Ahead of her performance at the opening ceremony of the Dubai World Cup, Vanessa Mae talks to Emirates Business about her plans for the future, her past and what sets her apart from other violin virtuosi.
You were named the wealthiest young artist in the UK by the Sunday Times Rich List 2006. Who manages your money for you and what is the wisest investment move you’ve made?
The best investment lesson I have learnt is never to hire British builders (laughs). But honestly, I might know how to make money, but I really have no idea how to make it grow. I have hired accountants in the past, and paid them a fortune, but they’ve mismanaged it. When you invest in business and trust people to do it for you and they misuse it, it can be very disappointing. The good thing is that I don’t obsess about money. I started earning at a very young age so it does not overwhelm me at all.
We haven’t heard much from you since you released your last album Choreography in 2004. Why have you been so quiet?
I’m just enjoying my life right now. When you start performing at such a young age, you tend to miss out on a lot of things and right now I’m catching up on everything. I still haven’t moved into my house which I bought in 2001 and that has also taken a lot of my energy and I’m working on various collaborations which will potentially release this autumn.
You have largely been credited with glamorising classical music. Are you happy with that label?
That image helped me launch my pop success. But before the success of The Violin Player in 1995, I already had three classical albums, all of which did very well. I am a trained classical musician and that is where my roots are. I think it was mainly because I was only 15 then and not afraid to take risks. I needed to have youth on my side to try something challenging and it paid off.
You are hugely popular in Europe and Asia. Has there been a deliberate attempt by you to target these markets?
No, we have never targeted one single market. When you release an album you just wait to see where it takes you.
Do you think your ethnic background has anything to do with your mass appeal?
I really don’t feel like I belong to one place. I’ve lived in London since I was three but a lot of people don’t see me as English at all. In fact, when I’m in China, I look Chinese. But that’s why, I believe, my music is so diverse.
From child prodigy to multi-award winning musician and to the rich list. What’s next for Vanessa Mae?
I’m just hoping to finish my house, have a great new album out soon and just enjoy touring. I would like to explore more grounds musically and never repeat because I’m a firm believer that when you start repeating you have lost your touch.
Vanessa Mae, 29, is an international Singapore-born British musician noted for giving the violin a techno twist. She started playing at the age of five and released her fourth and most successful album, The Violin Player, when she was just 17.
She was ranked the wealthiest young entertainer under 30 in the UK's Sunday Times Rich List 2006 with an estimated fortune of about Dh233 million stemming from concerts and record sales of more than 10 million copies world wide. She has collaborated with stars like Janet Jackson and Prince, recorded for movie soundtracks, modelled a wedding dress for designer Jean-Paul Gaultier and has been voted one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World by People magazine.
‘I don’t obsess about money. It doesn’t overwhelm me at all’