||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (October 2011)|
|Vanessa-Mae Vankorn Nicholson|
Vanessa-Mae at the Royal Festival Hall in London on 21 October 2004
|Birth name||Vanessa-Mae Vanakorn|
27 October 1978 |
|Origin||Cavendish, Suffolk, England, UK|
|1761 Guadagnini acoustic violin
Zeta Jazz model electric violin
Ted Brewer Violins (Crossbow, Vivo2 Clear)
Vanessa-Mae Vanakorn Nicholson (born 27 October 1978), known professionally as Vanessa-Mae, is a British violinist. Her music style is self-described as "violin techno-acoustic fusion", as several of her albums prominently feature the techno style with the classical style. A former child prodigy, she became a successful crossover violinist with album sales reaching several million, having made her the wealthiest young entertainer in the United Kingdom in 2006.
Vanessa-Mae was born in Singapore to Vorapong Vanakorn, an English hotelier of Thai descent, and Pamela Soei Luang Tan, a Chinese lawyer and semi-professional concert pianist. After her parents separated, her mother married Graham Nicholson, a British attorney who adopted Vanessa-Mae, and the family moved to England when Vanessa-Mae was four years old. She grew up in London and holds British citizenship. She began playing piano at the age of three and violin at five.
Professional life 
Vanessa-Mae became 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. She made her international professional debut at the age of ten in 1988 at the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival in Germany, and the same year made her concerto debut on stage with the Philharmonia Orchestra in London. At the age of thirteen, she was the youngest soloist to record both the Beethoven and Tchaikovsky violin concertos, according to Guinness World Records.
On entering adolescence Vanessa-Mae broke away from her traditional classical influences and became known for her more distinct appearance, appearing in music videos in more stylised 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".
Vanessa-Mae was managed by her mother, who owns a private recording label and music agency, until 1999, when Vanessa-Mae fired her as her manager.
In April 2006, Vanessa-Mae was ranked as the wealthiest young entertainer under 30 in the UK in the Sunday Times Rich List 2006, having an estimated fortune of about £32 million stemming from concerts and record sales of over an estimated 10 million copies worldwide.
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 classic ballets and opera themes. A new album was expected in 2009, but the year ended without the expected release.
Vanessa-Mae has occasionally recorded her own compositions. Her 1997 album China Girl: The Classical Album 2 included her Violin Fantasy on Puccini's 'Turandot' and Reunification Overture, marking the reunification of China and Hong Kong.
In October 2011, Vanessa-Mae attended celebrations in Chechnya on the birthday of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov along with several other celebrities, playing excerpts from Vivaldi's Four Seasons, reportedly receiving $500,000 for her performance. Human rights groups, who had urged the celebrities to cancel their appearances because of human rights abuses carried out under Kadyrov, criticised the celebrities for attending the event. Human Rights Watch released a statement which said, "Ramzan Kadyrov is linked to a litany of horrific human rights abuses. It's inappropriate for stars to get paid to party with him. It bolsters his image and legitimizes a brutal leader and his regime. And getting paid to be part of such a lavish show in Chechnya trivializes the suffering of countless victims of human rights abuses there." Warnings from Human Rights Watch, the Human Rights Foundation, a Berlin based non-governmental European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights, and a call for the performers to return or donate their earnings from the event have drawn no response from Vanessa-Mae, even though other performers have responded by apologizing and donating their fees to charity.
Other activities 
In 2009 Vanessa-Mae took up residence in the Swiss alpine resort of Zermatt. A skier since the age of five, she plans to compete in the 2014 Winter Olympics as a downhill skier, representing Thailand.
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 £250,000 when she was ten. It was stolen in January 1995, but was recovered by police two months later.
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 US flag. She has also been using a silver-grey Zeta Jazz Model electric violin since 2001. In addition, she 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.
- Violin (1990)
- Kids' Classics (1991)
- Tchaikovsky & Beethoven Violin Concertos (1991)
- The Violin Player (13 February 1995) UK chart Peak Position – 11 (21 Weeks)
- The Alternative Record from Vanessa-Mae (1996)
- The Classical Album 1 (21 October 1996) – UK Chart Peak Position – 47 (1 Week)
- China Girl: The Classical Album 2 (August 1997) – UK Chart Peak Position – 56 (3 Weeks)
- Storm (UK: 27 October 1997; US: 14 July 1998) UK Chart Peak Position – 27 (5 Weeks)
- The Original Four Seasons and the Devil's Trill Sonata: The Classical Album 3 (UK: 9 November 1998; US: 9 March 1999)
- The Classical Collection: Part 1 (25 September 2000)
- Subject to Change (14 May 2001) UK Chart Peak Position – 58 (2 Weeks)
- Xpectation (Jazz collaboration with Prince) (2003)
- Choreography (18 October 2004) UK Chart Peak Position – 66 (1 Week)
- The Best of Vanessa-Mae (2002)
- The Ultimate Vanessa-Mae (23 December 2003)
- Platinum Collection (19 February 2007)
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) UK Chart Peak Position – 16
- "Toccata & Fugue – The Mixes" (1995)
- "Red Hot" (May 1995) UK Chart Peak Position – 37
- "Classical Gas" (November 1995) UK Chart Peak Position – 41
- "I'm a Doun for Lack O' Johnnie (A Little Scottish Fantasy)" (October 1996) UK Chart Peak Position – 28
- "Happy Valley" (1997)
- "Storm" (October 1997) UK Chart Peak Position – 53
- "I Feel Love" (December 1997) UK Chart Peak Position – 41
- "Devil's Trill"/"Reflection" (November 1998)
- "Destiny" (2001)
- "White Bird" (July 2001) UK Chart Peak Position – 66
Other appearances 
- "The Velvet Rope" - Title track from Janet Jackson's 1997 album, The Velvet Rope
- "Because" (1998) - George Martin's 1998 album, In My Life
- Live at the Royal Albert Hall, The Red Hot Tour (1995) (concert documentary)
- The Violin Fantasy (1998)
- Arabian Nights (2000) (actor in the series)
- The Making of Me (2008) (subject of episode 3)
- "Contemporary Musicians: Vanessa-Mae". enotes. Retrieved 14 October 2011.
- Guinness World Records. Guinness World Records Ltd. 2003. p. 191. ISBN 1-892051-17-6.
- Deacon, Michael (7 August 2008). "Vanessa-Mae’s journey from prodigy to performer". The Telegraph (London). Retrieved 14 October 2011.
- "Vanessa-Mae tops young rich list". BBC News. 21 April 2006. Retrieved 14 October 2011. Unknown parameter
- Vanessa-Mae at Westonbirt Arboretum
- Walsh, John (24 January 1998). "Living doll". The Independent (London). Retrieved 31 December 2011.
- Malpas, Anna (7 October 2011). "In the Spotlight". The Moscow Times. Retrieved 26 October 26, 2011.
- "Hollywood stars fly in on Chechen leader's birthday". BBC. 7 October 2011. Retrieved 14 October 2011.
- Elder, Miriam (13 October 2011). "Hilary Swank 'regrets' partying with Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov". Guardian (London). Retrieved 14 October 2011.
- Masters, Kim (12 October 2011). "Seal's Chechen Leader Birthday Bash Performance Questioned By Human Rights Group". hollywoodreporter.com.
- Larkin, Mike (14 October 2011). "'I deeply regret attending': Hilary Swank goes into damage control after turning up at birthday party for Chechen president". London: dailymail.co.uk.
- Elder, Miriam (13 October 2011). "Hilary Swank 'regrets' partying with Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov". London: guardian.co.uk.
- Camilli, Doug (12 October 2011). "Party people taking serious flak: Swank, Van Damme, Vanessa-Mae fête Chechnya's charmer". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
- Lesnie, Melissa (19 October 2011). "Vanessa-Mae shamed for playing for Chechen president". Limelight magazine. Retrieved 26 October 2011.
- Russia: Celebrities Should Refuse Pay for Chechnya Gala, Human Rights Watch, October 11, 2011
- Anthon, Kaye (29 July 2010). "Ski statt Geige". Blick (in German). Retrieved 14 October 2011.
- "Vanessa-Mae: I want to be an Olympic skier". The Telegraph (London). 8 August 2010. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
- Vanessa-Mae at Allmusic
- Vanessa-Mae at the Internet Movie Database
- Vanessa-Mae discography at Discogs
- Vanessa-Mae discography at MusicBrainz