Emmanuel Vass is Almost Fearless

In which aspect do you think you are Almost Fearless?

My ability to rationalize and analyse everything in my head, before then turning it off completely and trusting my heart.

In your opinion, whats the music role in our society today?

I think the beautiful thing about the arts and music today is that it can mean so many different things to people across different backgrounds, communities, and contexts. Some enjoy music as a form of therapy, in which they enjoy the feeling of being anaesthetised and relaxed. Others listen to music expecting to be challenged and stimulated, whilst there are many who seek joy and/or entertainment.

"Music of all genres is incredibly flexible and appealing, which should be celebrated." 

 

What do you want your audiences to feel in your concerts? 

Sexually aroused. Only joking! I’d love for them to feel moved, and impassioned, as well as inspired to do whatever they desire in their lives. 

 

Can you share one difficult moment you had during your career? What did you learn from it?

When I first graduated from the RNCM in July 2011, it was a scary and unpredictable time for me. Like all graduates, I found myself shoved into the ‘real world’ of employment, bright eyed and bushy tailed.

Fortunately, within 5 months of graduating, I had performed for the Prince of Monaco alongside Lulu; broadcast on BBC 6music, been offered a job performing on Disney cruise ships, and found out I was to be a future Yamaha “unsigned artist of the month”.  Perhaps that initial shock and fear acted as a catalyst to make me seek the opportunities and ensure I wasn’t going to be penniless!

No manager; no agent, publicist or strategist… Don’t you think they can help a music entrepreneur like you?

Yes, if the relationship is mutually productive, managers and agents can form an integral cog within the artist’s machine. Although the 5am starts weren’t ideal, I was totally happy self-managing and handling my own PR, as I think the Internet has facilitated that whole process.

"I really enjoy mixing business and creativity; I think we should think of them as part and parcel of our jobs."

What I was doing creativity influenced my business decisions, and viceversa.

Within the first week of ‘Sonic Waves’ being released, I entered at #3 in the UK classical charts, eventually reaching #1 in the UK specialist classical charts, after a month within the top 10.

It was at this stage that I knew I needed somebody else on board to help take my career to the next level, as there was no way I could wake up any earlier to fit in any more work! I already lecture, teach piano, and gig as a musician on top of these roles, so I’m happy to have my manager (Diane Hinds) on board. 

You raised £3,319 in a Kickstarter campaign for you album Sonic Waves” Did it worked as expected?

I was incredibly nervous when I set the £2,000 target, and couldn’t believe it when I hit this in under 5 days!

There were quite a few things I didn’t expect, for instance having so many outside companies approach me offering to help and promote my campaign, in exchange for a fee, of course. I am still humbled and feel shocked when I remind myself that my project finished at 165% funded.

 

What a Kickstarter campaign needs to be successful? 

A clear vision; branding, and evidence that you have managed a similar project before.

 

I see youre not afraid of catching peoples attention with your photos. How are they helping your career? 

Yes, they’ve definitely turned some heads and promoted some debate, both online via Twitter and Gay Star News, and through emails to my website.

"I like to think the photos are both promoting my career and the image of classical music in general."

 

For me, wearing a suit automatically places classical music in a certain socio-economic group, which doesn’t sit well with me, since I myself am from a poorer background.

Classical music itself has always been incredibly inclusive, and I wanted to re-assert that mantra, whilst also exploring the relationship between an artist and their instrument. A singer’s instrument is within their body, but as a pianist, my instrument will always be external. 

I was simply trying to find a way to turn people’s heads in the right direction towards classical music, even if for a second, as it might encourage new audiences and new listeners to explore what is a fantastic genre. 

Do you think it is important to communicate your values loudly to connect with your audience?

I think strong statements can generate strong reactions, if that is what you are seeking. Modest and unassuming values can also speak in volumes: maybe finding the balance between both is key?

 

What’s the future of classical music in your opinion?

Continued inclusion, breaking down of barriers, relevance and pertinence in what can be a noisy and crowded world.

 

Countless studies cite the benefits of studying classical music on patterns of behaviour, education, and culture, so there is definitely more scope for classical music education.

 

One tip/advice to the next generation of classical musicians?

If you expect somebody to give you everything on a plate, you will starve before any plate reaches you. Figure out how to make your own crockery and cutlery, and feed yourself.