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Hip hop violinist takes stage at Northern


April 16, 2014

Eric Seidle

Hip hop violinist Josh Vietti performs for students in the Montana State University-Northern Student Union Building Tuesday afternoon.

Los Angeles-born Josh Vietti played his unique blend of hip hop and classically influenced violin music for Montana State University-Northern Tuesday night.

Vietti could be seen plugging in his amplifier at the Student Union Building cafeteria and the Atrium earlier Tuesday - showcasing his talents and promoting his show to students and community members.

"I've been playing for over 20 years," Vietti said as he was breaking down his equipment on the stage in the Atrium.

Vietti said he began experimenting with mixing modern and classical music in 2006, but he has really been taking off with the mix for three years.

He has toured almost 300 colleges from the west to east coasts in the last two years, playing before a wide range of crowds. He said he has played for small coffeehouses up to 20,000 people at the University of Florida's arena for their homecoming.

"I still play the same show, no matter what," Vietti said. " ... I enjoy it, it's fun. I'd rather be doing this than be in an office."

Vietti said he found his niche in the world of music when he decided to make his unique sound instead of trying to make it in an alternative band.

He graduated from California State University in Long Beach with a degree in communications and was the manager of a coffeehouse before he decided to pursue his career as a musician.

He said he got his start on his current tract by playing on the street in Santa Monica. In the fifteen minutes before he was kicked out for not having a permit to do so, he said he sold over ten demos of his classical hip hop music.

"I was like, wow, people actually like this," Vietti said.

He spent four years as a street performer until his first big success, he said. He was chosen to play his violin in a National Basketball Association commercial. After the commercial aired, he got a manager and is now in full force trying to get to his next goal.

His goal, he said, is to open for acts like rapper Ne-Yo and eventually have his own full-production Vegas-style show. Until then, he is going to continue booking tours.

"You can't make moves without money," Vietti said.


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