7 Minutes with Robert Mendoza, the man behind The Purple Violin
Before Robert Mendoza wielded the now-signature purple electric violin, he was already an accomplished classical musician. After graduating from Seville Conservatory of Music where he concentrated on both violin and piano, Mendoza was a violinist for the Royal Symphonic Orchestra of Seville. Somewhere along the way, an interest for electronic and pop music sparked in him, which led him to the electric violin.
By playing pop songs on an electric violin, Mendoza gives the hits that we're all familiar an electronic-meets-classical edge. His videos on YouTube soon propelled him to international fame—he has now garnered over 100 million YouTube views and over 700 thousand fans on Facebook. Particularly popular in the electronic dance scene, he has performed at some of the most famous clubs in the world.
This week, Mendoza is in town to perform a few shows in Kuala Lumpur as well as Penang, giving us the opportunity to catch the dashing violinist for a quick tête-à-tête:
What inspired you to pick up music?
"I've been interested in music for as long as I can remember. Since I was a child, my home was always filled with music, especially classical music. Then my father bought me a piano, and that's how it all started. I later picked up the violin when I was eight years old."
You went from playing in an orchestra to being a solo artiste, and from classical music to electronic and pop. How was that transition like—was it a natural one?
"In the beginning, it wasn't easy. I studied classical music all my life, and after graduating from the conservatory I worked at the Royal Symphonic Orchestra for years. At one point, I realised I needed something more interesting in my life, apart from reproducing classical music over and over again. Don't get me wrong, I still love classical music, but at the moment I'm looking to create a more personal style of music."
How has your training and career in classical music help shape you as the musician that you are today?
"The technical training that I studied in classical music has definitely helped build me as a musician. By putting together everything I've learnt and listening to a lot of music, I try to create something new and a fusion of both worlds."
You're known for your amazing covers of pop songs and electronic music collaborations. Are you also looking to produce originals in the near future?
"Yes, I'm actually working on a new album where the focus will be on my own music. I have about 60 songs at the moment, so the challenge now is to really select and edit to put out the best album that I can."
What is the most memorable moment in your musical journey so far?
"Just being able to have my music reach so many people is something I'm really thankful for. I put up my first video on YouTube not really expecting anything, but it caught on and I am grateful for the journey it has taken me on, so I try to be better everyday, because I think my followers deserve that."
Who are you inspired by, whether musically or otherwise?
"That's a tough question, because I don't really have a favourite artiste, but I like to pick up different things and learn from all the styles out there."
What are the top two most played songs on your playlist at the moment?
"'Chantaje' by Shakira, which is a really fun song, and Ellie Goulding's 'Love Me Like You Do', which is both romantic and sentimental to me."
Since this is your first time in Malaysia, what were you most looking forward to before coming here?
"That's easy—I was and am most looking forward to performing, and to be able to meet my fans here in Malaysia! Hopefully they will enjoy the shows, and I hope to come back in the future."
Catch 'Robert Mendoza: The Purple Violin' at Gastro Sentral, Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur this 25 and 26 October at 8pm. Mendoza will also be performing in Ozoo, Penang on 28 October for Chivas Collab: ETM (Electronic Theatrical Music).