We had the good fortune of connecting with Esther Wu and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Esther, what do you attribute your success to?
Persistence and resilience. Learning how to be a DJ was a tough and intimidating grind. It’s easy to look stupid and make awkward transitions between songs. Everyone’s a music critic and wants their song played. And just like everything in high-tech, the tools keep evolving. It can take more time than you’d think is sensible to learn how new software works.
Wanting my song played at the moment brought me into this scene. Here’s how it happened.
I graduated from Boston University in 2014 with a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Economics. Go Terriers! During this time, I spent a summer as an intern in Taiwan where friends introduced me to electronic dance music. I fell in love with the music, the scene, and everything about it.
Coming back to the States, I looked for opportunities to continue engaging with whatever dance scene there was in the Greater Boston area. At one of these parties, I begged a DJ to play a favorite track, Timber ft Ke$ha, and I thought, “why should I have to beg someone to play my songs? I could be a DJ too.”
The question then became, how?
Have you ever noticed how when your mind is set on something that you suddenly find ways to make it happen? While out on a walk, I noticed a poster advertising classes at a school called MMMMAVEN DJ School. Why all the M’s? Maybe they like Hanson (MMMBop!). Who knows? But, there they were.
As I was working full time, my only option was to give up time on my weekends to attend this school. I jumped in with both feet and signed up. After completing their courses, my graduation ceremony was held at a bar called the Good Life. I was behind the decks, playing the tracks that moved my needle, life was good. Life then got in the way and I packed my equipment and moved back to Los Angeles, my home town.
It wasn’t long before my desire to DJ overtook me. Rather than plunging back into the scene, I eased myself in through the Scratch DJ Academy. And good thing I did because soon after graduating, I found myself appearing on DJ lineup flyers for clubs such as Broadway Bar where I became friends with many other DJs. I had arrived and was part of the scene.
Fast forward a few years, I’m getting gigs at places like James Beach in Venice, and suddenly the pandemic hits and all my gigs dry up. The way I saw it, I had two opportunities, hide in my apartment or use this time to pick up new skills.
Social media has let me make my voice heard to a larger audience of followers. I’ve been fully immersed in the TikTok and Twitch communities and my followers can find me practicing my craft on livestream. Some of my friends have called me the TikTok Queen. I’m OK with being confused with royalty. Maybe someday, I’ll get an interview with Oprah, but I also really want to end up on the The Dixie D’Amelio Show.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
By day, I am a product manager at a startup. It’s really exciting, knowing I’m making an impact on consumers and businesses. It’s never boring, and often-times absolutely exhilarating.
I’ve found strength in meditation as an effective way to work through my stress. Being immersed in the high tech world, I use apps like HabitShare to plan my alone time when I turn to meditation, journaling and exercise to round out my day. While I like to create content for TikTok, I’ve also learned useful skills from other TikTok creators about cool Excel tips or new ways to spend my time.
I live in two worlds. High tech by day, fashion and cultural innovation by night. My brand is always evolving as I seek out new ways to educate and entertain people. From my point of view, in the middle of the club scene, I can’t help but see what’s coming next. What’s in your clothes closet? Likely, I saw that grooving on the dance floor a year ago. Let me be your guide: I’ll clue you in on what’s coming next.
Lately, I’ve been researching Virtual Youtubing for my upcoming Virtual Youtuber debut. It’s all about live streaming as a VRoid (virtual humanoid avatar) character. Over the last month, I’ve been working with a designer on Fiverr to get my VRoid designed and have been learning the ins and outs of Virtual Youtubing and the software/hardware that makes it go.
Then, there’s my Youtube channel where I post episodes on Cook It Up, Santa Monica, where I show off some of my favorite vegetarian recipes. Check out my DJ WuWu YouTube channel if you are wondering what to make for dinner tonight. 🙂
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
As a Yelp Gold Elite, I am naturally inclined to keep up to date on fabulous spots in my area. I love the Murphy Ranch Trail. It is like an outdoor Stair Master, combined with a hike in the scenic hills above Pacific Palisades. The views are gorgeous and the graffiti art at the bottom of the trail is inspiring. In short, it gives a visitor a dose of what people like and how they express themselves in Los Angeles. If you go, bring your hiking boots, water bottles and a few snacks. This trail takes you a long way away from the nearest 7Eleven!
Everyone needs to go to Santa Monica beach and dip their toes in the sand and ocean. I love that refreshing feeling. And, the Santa Monica Pier is always bustling with interesting people and attractions.
H Salt Fish & Chips, located on Santa Monica Boulevard near South Westgate Avenue, and Percolate Tea, a nice boba shop next door, are a great combo. H Salt Fish & Chips is a friendly mom-and-pop shop that really satisfies my fish and chips cravings. Percolate Tea uses only the most natural ingredients in their Vintage Ceylon Milk Tea. It always hits the spot.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My success stems from my parents and their hard-working influence on me. My mom was always busy. She was a full-time accountant who taught Mandarin on weekends. Yet, my sister and I always felt her love and support. My dad also supports my creative pursuits, and has been there for me whenever I’ve needed him.
My parents raised us to be strong, independent women. They worry about us being out late. In light of the recent incidents towards Asian-Americans, they have a point. I’ve never let adversity keep me down before and I’m doing my best to work through the current situation and keep going the best I can.
A few years ago, I participated in the Miss Taiwanese American pageant where they recognized me as a Miss Taiwanese American Ambassador. That honor was a strong reflection on how my parents and my village raised me. That was a busy time when I enjoyed giving back through a few community-sponsored events.
I also have a strong community of friends and followers both in person and online. They keep me grounded and moving forward at the same time. Not every gig hits a home run, some dances on Tiktok looked better in my mind than they do on video.
Sometimes live-streaming on Twitch is no picnic especially when I’m tired from my day job. But nothing feels as good as it does when it all comes together the way I hoped it would. My friends keep me going and give me props for my hustle and determination.
I also have to thank David, author of www.awkwardauk.com, whom I met through Tiktok, for helping me shape my brand and this article. His daily blog posts share meaningful insights into his working experiences and travels.