Classical Music Goodies With a Twist

Hi amigos, today I’ll introduce you to one of the hottest most talented classical crossover artist. 😉

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First off is Maksim Mrvica, a Croatian pianist.

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When I was a kid, I was pretty “extreme” in my music taste… if I found out that the singer hadn’t composed the music OR written the lyrics themselves, it was a huge minus for me. Because to me, if all you can do is just “sing”, then you’re not really a musician… because in order to be someone who people would like your music, it’d make sense that you should be the one who composed it too… Also, I hated female singers who uses “falsetto” in the pop music scene (since, they were, to me, deemed as not having any “real” vocal ability… so being “classically trained” was very important to me to like someone.)

And when I saw someone who actually WANTS to use and play classical music as his career, there was nothing but admiration from me. I mean, come on, who would want to hear boring classical music? All the girls just wants to hear Westlife right? Right?

Anyways, I’ve ranted long enough. Here’re the songs!

My favourite “slow” piece of him:

My favourite crossover of his:


I really love the vocals in this music.

Next up is Vanessa Mae, Singaporean-born British violinist (her mom is Chinese, stepfather British while her biological father is of Thai ancestry).

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You may have seen her or heard of her before, but if you haven’t, she’s a violinist who does “techno-acoustic fusion”, as she described. The vague memories I had from her was that when I saw her on screen, I’ve immediately thought, “wow, so pretty!” and found her arrangement of Vivaldi’s “Summer” to be super catchy.

Though, there was something that my mom said when she saw her that I haven’t really thought deeply or knew what she meant (perhaps because I was too young at that time), but it really made sense now that I’m older. My mom commented she was a “sell out” (more or less) and “can’t sing”… as you can see her version of I Feel Love.

As for the “sell out” comment, I’m assuming that she meant Vanessa’s album covers are… of her dressed scantily clad, and a lot of them. Vanessa was 16 when she tried to be “groundbreaking” (and not shocking the “purists”/”traditionalists” on purpose). This has led to her birth father being angry and publicly criticizing her, saying she “looks like a soft-porn showgirl” and then proceed to disown her. I am assuming he meant photos like this:

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It seems like behind all her glory, Vanessa didn’t have a particularly happy childhood. Her mom was a “helicopter parent” – she would slap her if she thinks Vanessa didn’t practice good enough, prevented her friends being near her as fear of being “distractions”, made her stopped her favourite hobby, skiing, because she’s afraid she’ll “hurt her arms” then would never be able to play violin again.

Vanessa has had enough of it when she turned 21 – she fired her manager, who happens to be her mom, because she thought it would make them have a “normal” mother-daughter relationship. But her mom got so mad that she never spoke to her again and has been estranged for more than a decade. Still, Vanessa tried to repair the relationship by inviting her to a documentary that wanted to know if the prodigy’s talents was “nature or nurture”, to which to the TV crews’ surprise, they got an email saying “My daughter is nearly 30. That part of my life is well and truly over”. Basically saying that her “job” as a “mom” is “done”. Ouch.

Things got a bit better afterwards when she got her freedom and was able to represent Thailand in the Winter Olympics for skiing (though she got a 4-yr ban as it was revealed she wasn’t qualify in the competition and it was bogus).

Even though to a certain degree she was a a product shaped by her mom, her fusion of classical music is still satisfying.

My favourite:

Last but not least, another (German) violinist, David Garrett.

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This hotstuff over here used to be a model. And um, there’s really no “juicy” stuffs from him like Vanessa but I was very impressed with him after I’ve heard his violin cover of Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters”!

Some Jack Sparrow goodie! 😀


Love that Nirvana bit from the guitarist btw 😉

So yeah, if you guys aren’t interested in classical music yet from these HEY GOOD LOOKIN’ WHATS COOKIN’, there’s seriously something wrong with you..!!

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11 thoughts on “Classical Music Goodies With a Twist

  1. Sounds like Vanessa’s parents are jealous and not pro-female. I liked her Donna Summer cover song, I feel love. I had that Donna Summer album when I was eight. My dad bought for me not knowing how “risque” the lyrics were going to turn out to be. LOL!
    Anyhow I like me an “underdog” especially if the parents are disowning her as she comes into her power. Too bad Vanessa had an environment of shame to grow up in if she didn’t perform according to their desires. They should just love their daughter and be happy for her success. What a courageous artists she is. I’m glad you showcased her!

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    1. Vanessa had a pretty good relationship with her stepdad, strained with her mom and she’s been getting along nicely recently with her (Thai) dad after she represented the Olympics for Thailand. I wouldn’t really say they’re “jealous”… her mom, I think, just has control issues (Vanessa wasn’t allowed to go outside her house till she was 20!) and about the pro-female thing, Asians are typically more conservative, plus she was 16 when she wore those scantily clad clothes so I guess her dad had every right to be angry (you HAVE to remember that “16”-yr-olds in the west looks like 20 to us, compared to “16” over here is probably “14” or even younger to you guys, especially if the person isn’t wearing make up.)

      Living in HK I can tell you with 100% certainty is that on the streets in summer, you will almost never see girls show cleavage no matter how hot. Maybe 1, or 2, but seeing none is not surprising. I’m not sure if it has something to do with our average size being A cup (though I believe if a girl just really “wants” to show cleavage, then she wouldn’t really mind what her size is). We (typically) dress conservatively, it’s our culture, so I understand her father’s anger. Though DISOWNING her was too much, and I think he reacted too impulsively and should have talked with her mom instead (since he should realize how his ex-wife’s personality is [every wardrobe/make up on stage was chosen by her mom btw].)

      Hmm I wouldn’t really call her an “underdog”, since she’s a prodigy and has always been… and the Winter Olympics proved to be a scam, I mean – she can skii no doubt about it since she learned it when she was young, but her mom made her stopped abruptly to solely focus on violin… so even if she may be “better” than the average, I don’t think she’s OLYMPIC-level kind of good – just look at the intense training the kids in China have to prepare for the Olympics.

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      1. Oh wow, I didn’t know about her in connection to the winter olympics. These details you gave make a lot of sense. I do know it’s really much more conservative there, so whenever I give my two cent “western perspective” I hope I don’t offend you. I’m usually one to take the empower the girls road, but I realize you have to live in your own geographical context and should not have to adopt my attitudes.
        I didn’t know she was considered a prodigy… but what I mean by “underdog” is that that is a woman or girls station when living under conservative fathers. Just speaking from the basic point of view of a hierarchy. That’s funny her mom picked out the clothes she got in trouble for! And sad…Oh no! Oh well. Sounds like they will all work it out…
        I really love violin so I’m just glad she’s on my radar now. Thanks.

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  2. Do you like Faye Wong? I heard her cover a song by Tori Amos called “Leng Zhan” and I think she played piano on it as well a sang… I’ve only heard it a couple times, so I’m not sure about the details of her.
    I was also wondering if you like any of what the Shangai Restoration Project does? They seem to have piano, but also a fusion of electronica. I’m new to them… but your selection made me think you probably know of them?

    Gackuto is a great piano player singer musician in Japan… Do you like his music? I got really into his songs for a while… You’d probably be able to find tons of his songs to enjoy if you haven’t already.

    These are the bands I thought of while listening to your posted videos… although different there is a piano connection and the cross over sort of fusion I’m thinking. 🙂

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    1. Ah, Faye Wong… one of the 4 “heavenly queen” singers. She never really interested me. She’s kinda like Mariah and Beyonce in the sense that “oh, ok, you can sing, but can you produce catchy songs consecutively?” (to me anyways – I haven’t bothered to look more of her songs, but some recommendations may change my mind!) The only time I’ve heard from was my ex who sent me a song she did in Final Fantasy… we have opposite tastes in everything, especially in music (he loves songs that have “meaningful” lyrics, while I enjoy the occasional foul rap music…) so you can say when he sent me her song, all I did when I listened to the thing was “…….”…

      And nope, I haven’t heard of them, but thanks for recommending them! Just found “Dark Horse” from SRP and am loving it. I’ve heard a couple of classical crossover bands, but not enough to make me listen to them more.

      Do you mean “Gackt”? I remember listening to his songs in the late 07/early 08 but none caught my attention… and then there were some of them that sounded like “generic Japanese rock song” (especially his voice/the way he sings)… I had a friend at that time who was obsessed with “Gazette” (one of the members, anyways) and there was this flow of Visual Kei bands at that time (Alice Nine, Dir En Grey, Malice Mizer etc with their flashy outfits)… I gave them a try but their music sounded really generic to me. But then again, as I’ve said, I’m open to any recommendations from Gackt!

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      1. Well to be honest the only song I heard by Faye Wong was her cover of british artist Tori Amos… “Leng Zhan” and I’m forgetting the english title so am not translating it for you. But I used to like Tori so I though Faye did a fair job on it. But I can see the Mariah Carey pop thing about her… and I’m not a fan of Mariah at all… in fact I find ways of avoiding her…
        so sorry I can’t recommend anything there.

        Yes, Gackt is Gackuto. I haven’t been listening to his recent work, but I remember I liked Mizerable (Highly produced but with some nice violin sounds), Oasis (I like his vocal changes on this) , Emu for my dear (sort of a ethereal somber tone with good bass line) , Leeca (nice acoustic one), Blue (pretty piano), Hoshi No Suna (also good piano but for those weepy kinda moods.)

        I have to admit I am a Dir en Grey fan. I went to their shows in Tokyo and twice when they came to the states. The Cosplay was oh so awesome. I also saw Penicillin with the infamous Hakuei and Plastic Tree, Nightmare, and Gargoyle… I really like Gargoyle. I didn’t see Merry but I like some of their songs. Gara of Merry being a “disciple” of Kyo of Dir en Grey in many ways… was interesting to find out, but I think their music differs quite a bit. I couldn’t get in to Dir en Grey until I saw them and then they were sooooooooo amazing live, one had to succumb to fandom. But admittedly they have a few albums I feel bombed. Nightmare was mediocre and might not be worth mentioning, but it was a fun show and they’ve had time since then to produce something better. Atusushi Sakurai does some nice work… the songs Taiji and smell are pretty good… These are older by now… but I still like them enough to run by you. Galaxy by Rip Slime and the band Buck-Tick are also worth checking if you haven’t…

        I know I have a growing list of classical crossover bands happening but not organized in my head… so, I will try to go thru my collected mixes and get back to you in the future. 🙂

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      2. Oh wow really? What’s off-putting about Mariah to you? I’m really curious.

        Wow Plastic Tree and… Nightmare! Nightmare actually did one of the songs of the anime of Death Note! But yeah, there are just some musicians/bands that you have to “get” into when you see them live, otherwise…

        And that’s a lot of Gackt songs. I’m gonna go through them all thanks!

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      3. Besides Mariah willingly performing for dictators who commit human rights atrocities you mean? Well, I just can’t stand her music. Her song arrangements are particularly irritating to me as well. And I’ve never enjoyed looking at her. I don’t understand her appeal at all. The high notes aren’t that big of a deal if all the songs suck. Omg… thanks for allowing me to vent!

        Plastic Tree I got into before I saw them actually, and Live they played a venue when they were easily blocked by poles so I sat and listened instead of seeing them much! Oh well.

        I hope you find at least one Gackt song you like! 🙂

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      4. Do you mean that Chechya(?)-something incident where several artists performed for the dictator? Because last I’ve checked, Vanessa Mae also did that……..

        I’m never into concerts for some reason even if I like the band… maybe it’s the heat, maybe it’s the crowd, or maybe I just don’t like hearing the musician not being to hit the notes and be disappointed!

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      5. Yeah… that… and I think Mariah and Vanessa should make better performance choices! Wow… Vanessa did that too? Bummer.

        I have to really love a band to go to a concert anymore. Although sometimes people buy me a ticket because no one else will go with them and I’m usually up for the experience.

        I like the flaws in a live performance if they aren’t making too many because of being drunk or something… but sometimes a voice will crack and they manage a miraculous pick up after or they will make a joke that wouldn’t have happened otherwise and the whole audience gets a human connection and insight that you do not get on recordings.

        Plus in Japan the para para and controlled chaos is something that should experienced at least once in a lifetime. There’s just nothing like it on a recording.

        I know what you mean about being disappointed… I saw Placebo and got to meet Brian the lead singer way back and it was magical. Then when they came again, they were “tired” and the album they were promoting wasn’t as good and the band seemed like it was fading and then this just kinda blew their music overall. Where as if I’d left it on the magical feeling show, i might still be listening to their songs. Oh well.

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