Beyoncé Violinist Ezinma Shares How the Star Changed Her Life: 'This Sisterhood Was So Powerful for Me' (Exclusive)

The 'Classical Bae' told PEOPLE how she grabbed the attention of Queen Bey with a style all her own

<p>Joshua Lawton for Chase</p> Ezinma in Park City, Utah on Jan. 21, 2024

Joshua Lawton for Chase

Ezinma in Park City, Utah on Jan. 21, 2024

Violinist Ezinma, known as "Classical Bae," rose to fame as a viral sensation all on her own, but it was touring with Beyoncé that showed this solo act how "powerful" a "sisterhood" could be.

The Los Angeles-based artist, 33, spoke with PEOPLE about the life-changing opportunity after wrapping up an intimate solo performance at the Chase Sapphire Lounge during the 2024 Sundance Film Festival.

"Just getting to have this sisterhood was something so powerful for me," Ezinma tells PEOPLE, who shares that she "faced criticism" at times and got "discouraged" earlier in her career.

But when Beyoncé's musical director first reached out, before Ezinma even had a management team, she finally knew she was "on the right track."

"It was such a moment of affirmation for me," Ezinma recalls, reminding herself, " 'People are seeing you and hearing you.' And you're not always aware of that. To be in her band for a few years, especially with all women of color, it was just such an incredible experience for me. And one that, still to this day, I just cherish."

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"I learned so much from how to perfect your craft and how to put on a show and all of these things that she's honestly the greatest at doing. So it was pretty awesome," adds the Lincoln, Nebraska native, who started playing violin at the age of 4.

Ezinma, who was a part of The Formation World Tour during the Lemonade era — and Beyoncé's headlining 2018 Coachella shows, also appreciated the "ritual" of the acts and the pre-show routine of prayer.

"She prays before [going on stage] and she's a woman of faith and that's something that's just really beautiful to bear witness to," Ezinma says. "It's just like the ritual of it all and getting to feel like you're a part of a team, that was also something that was really awesome. For me, now, a lot of what I do is solo work. I don't always get to work with people, especially when I'm performing live."

<p>Joshua Lawton for Chase</p> Ezinma performs in Park City, Utah on Jan. 21, 2024

Joshua Lawton for Chase

Ezinma performs in Park City, Utah on Jan. 21, 2024

Aside from playing with Stevie Wonder that is, which is one of the most exhilarating live performances Ezinma has had to date.

The fitness-enthusiast was at the gym when she received a call saying the violinist had dropped out for a performance with the music legend at New York City's Central Park and was asked if she could get there in 30 minutes.

"I ran down there as fast as I could," Ezinma says. "It was something that really changed the structure of my life. There was no sheet music. I just hopped on stage and found myself with the band. That really gave me the confidence to do what I'm doing."

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<p>Joshua Lawton for Chase</p> Ezinma performs in Park City, Utah on Jan. 21, 2024

Joshua Lawton for Chase

Ezinma performs in Park City, Utah on Jan. 21, 2024

Another big moment Ezinma has experienced was when her dad came to see one of her performances in London. As someone who once preferred his daughter to go more of the medical route — and she did for a time as a pre-med student before switching to music — her father was able to truly understand her art.

"I saw him [out there] and he was really loving it. Really enjoying it. And afterwards, he said, 'I'm so proud of you. It's so amazing what you've done.' That was a really big moment. That was pretty powerful for me."

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