessa-Mae plans on releasing another album anytime soon.

To see the music video for "Toccata & Fugue," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euOu89d3npA

To see the music video for "Red Hot," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bDNJAzREQY

To see a fan-made video for "Classical Gas," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lmShzud0G_8

To see the music video for "I'm a Doun for Lack O' Johnnie (A Little Scottish Fantasy)," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lh9j0-Ey3kw

To see a fan-made video for "Happy Valley," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=misPSq6gQ-U

To see the music video for "Storm," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tgb0jK143MI

To see the music video for "I Feel Love," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MnQbC0ctGk

To see the music video for "The Devil's Trill," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlO87SiSuek

To see the music video for "Destiny," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-eCvTx5nDDA

To see the music video for "White Bird," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MNoUDNavyw

[updated on 04\10\2016]

2 comments:

FaSCoRP said...

amazing

Match Stick said...

Awesome article, thanks for sharing. I always thought Vanessa-Mae was as beautiful as she was talented. I'm sure she'll return to music.