Whether it is public or private, an increasing number of events are offering unique live entertainment, including from terrifically talented performers like Jessica Crabtree.
The London and Bristol based violin virtuoso brilliantly performs breath-taking renditions of popular Bollywood songs at a wide array of events, including boxer Amir Khan’s wedding. Known simply as Jessica Bollywood Violinist, she has enthralled everyone from A-list film stars like Shah Rukh Khan to wonder-filled wedding guests with her playing.
Eastern Eye caught up with her to find out more, including her most memorable moments.
What first connected to music and the violin?
My father is a professor in strings and plays both the viola and violin. I was given the violin at the age of four and have not stopped playing it since.
What led you towards Bollywood music?
I was asked to perform for a wedding in Manchester and had never played Bollywood music before. At the wedding a singer called Hussnain Lahori asked if I would like to record a cover version of the song Teri Meri. We made a music video together and this went viral on YouTube. His manager Marcus Nisar, the creator of Media M, then signed me up to his agency and I started walking brides down the aisle to their favourite Bollywood song, dressed in Indian attire. My career then snowballed from there.
What has the journey of performing live Bollywood music been like?
The journey has been truly epic! It has had its ups and downs like anything in life, but I am truly blessed to be performing such inspiring, beautiful music, and to be recognised as an artist for my craft is honestly a dream come true.
What has been your most memorable moment?
I have a few memorable moments! Amir Khan, the boxer’s wedding was the loudest and largest number of guests I have performed for. Performing for Shah Rukh Khans award ceremony at Edinburgh University where Princess Ann presented was nerve-wracking! A wedding in the Midlands where they entered under the stage I was stood on, in a car with lots of smoke, followed by the cake coming down from the ceiling, was like being in a Bollywood movie. To being sat in a civil ceremony witnessing many couples being so open and honest with their love for each other, whilst they say their own vows. It gets me emotional every time.
Which Bollywood songs do you enjoy performing most?
This is a good question! It would have to be, Jeene Laga Hoon, Deewani Mastani, Teri Meri, Moorni – Balle Balle and songs from Mohabbatein.
What is the crowd reaction like when you start performing the songs?
It is phones out to record and smiles on faces!
What is the secret of a great live performance?
I cannot think of a secret, but what I can say, if one does not experience any technical issues during the performance and performs with perfection – this is satisfying and successful to me.
What are your future hopes and plans musically?
I would love to write more albums and be known worldwide for my craft, be featured on TV adverts (musically) and films.
What inspires you creatively?
I am inspired by others and my imagination!
If you could master another instrument, what would it be?
Drums! I also love saxophone and flute.
Who in Bollywood would you love to collaborate with?
There is no one in particular I would like to collaborate with in Bollywood, but what I would say is, I enjoy collaborating with creatives and look forward to working with others in the industry.
Why do you love Bollywood music?
I love Bollywood music because the textures and melodies are so much more interesting and musically challenging than western music. The words they sing are more poetic and honest, and it just resonates with my soul!