We had the good fortune of connecting with Ruiqi Zhao and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Ruiqi, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
Doing something creative has always been my passion. When I was young, I tried so many things that might be a potential for me to pursue in the future. I learned piano, vocal performance, dancing and everything. I just find myself really attracted by artistic stuff. I am always really intrigued to learn new skills that are creation-related or art-related. In addition, I think doing something artistic and creative can express and release my feelings and emotions in a good and healthy way. I feel like I can find my true self when I do these stuff. At first, I love everything that is art- related expect painting.(It’s not in my gene for sure haha). Sometimes I hate that life is too short to explore everything I like.

Growing from an Asian family, pursing artistic career is not a good choice from my parents perspectives. They think it is not stable. I tried so hard to persuade them to agree my thoughts and my own path that I chose for myself. An artistic career requires tons of creation, which I believe will bring more possibility into my life.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a film music composer. After I graduated from Eastman School of Music, I moved to LA to work as a film composer. And then, I worked for Nathan Wang as an arranger and score producer. We worked on On Gold Mountain together, an opera that is now being performed in Huntington Beach Library! In addition, we are working on a movie called One True Loves, starring by Simu Liu. It will be released soon in 2022! And my music will also be featured in a Podcast called Dark Side of The Web, which is now on Apple Podcast. It is about a fictional account of real risks for kids and vulnerable people online. Each episode will dive into a new risk packed into a dramatic audio story. So excited to be working on this one! Besides, I am working on some projects from China, including scoring for TV shows arranging songs for TV Channels. Besides, I am really into songwriting, I just released my single called Passenger on Spotify. It was really fun being the songwriter and the singer that same time! I joined a Label company as well to distribute my original songs.

I specialized in composing, arranging, orchestration, score preparation, and singing. I think what is special about me is that I am able to get access to different cultures and intertwine different elements in my music. And I try to be as versatile as I can. I am eager to learn and improve myself in many ways. Now I am a violin beginner. Another journey to explore!

There were a lot of struggles along the way. First, when I was back at Eastman School of Music, as an international student, I was too afraid to talk to people because of my limited English speaking skills. After graduating, I moved to LA, it is pretty stressful to find a job to maintain a legal identity in the United States as a foreigner. I was really anxious at that time. I just kept telling myself I am unbreakable, determined and I can do it. I kept stepping out of my comfort zone and push myself to overcome each challenge I met. In terms of the lesson I have learned, after I graduated, I realized networking and socializing is also a crucial skill in order to succeed. Being a good student and just good at skillet is not enough.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I think Santa Monica would be a great place to hang out. We can go to the beaches there and enjoy the sunshine. If we can go farther, we can go to Hollywood Bowl and watch some shows. In addition, we can visit some museums together.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
First of all, I have to say the most important person in my life is my father. I won’t achieve anything without his support. At first, he didn’t agree with me on doing a job that is art-related. However, he respected my choice and gave me a lot of encouragement. He was really supportive of me exploring the stuff I really like. He was there to say congratulations when I was a few steps closer to my goal and to give suggestions when I met some obstacles. He is the reason of me being strong and always chasing my goal without looking back.

Second, when I was at Eastman School of Music, doing my Master Degree of Contemporary Media and Film Composition, I got a lot of support from my professors such as Mark Watters and all of my classmates. It was the first time I have ever been to the US. With all the culture difference and the pressure of school stuff, I won’t go this far without their support.

Third, I want to thank Jeff Beal who is the sponsor of our program at Eastman. He is the composer of the Netflix Show, House Of Cards. After we graduate, he offered us to stay in his old property in Los Angeles with great recording places, which is super helpful in terms of alleviating our financial pressure. And he also introduced us to people in the industry to so that we can have a chance to get great projects. I cannot be more thankful of his generosity.

Website: zhaoruiqi.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ruiqimusic/

Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/zhaoruiqi

Other: SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/ruiqi-zhao

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