Page 3 Profile: Vanessa Mae, musician


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The Independent Online

New album on the cards?

Mae, who rose to classical music stardom as a child, hasn't recorded a new album since 2004. But fans of the violinist will have to wait a bit longer, as the musician is devoting all of her time to a new hobby.

The piano? The flute?

Skiing. So confident is Mae in her abilities as a skier that she is aiming to represent Thailand at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. "People are surprised when they see me skiing," she told Reuters. "But it has been my dream to be a ski bum since I was 14. This is something I am determined to do." Mae actually began skiing at the age of four, but her music career – rumoured to have earned her a fortune totalling more than £30m – understandably took over.

Does she stand a chance?

Despite giving herself a year off to try to make it to the Games, she was realistic about her chances.

"When it comes to music I am a perfectionist but when it is skiing, I have no delusions about a podium or even being in the top 100 in the world," she said.

"Of course there is a risk that I could break something but life is short and you have to go for it."

She moved to the alpine resort of Zermatt in Switzerland in 2009, where she is now getting in shape for upcoming competitions. According to the International Ski Federation, Mae is one of five actively registered Thai athletes, but she needs to ski in at least five internationally recognised events to qualify for slalom races at the Olympics.

Can't she compete for the UK?

Mae, born in Singapore to a Chinese mother and Thai father, is a British citizen. But you suspect that making our team would be a bit too much to ask. Thailand doesn't have a great history in the Winter Olympics, and in fact Mae would be only the second Thai to make it to that level were she to qualify. "I wanted to compete for Thailand because there is a part of me which I have never celebrated - being Thai," she said.

Is that her music career over?

Hopefully not. "It's time for a new album but doing this will give me

a new perspective," she said, encouragingly. "Living my dream of being a ski bum is great but the best job in the world is making music."