We had the good fortune of connecting with Norvin Tu-Wang and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Norvin, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risk has its many facets to me. It means failure to meet my goals, challenges and applied costs that I would have to take. It also brings opportunities with rewards, self-improvement and personal growth. I wonder sometimes but I also ponder over challenges. New challenge brings me the opportunity to jump out of my comfort zone,learn new things and grow. I think these risks really make me who I am today. Every decision people make in life brings risks and opportunities. I think the most valuable rewarding I have gained from these risks is not only the results but the process of getting myself fully prepared for the risks, the deep belief in myself and the never-give-up attitude.
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.
Yes. Thank you so much having me here. Such a great honor. I am a film orchestrator, a copyist and a music composer for films/TVs. I am also an EDM producer and a DJ myself as well, mainly for future house/bounce & progressive house. There are two parts of my story. 😀 I started learning to play piano when I was three and start composition at the age of seven. I was very lucky that my composition professor in middle/high school, Dr. ZhiTong Xu, is also a very successful Film & TV composer in China. That’s how I got my foot step into the Film Scoring industry in China. I moved to the U.S. for college about 6 years ago. I completed my undergraduate study in Music Composition at Johns Hopkins University (Peabody Institute) with a bachelor’s degree in Music??. I was very luck to work as an intern at film composer Michael A. Levine’s studio in my junior year. This eventually helped me accepted by the USC SMPTV (Scoring for Motion Pictures and TV??) program as a graduate, where I think it really helped me to hone my skills and made me better prepared for my future career. I’ve been working as a film orchestrator and copyist since then. There is another interesting part of my career story. People are often surprised when I tell them I am also an EDM producer and a DJ myself as well since most of the film scoring I’ve done are very orchestral dominated, which sounds completely different from my EDM tracks. It is exciting but also risk taking since they are completely different career paths as I mentioned in the previous question. I’ve always been a big fan of EDM music since college. That was how I met my producer partner John during a set ??he performed. He was a doctoral student doing research in materials science back then at Johns Hopkins University too. And one day John came up to me and asked, “Hey, I have this idea about a song. Would you like to write a song together?”As I mentioned previously, there’s always a risk for everything. Although we both love EDM and probably have listened thousand of tracks, neither of us ever wrote any EDM track before. And I barely use synthesiser back then. All of the musical works I’ve done were either chamber music or orchestral music. It is fairly new challenge. We just kept writing tracks and learning new stuff, and eventually we started an artist group called FrogMonster about 2 years ago. I am so happy and grateful that one of the songs we wrote, “Remember Our Summer”, went viral on Douyin (a Chinese version of Tiktok). It reached 500 million of streaming a few months ago. So I believe there is always a road up ahead as long as you have a dream, thrive on efforts, take on opportunity and never give up. Imagine if I said no to John back then because I was too afraid to take a risk to write a song in a genre I was not familiar with, that song would probably never come out and I might still have no idea how to use synthesiser by now. This definitely has great influence later on in my film scoring career too. I am so thankful of the great adverture I had through this, which shows me the direction of many more possibilities for future.
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.
I always like hiking. One thing I found California very charming is that there are so many beautiful hiking trails. I guess every composer might be stuck in the situation at least once in their life time that their “creative juice” runs out. Hiking for me is always the cure. Those beautiful, quiet, gorgeous scenic views really calm me down when I am struggling with pressures and deadlines, and inspires my writing all the time.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are so many people I want to thank to. I don’t think I’d become who I am today without their help. I really would like to say special thanks to composer Michael A. Levine, who mentored me during the summer of my junior year at Johns Hopkins University. Back then I was working as a part time film orchestrator in China. And I am really interested in the music business at Hollywood. But I really didn’t know anyone. Michael was very gracious to have me as his intern during that summer and helped me, guided me and showed me how music business works here in LA. There are so many things I learned during that summer and I still find it very useful to me today on a daily basis.