Santa Monican making mark with talents

By Heather Downie, Santa Monica Daily Press

DOWNTOWN — Santa Monica resident Christine Wu is becoming one of Hollywood’s most in-demand musicians. Her most recent collaboration went viral and she’s busier than ever.

“One day I’m playing with Demi Lovato and Jason Derulo in the Disney Christmas parade and the next I’m performing with Andrea Boccelli,” said Wu. “My life is unpredictable, but every day is an adventure.”

Wu is an accomplished concert cellist, violinist, composer, string arranger and studio musician. She has performed, recorded and toured with artists like Beyoncé, Plácido Domingo, Justin Timberlake, Bono, Usher, Peter Gabriel, Earth Wind & Fire, Paul Anka and Annie Lennox. She has played on soundtracks for movies like “Salinger,” video games like “Assassin’s Creed” and is a regular live performer on TV shows like “American Idol,” “The Voice,” and “Dancing with the Stars.” She also composes commercial jingles and writes her own music.

One of Wu’s most recent projects is a hip-hop remix of the country music classic “Achy Breaky Heart” with country singer Billy Ray Cyrus and rapper Buck 22. The music video, which she describes as either sexy or “the kind of horrific you can’t stop looking at,” was released this week via Larry King’s Twitter feed. It’s gone viral and topped the Youtube charts at No. 1.

“We started with a basic hip hop track. Cyrus did his thing. I did mine on the violin. We’d give each other feedback and bounce back and forth,” said Wu. “I just love his energy. It was a really fun, collaborative process and a great way to blend my classical training and love of different genres.”

Wu’s life in Santa Monica is a far cry from her previous job as an orchestral violinist at the Houston Symphony Orchestra, which she left in 2005 to pursue a career in record, film and TV in L.A.

“When I was in Houston I knew my schedule 18 months in advance … to the minute,” said Wu. “Now, it couldn’t be any less like that and I love it.”

Wu’s training in juggling multiple skills began when she was a child when her parents forced her to play the violin, cello, and piano. While she initially resisted practice, she was hooked when she discovered she could be a professional musician.

Her years of hard work paid off when she won a full, four-year scholarship to study violin performance at Duquesne University. Shortly after she earned her first professional appointment with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater and Pittsburgh Opera where she played until she graduated.

Wu later joined the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra before earning her master’s degree in music from the University of Southern California. From there, she competed to earn a spot on the Houston Symphony Orchestra in 2001.

While in Houston, Wu moonlit in clubs improvising on her violin to DJ music. She was eager to challenge herself and create her own classical twists on modern genres.

A few years later, she made the decision to move to L.A. and pursue a career in the entertainment industry. She chose Santa Monica because of its proximity to nature.

“Hollywood is such a crazy business. To live in Santa Monica and be able to ground yourself by looking at the ocean is a real luxury,” said Wu. “It allows me to work on the creative edge.”

When she’s not working till 3 a.m. in her studio, she can be found enjoying sunsets, eating at Father’s Office and practicing ballet and Yoga.

Visit Wu’s website at for more information. Twitter: @xtinewu