Big Music Meets: Tanya Cracknell (The Grime Violinist)

We caught up with Tanya Cracknell AKA The Grime Violinist!

Tanya Cracknell AKA ‘The Grime Violinist’ is an amazing musician known for her ability to cover well-known grime songs on the violin. She has performed at various venues including The Royal Albert Hall, Glastonbury and even Thailand’s Wonderfruit Festival! We sat down with Tanya to discuss career so far…

It’s great to have you here today, Tanya! Could you give us some insight into your life before ‘The Grime Violinist’?

Thanks for having me! I started playing the violin at the age of 7, completing all of the necessary training and then gaining a music degree. A few years later, I decided to stop playing on a classical level. I took on some jobs, while playing the violin on the side and doing more collaborations as I went along.

Nice. Where did the name ‘The Grime Violinist’ come from?

It was literally a merge of my two favourite things, haha!

The simplest ideas are often the best ones! It might not be that uncommon, but where did the idea of playing the violin over grime tracks come from?

Strings have been recorded over grime tracks for years, so to me the concept seemed quite obvious.

Would you say you are part of a niche market as a violinist?

I would say so. I don’t know any other violinists in the world who focus strictly on grime.

It’s great to know you’ve been able to find your niche so soon, speaking of which, we’ve done some research and found out your favourite grime song is ‘When I’m Ere’ by Roll Deep – is that correct?

Great research! As soon as that track comes on, I imagine myself in a mosh pit at a grime event!

Wow, haha! Do you think it is possible for you to play this song on the violin without getting hyper?

I doubt it! I have played it in the studio though!

We understand! What are you currently listening to?

I’m currently listening to a new remix by Lioness called ‘DBT’ featuring Lady Leshurr, Shystie, Queenie and a few other female artists. It’s a great track!

Great, we will definitely have a listen. Now for a few quick-fire questions:

Okay, let’s go! 

Describe yourself in 3 words?

Ambitious, creative and patient. 

If you could play any other instrument, what would it be and why?

The cello.

What is the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?

I’m a really health-conscious person, so I eat some really strange superfoods at times!

If a movie was made of your life, who would play you? 

I actually have no idea!

What is your biggest pet peeve?

People coughing without their hands over their mouths on the train.

If you could be any animal, what would it be and why?

I would be a cat because they are independent.

Those were great answers, that’s the end of the quick-fire questions.

Thanks, Big Music! That was fun!

Glad you enjoyed it! Which artists have you played with so far?

I recently did a live session with Swarvo and Flirta D. I was also with Lady Ice yesterday. In the past, I’ve done some video work with artists like Lethal Bizzle, P Money and JME.

That’s amazing! Do you have a dream gig and/or venue you’d like to play?

It might sound cliché, but I would love to play with Stormzy because I genuinely rate him as an artist. A dream venue would have to be The O2 Arena.

We’re sure you will achieve those goals very soon!

Thanks, Big Music. It would be great!

Which countries have you played in so far?

Thailand, Italy, I did a tour in the Netherlands last year and I’m going to New York in April. It’s so exciting being flown somewhere to play, that’s the dream!

Those sound like great opportunities! How has social media and networking impacted your career so far?

It has completely changed my career. Funnily enough, I was initially reluctant to use Instagram in particular for a long time, but now I literally get all of my work from there.

So, it is safe to say that social media has been key to your career development?


What advice would you give to younger musicians trying to make a name for themselves in the music industry?

Be yourself. It took a while for me, but once I was fully aware of who I was, things started slotting into place.

Great advice! Any plans for the future?

Yeah, I’ve got a big year coming up! I’ve got some exciting shows this year, but my main project will be my EP of original grime violinist instrumentals which I plan to record in May and release in the summer.

It sounds like you have a massive year coming up. We wish you all the best!

Thanks, Big Music!

Be sure to check out the talented Tanya on Instagram and Twitter!