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Hip-Hop Violinist

September 17, 2010 10:23:16 AM PDT
Violins are the heart of a classical orchestra; fiddlers can liven up a country music show. But is there room in hip-hop for a violin? Yes, says Lee England Jr., a classically- trained violinist who's also a hip-hop artist. A former Chicago Public School music teacher, Lee says he wants to change the way music fans think about the violin.

Lee recently signed to Brand Jordan (yes OUR Michael Jordan), one of only two non-athletes associated with the brand. He will be performing the National Anthem at NBA basketball arenas across the country; he's playing for the Chicago Bulls on November 1 and at the Boston-Orlando game on Christmas Day. Lee had won over the crowd at the Taste of Chicago and shared the stage with world renowned artists such as: Stevie Wonder, Babyface, Frankie Beverly and Maze, Keri Hilson, Dwele, Eric Roberson, K'Jon, T- Pain and Slique.

The 25 year old violin virtuoso, made his national television debut when he performed live with MIMS on the Jimmy Kimmel Show . He has appeared on MTV's Making His Band with Diddy; he is the only violinist on the show. Lee has served as an opening act for Chrisette Michelle, Ryan Leslie, Lyfe Jennings, MC LYTE, Ludacris, Jermaine Dupri, Rick Ross, Twista, Noel Gourdin, Floetry's Marsha Ambrosius, Brownstone, Bobby Valentino, Anthony Hamilton, Theresa Griffin, Akon, etc. In addition to a journey to Africa to perform this year, he has also been featured as a solo artist at the 2010 Trumpet Awards, Hope for Haiti Chicago, and Brand Jordan's private event in Dallas for NBA All-Star 2010.

Lee's musical journey began at the age of six. The music teachers at his elementary school put on their traditional introduction to string instruments and he was instantaneously mesmerized by the violin; an instrument not commonly prevalent among African ? American youths. Lee discovered that the road ahead would not be an easy one. Desiring to quit almost immediately, Lee says he consulted his father, who told him he could only do so if he practiced fifteen minutes a day for the academic term. With his goal in mind, Lee did just that and says his longing to quit transformed into a lasting commitment.

Lee attended Southern Illinois University where he says he set about finding himself musically. He earned 3 degrees in Music Business, Performance, and Education) and also discovered a talent for singing. Lee also says he spent hours looking over the shoulders of church musicians. Although classically trained, he describes his style as a musical gumbo consisting of rhythm and blues, Gospel and jazz.

England's latest album is called "The Soul Violinist." To find out more about Lee, visit www.leeenglandjr.com and www.youtube.com/leeenglandjr.


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