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Interview: Jenny Bae on social media, crowd funding and DIY in classical music

The Musicroom blog’s very own Greg Johnson caught up with world renowned violinist and social media advocate Jenny Bae yesterday to talk about how the opportunities online for classical musicians.
Jenny has recently launched her own Kickstarter campaign to fund her new album, and hosted an IAMA event on reddit.

Check out the interview in full below!


Hi Jenny! Social media is perhaps something more associated with pop acts at present. How do you think classical musicians can benefit from going social online?
Hi! Thanks for your wonderful support.  Clasical musicians can be quite old- fashioned, sticking to the rules of the classical world, but I believe that in order to cherish and to preserve classical music, we must be able to go with the trend as well. I have been the black sheep of the industry since my university years. When people were learning Mozart concertos, I was rocking with an electric violin playing all kinds of music from different genres. This is why I didnt think twice about  exposing myself through social media online. My music is criticised by classical listeners but loved by the general public, so I wanted to get in touch with the public through a platform they love.
Kickstarter has become an interesting platform for musicians with a do-it-yourself mind-set. What sort of appetite do you think is out there in the classical world for musicians to take a more DIY approach to their work?
In the classical world, there is no such thing as DIY. You either are a prodigy from when you are born, playing major concertos at the age of 3,  or you win an international competition. This is the best way and probably the only way to properly release your music, through major labels offering them the world. Am i jealous? Yes! [laughs] I am neither… I’m not a prodigy nor have i won a big international competition, but I can play. And i can move the audience with the music I play. Do I sound too confident? Sorry.
I like to experiment with different instruments, and genres and incorporating different cultures, and with my music, I’ve found it easier to bring people together without barriers. So going back to your question, i hope more and more classically trained artists will get on board and start promoting their music because there is still so much room for that.

img2How has your Kickstarter campaign gone so far? What tips or advice would you have for any musicians looking to start their own?
So far, it has been a great experience. I am learning a lot. Thanks to the team I work with, it is going well, although very slow on the raising of the funds, but I am very confident that something good will come out of it. And I can not wait to start recording my album. It is going to be the most beautiful album of the year, with original music written by top composers and I hope to collaborate with Ennio Morricone on some of its tracks.
How did you begin to learn the violin? How do you think social media can help beginners looking for advice, tutorials or online lessons?
I started playing the violin when i was ten after seeing a violinist performing on TV. I was mesmerised by it. Since that day, I always knew, i wanted to play the violin for rest of my life.
I think in this day and age, social media is so important. Social media brings people together, and you can learn so much through social media, with this project, I would like to welcomE, all music lovers to give them a chance to be part of this whole process and make something beautiful together.
Which other classical and pop artists do you think use social media well? Have you discovered any new music through social media recently?
So many pop stars use social media… I never thought much of it, but through this project, and thanks to my team, I’m learning how important it is to create your fan base through social media, Because that is what connects people to you, and to your music.
Katherine Jenkins, I think use social media very well, as well as Andrea Boccelli… Pop starS? Rihanna? She seems to tweet about every thing every minute. But her fans seem to stay very engaged by that.

Jenny recently hosted her own IAMA Q&A on reddit.
Jenny recently hosted her own IAMA Q&A on reddit.

Finally, what does the future holds for classical musicians, the internet and social media?
So much, yet so little.
So much because through the internet, we are able to reach our audience without any barriers, yet, so little, because we become so replaceable… So i think it is very important to keep your audience engaged and make sure you come out with the most unique music that does not replicate anyone else, but truly your own color…
Thanks for talking to us Jenny!

How do you think classical musicians can benefit from the new opportunities of the internet and social media? Is there a danger that modern trends could damage the integrity of classical music?

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