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Vanessa-Mae at the Royal Festival Hall in London on 21 October 2004
Background information
Birth name Vanessa-Mae Vanakorn
Born 27 October 1978 (1978-10-27) (age 31)
Origin cavendish,suffolk, England
Genres Pop, classical
Occupations Violinist
Instruments Violin
Years active 1990–present
Labels Sony BMG, Virgin, EMI

Vanessa-Mae Vanakorn Nicholson (born 27 October 1978), known professionally as Vanessa-Mae (in Chinese: 陳美, Chén Měi), is an internationally known British pop and classical musician, especially noted for her violin skills. Her music style is self-described as "violin techno-acoustic fusion", as several of her albums prominently feature the techno style.



Vanessa-Mae was born in Singapore to a Thai father (Varaprong Vanakorn) and a Chinese mother (Pamela Tan). After her parents separated, her mother married Briton Graham Nicholson, and the family moved to England when Vanessa-Mae was four years old. She grew up in London and is a British citizen. She was educated at the independent Francis Holland School in London.

Vanessa-Mae, born 27 October 1978, coincidentally shares her birthday with famed violinist Niccolò Paganini, who was born 196 years earlier on 27 October 1782.

Professional life

Vanessa-Mae began playing piano at the age of three and violin at five.

She was particularly famous in the United Kingdom throughout her childhood making regular appearances on television (for example on Blue Peter) mostly involving classical music and conservative style. According to Guinness World Records, she is the youngest soloist to record both the Beethoven and Tchaikovsky violin concertos, a feat she accomplished at the age of thirteen.[1] During this time she attended the Francis Holland School in central London.

Vanessa-Mae made her international professional debut at the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival in Germany in 1988, and also during 1988 made her concerto debut on stage with the Philharmonia Orchestra in London.

On entering adolescence Vanessa-Mae broke away from her traditional classical influences and became known for her flashy, sexual style appearing in music videos in stylish outfits. Her first pop-style album, The Violin Player, was released in 1995. She appeared on the 1997 Janet Jackson album The Velvet Rope playing a violin solo on the song "Velvet Rope".

She performed in the interval of the 1998 Eurovision Song Contest in Birmingham.

In April 2006, Vanessa-Mae was ranked as the wealthiest young entertainer under 30 in the UK in the Sunday Times Rich List 2006.[2] having an estimated fortune of about £32 million ($64 million) stemming from concerts and record sales of over an estimated 10 million copies world wide, which is an unprecedented achievement for a young female violinist.

Vanessa-Mae announced in 2006 that she would be releasing a new album sometime between 2007 and 2008. The album was said to draw inspiration from great ballets and opera themes. A new album was expected in 2009,[3] but the year ended without the expected release.

On December 7th and 8th in London and December 15th, 16th, 17th in New York; Vanessa was the special guest violinist for Il Divo's Christmas Tour 2009.


Vanessa-Mae most often uses one of two types of violins, a Guadagnini acoustic violin or a Zeta Jazz model electric violin. The Guadagnini was made in 1761, and was purchased by her parents at an auction for £150,000. It was stolen in January 1995, but was recovered by the police two months later. She once fell and broke it, but it was repaired.

In addition, she uses one of two Zeta Jazz Model electric violins, one of which is white and the other one of which features decals of the U.S. flag. She has also been using a silver-grey Zeta Jazz Model electric violin since 2001. She also owns three Ted Brewer Violins two of which she uses on stage (a Crossbow and a Vivo2 Clear) and in publicity material. In addition to these violins, she sometimes buys violins and resells them later, giving the proceeds to charity.




Special edition albums

  • The Violin Player: Japanese Release (1995)
  • The Classical Album 1: Silver Limited Edition (1 January 1997)
  • Storm: Asian Special Edition (1 January 1997)
  • The Original Four Seasons and the Devil's Trill Sonata: Asian Special Edition (1 February 1999)
  • Subject to Change: Asian Special Edition (1 July 2001)
  • The Ultimate: Dutch Limited Edition (January 2004)


  • "Toccata & Fugue" (January 1995)
  • "Toccata & Fugue - The Mixes" (1995)
  • "Red Hot" (May 1995)
  • "Classical Gas" (November 1995)
  • "I'm a Doun for Lack O' Johnnie (A Little Scottish Fantasy)" (October 1996)
  • "Happy Valley" (1997)
  • "Storm" (October 1997)
  • "I Feel Love" (December 1997)
  • "Devil's Trill"/"Reflection" (November 1998)
  • "Destiny" (2001)
  • "White Bird" (July 2001)



External links

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