Combine a mix of VioluminescenceTM lighted string instruments with individuals who play killer live musical hits, and you have yourself the string sensation, “Violectric.” Formed in 2008, the string quintet plus keyboard and drums has opened up for and toured with acts such as Adam Levine, Sting, and Sarah Brightman. The top string rock group combines electric pickups and effects with their custom arrangements of classic and modern rock tunes such as Who Are You?” “Nothing Else Matters,” “Chandelier,” and “Despacito.”
Violectric will return to the Walt Disney Amphitheatre for a fun-filled live concert featuring traditional holiday songs mashed up with classic rock tunes and modern hits on December 9th in Downtown Orlando. The annual Violectric Holiday Show has teamed up this year with Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando. Led by Vinylinist and Grammy Recording Artist Michelle Jones, the star shares what led her to form Violectric and what audiences can expect to see in this year’s Holiday Show.
Orlando Style: Where did your passion for the violin spring from?
Michelle Jones: My parents were both musicians. My mom was church organist and a symphony violinist. I cannot remember not playing the violin because my mom put a violin in my hand before I was even three years old. She also taught lessons so I always saw students at our house receiving lessons. She also gave me lessons and of course, I reached an age where she said, “you need someone else to help you now.” I wound up doing a pre-college program where I was on a scholarship there from 9 years old through high school. I still take lessons because there’s always new things to learn.
OS: Growing up, what were some of your musical inspirations?
MJ: A lot of my influences were great composers. One of my favorites was Mahler and his symphony. For the rock side, it was 1977 when my dad had a Led Zeppelin album and he put it on. There were strings and that was it for me. It was “Cashmere” and I was so excited to hear that. From then on, I said, “this is what I want.” That song is very special to me because of that connection.
OS: What makes Violectric different?
MJ: First, there are no vocals or guitars. Everything is covered in instrument in a music part somewhere. Everything is done LIVE on traditional stringed instruments. Then we add the keys and drums. There are no backing tracks which really sets us apart from all of the other holiday shows.
Plus, everything is memorized. When you think of a string quartet, you usually picture women in long black dresses with stands in front of them. They’re intensely focused on their music. We are able to interact with our audience because we are wireless.
OS: Every time you step on stage, what do you try to communicate with your music?
Emotion. I want the audience to feel what I feel – whether if it’s a sad piece or a happy piece. It becomes a shared experience which is why people go to live concerts. If people wanted to simply watch a video, they can do that. Although, what we find is that people attach most music to a special event in their life – whether if it was their first dance song or a tune they listened to when their son was born. When you go to a live concert, you create invaluable experiences.
OS: What are YOU most excited about in regards to the show?
MJ: There’s so much excitement for the Holiday Show! For me, I love seeing Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus!
We are always excited to perform our holiday mashups. What we do is we mash X-mas tunes up with what we consider popular, modern rock and pop tunes. For example, “Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen happens to mash up beautifully with “O Christmas Tree.” Even though what you’re hearing is “Born to Run”, instead of singing, I play the melody of “O Christmas Tree”. I love the people’s looks on their faces because they’re trying to get what songs are being mashed up every single time. We really capture their attention on that.