Miri Ben-Ari Biography
Miri takes hip hop to the next-next-next-next millennium... A Hip Hop Violinist! I want you all to check this out! - Jay-Z
Miri Ben-Ari, The Hip-Hop Violinist, may look like an overnight celebrity to some, but her rise to stardom has been years in the making. Through her collaborative friendship with superstar rapper-producer Kanye West, Miri, with her violin, is the centerpiece of Twistas new smash single and video Overnight Celebrity.
Miri Ben-Ari grew up in a small town near Tel-Aviv, Israel, beginning her classical music education when she was extremely young. Coming from humble roots, Miri's violin lessons became too expensive for her family. Fortunately, Isaac Stern stepped in and recommended Miri for a scholarship from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation that gave the young prodigy her most treasured possession, her first violin. During her mandatory military service, she was chosen to play with the prestigious Israeli Army String Quartet.
After being introduced to the music of Charlie Parker and other American jazz greats while in the Army, Miri decided to come to the United States and study Jazz at the Mannes School of Music in New York City. A Jazz performance at the Blue Note led to her debut jazz album, Sahara (Half Note Records). Next came an association with Miri's mentor, internationally renowned jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, who made guest appearances on Miri's second jazz album, Song of the Promised Land (Mirimode Productions), followed by Live At The Blue Note (Half Note Records).
Having established herself as an accomplished and respected jazz musician, Miris interest evolved to R&B and Hip Hop. Her love for the music led her to develop her own unique and original hip hop urban classical violin style. Miri wrote, performed and produced for Britney Spears, Alicia Keys, Jay-Z, Patti LaBelle, Mya, Thalia, Joe, Wyclef Jean, 3LW, Dallas Austin, Rahzal, Allure, The X-ecutioners, Twista, Kanye West, Brandy, Janet Jackson and Jennifer Lopez among others.
Soon, she drew the attention of Wyclef Jean who introduced her as the hip hop violinist at his historic Carnegie Hall Concert. Then, a breakthrough performance on NBCs Showtime at the Apollo and a major feature with superstar Jay-Z at Summer Jam. Soon, everyone was talking about her. She appeared twice on BETs 106 & Park and earned an Apollo Legend honor. Each appearance was followed by a flood of emails and letters from viewers praising her captivating performances and demanding more. Her recent TV performances include MTV's Advance Warning & Direct Effect, BETs Rap City, and a solo performance on Last Call with Carson Daly. An astounding live performance of the national anthem at the 2003 TJ Martell Foundation event in New York brought her to the attention of Universal Musics Chairman and CEO Doug Morris, and eventually led to her signing with Universal Records.
Miri worked closely with producer Kanye West writing, producing, arranging and performing all of the strings on Kanyes smash debut album The College Dropout, as well as on Kanyes production of Twistas Overnight Celebrity. Miri has been touring as a featured artist with Kanye throughout the U.S. and Europe, wowing crowds at sold-out shows. She has also been Wests special guest on scores of major national television appearances, including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Late Show with David Letterman, Last Call with Carson Daly and The Sharon Osborne Show.
Lately, Miri has been hard at work in the studio creating her debut Hip Hop/R&B album, a groundbreaking fusion of her crisp, soulful strings with hard-edged hip-hop production slotted as a major release by Universal Records for the fall of 2004. Kanye West has lent production and rhyming work to several tracks on her album, which also features collaborations with an all-star cast of artists, including Mya, Scarface, Fabolous, Lil Mo, Joe Buddens, Twista, Pharoahe Monch, Anthony Hamilton and Miris urban classical sound.