With her stunning looks, diva persona and thrilling musicianship, Vanessa-Mae caused a sensation when she first emerged on British TV screens as a precocious teenager in the 1990s. Born in Singapore to a Thai father and a Chinese mother, she was mostly raised in Suffolk, England, playing piano from the age of three and violin from five. Her exposure to so many different cultures forged a free-thinking approach to music, mixing her prodigious virtuosity with a pop star mentality that swiftly propelled her into the mainstream. By the age of 13 she had recorded both Beethoven and Tchaikovsky violin concertos and at 17 in 1995 recorded her first crossover album The Violin Player, which sold over 8 million albums around the world. Never predictable, she continued to make classical records, while playing on albums with Janet Jackson, Il Divo and Prince and experimenting with electric violin and jazz fusions. Also a passionate skier, she announced in 2010 that she planned to ski for Thailand in the 2014 Winter Olympics.

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