Jessica Wang is a freelance musician based in NYC. She got her start from her mother at 4 years old with the piano, and picked up the cello at 6. However, music wasn’t always the path she envisioned – Wang also held an interest in psychology and therapy, and recieved her B.A. in Psychology from Harvard before realizing music was her true passion and obtaining her Masters in Music from Julliard. Her work includes playing on “the first North American tour of An American in Paris…Saturday Night Live with musical guest Shawn Mendes, …Radio City Christmas Spectacular Orchestra… [and the] NYC premiere of the off-Broadway show "Between the Lines.” She also collaborates with her husband for Chips n Cellos (a chiptune music project)! Wang’s advice to young artists? “Work hard, show up prepared and be nice to everyone.” Read on to learn more about Jessica Wang and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Name: Jessica Wang
Heritage: Chinese American
Current City: New York City
Current project: Just living the freelance musician life!
What are some of your favorite credits/projects: Touring the country with the first North American tour of An American in Paris, performing on Saturday Night Live with musical guest Shawn Mendes, playing with the Radio City Christmas Spectacular Orchestra and playing in the NYC premiere of the off-Broadway show, Between the Lines.
Any advice for young people getting into the arts?
Work hard, show up prepared and be nice to everyone.
How did you get your start?
I started learning the piano from my mom when I was 4 years old, and then I started cello lessons when I was 6 and have been playing ever since!
Do you have any favorite moments in your career that you'd like to share?
I recently had the opportunity to perform with Smokey Robinson at the Beacon Theatre, where I've seen some of my favorite bands perform. It felt like a dream to perform on such an iconic stage with such a musical legend. And Smokey was so kind and nice to work with!
What have you found is the biggest challenge in your career?
Breaking into an industry that is filled with people who have been "in the scene" for a long time.
Did you always want to be in the arts or did you have another path before you got here?
I didn't always want to be in the arts. I've thought about becoming a psychologist or therapist, but then life always kept pulling me back towards music.
When did you know you wanted to have a career in the arts?
Whenever I had a "life crisis" and would try to figure out what I was meant to do, the answer would always be music.
Did you have any interesting “odd jobs” you worked at between gigs to pay the bills?
I did take some time away from music to work a "real 9-to-5 office job" for a few years. While I enjoyed the job for some time, it made me realize that I missed playing music full-time, so eventually I left and returned to music. Best decision I ever made!
Do you have any side projects you’d like to highlight?
I collaborate with my husband on a project called Chips 'n Cellos - he writes the chiptune music and I contribute cello embellishments. Check it out!
If you could go back in time, what would you tell your younger self?
Be patient and keep at it, because it takes time.
Where did you study at?
I received my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Harvard College and my Masters in Music from The Juilliard School.
What are some goals you hope to achieve?
I would love to have my own Broadway chair one day.
What do you love most about what you do?
I love not having the same schedule everyday and not knowing what's coming from month to month, or even week to week. As a freelance musician, I get to do something different everyday and I love the excitement of getting to play all sorts of genres of music in a wide variety of settings. I also love getting to meet and play with different musicians at every gig.
What other instruments have you played or learned to play besides your main instrument?
I learned the piano before learning the cello.
What inspires you?
Watching live performances!
Is there anything else you would like to share about yourself?
I have an adorable puppy named Sesame :) She is a bichpoo and I love her very much!
To find out more about Jessica Wang, please visit her at:
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