A Conversation with Jamaican Violinist Jessica Yap

Beneath this youthful and effervescent personality lies a musician who speaks frankly about the rigors of the life of a violinist, medical student and young adult.  Jamaican Diva Jessica Yap has certainly been playing music for a long time. She began playing the violin at an early age, and has progressed into a major force to be reckoned with.

Jamaican Divas recently caught up Yap to see what she has been up to, and this is what she had to say about  her life and some of her future plans.

 What age did you start playing the Violin and how did you get started?

 I started playing the violin at three years old. How it started was I was introduced to music in different ways and I asked my mommy if I could play the violin and eventually at three I started classes.

What genre of music do you enjoy playing the most?

Well I actually was classically trained. That is what I started out with initially, till I moved on to reggae/dancehall kind of music, more contemporary things. But, however, I mostly enjoy playing classical music. I think the technical requirements of it (classical music) is more fulfilling.

What kind of music do you listen to?

I like to listen to all different kinds of music. I like to listen to Celine Dion, Rihanna, Beyonce and I also like Jamaican music. I like to listen to Buju Banton, reggae. I also like to listen to classical music. I like most types of music.

Is there any work of music that you are dying to play?

Yes, I hope to one day perform the Paganini works. So hopefully one day I would be able to, I would be able to put in enough work and practicing to hopefully reach that level.

Has it been hard to have a musical career while pursuing a medical degree?

Well like anything else you need time management so of course it would be difficult at times. You may have less time to do things like watch T.V. or sleep as much. It’s really worth it in the end. You use your time to do what you like to do.

Do you think playing music has helped you to do better in school?

Well it definitely has contributed to me as a person in terms of confidence and how I feel about different things. I think yes it definitely has contributed positively to how I do in school.

Are there any challenges you have faced?

Of course, because of med school and because of doing everything else there is limited amount of time available to be allocated to music or really doing anything else outside of med school and so it is a challenge to further my studies in music.

Why did you chose medicine instead of doing Music  full time?

Well it’s always been one of my passions (the sciences) and I always liked to help people. I know it sounds cheesy but that’s really what it is. And hopefully in the future I can incorporate medicine and music.

What does Jessica Yap do for fun?

(Chuckles) for fun I actually like to go to the beach. I like to go to the gym. I like to eat.

The gym for fun?

Yes I actually enjoy it a lot it’s like my time away from everything else

We have just celebrated Women’s International Day worldwide– What does it mean to you?

Jessica Yap at after a performance at the RJR Sports Awards in 2014
Jessica Yap at after a performance at the RJR Sports Awards in 2014

Well, international women’s day means to me about empowering women. I think it makes women feel a sense of empowerment, self worth and they feel more like major contributors to the world.

How would you describe your fashion sense?

 Well I’m a very simple girl I think (I like to say). I’m a very regular girl. I mean if you catch me on a regular day you might see me in gym clothes because any chance I get that is what I like to do. Many days you might also catch me in jeans and a t-shirt, very simple and casual.

What is the one thing that very few people know about you?

 The one thing that very few people know about me is that I like to dance.

To what type of music?

I guess Jamaican music (laughs out loud). Really any type of music. But I do it in private mostly. Unless it’s like close family or friends. Yea if I go to a party I will dance. But yes I like to dance.

 What life lessons do you wish to share with our readers?

I want to share with them that they should never be afraid to dream and dream big and always go for their dreams. Never give up!

Check out the video below