The violin wasn't Mapy's first choice for an instrument, yet after going viral on YouTube it’s a decision she’s glad she made. The Parisian violinist, Reggae and Hip Hop artist brings a ton of different sounds to the table. In our interview she talks about her journey up to this point, doubting herself, and how posting her first video was the breakthrough she needed to push forward.
[istandard]: Hey Mapy, let the readers know who you are and what you do?
Mapy: I am a Hip Hop, Reggae and Soca violinist. I grew up in Paris where I graduated from the Conservatory as a classical musician. Then I moved to the French Caribbean as a violin teacher and came back to Paris where I started my career as a solo violinist.
[istandard]: When did you first pick up the violin? Did you know immediately this is what you wanted to do with your career?
Mapy: I started to play the violin when I was 6 years old. Honestly, I didn't choose this instrument first. I was more attracted by guitar and piano because they're polyphonic music instruments and i could have more fun playing music alone. I was a solitary child. But after my first year at the school of music, my teacher found out that I had a perfect ear so I was naturally directed to violin classes. And I must admit that it was the best decision ever!
[istandard]: Did you have a mentor or any training along your journey?
Mapy: I've always admired Yehudi Menuhin who is a great classical Violinist. I think I listened to all of his albums when I was a young violin student. Then I started to play Hip Hop in my bedroom while listening Notorious BIG and 2Pac. And I heard about Miri Ben Ari a female hip-hop violinist. She became one of my inspirations because she was a female Hip Hop Violinist and it showed me that my dream was possible.
[istandard]: You do a lot of visuals to accompany your music. How has the response been to your videos and your overall brand online?
Mapy: Doing visuals totally changed the direction of career as a musician. I've been performing on stage since a few years, way before posting my first video on my social media. To be honest a few years ago I was very shy and didn't want to be judged , probably because of my lack of confidence. At Paris music conservatory we were trained to be excellent, to practice until it's perfect, and not "almost perfect." Because I stopped playing the violin for 3 years due to personal issues, I knew I could not be perfect anymore and was frustrated. One day I decided to be courageous and I posted my first video. The response was very positive and I must admit that I was surprised. My second video went viral. At this moment, I understood that you don't have to be perfect to touch people's soul. I kept posting more and more videos and I love it because it makes me feel closer to my followers. I read their comments and suggestions and kept working on improving my skills. I went from fearing the public judgment to considering my followers and fans as friends and family.
[istandard]: What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment to date and why?
Mapy: My biggest accomplishment to date is not really about the violin itself but more about overcoming my lack of confidence and fears, and all the obstacles that artists can find on their way to reach their goals. Today, I consider that all I am able to do as an artist that makes me feel free and happy, is a big accomplishment.
[istandard]: How important is it to have good representation as a musician & performer?
Mapy: Finding good representation is a real challenge. Most of the artists started alone, have made sacrifices and invested a lot of time and money to start building their brand. So they have to choose carefully who they allow to team up to continue developing the brand and speak on their name. I have to say that not having a good representation can kill an artist's career. So when you find it, it's important to keep an eye open and not forget who you are and why you started.
[istandard]: What can we look forward to in the near future from you?
Mapy: I recently moved from Paris to NYC and I'm planning to tour in the USA the next months. Being a composer, I'm working on my original album and I can't wait to share it on stage with my fans.
[istandard]: What advice can you give new musicians looking to stand out in todays music climate?
Mapy: I myself am still working on it, but I think the most important is to be you, and not try to follow a trend or be like someone else. Be an original. Each artist is unique and this is our biggest power.
[istandard]: Where can we find you online?