We had the good fortune of connecting with Shengwen Wu and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shengwen, we’d love to hear what makes you happy.
There are lots of things that make me happy. But one of the most important things is music. Music is an universal language. When I first came to America, I barely spoke any English. I couldn’t make friends nor communicate, but I was able to play in band without a problem. Music helped me to be a part of a group and to start a new chapter of my life in America. During quarantine, practicing my instruments and making music is my biggest motivation in my daily life. There are so many things to learn and so much music to play. I can never get bored! I share my music videos on social media as well. It makes me happy to see that my music can bring people joy during difficult times.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a musician and a paper artist. I graduated from ASU in 2019, with my Doctor of Musical Arts degree. Even though my major is “Clarinet Performance”, I have also learned flute, saxophone and oboe during my time at school. Because of that, I was able to perform in different groups and to take gigs on different instruments. I played in many different styles of bands in phoenix area, and in musical theatres. I was a Dixieland jazz band (Lava Hot Jass Band) bandleader, and a reed musician (play clarinets, saxophones, piccolo and flute for musicals) at Arizona Broadway Theatre. I am also the clarinet instructor at Chandler- Gilbert Community College. After theatres and music venues shut down due to the pandemic, I have more free time to do more visual art. I started a few quilling projects. One of my most proud art is a piece that displays at a local restaurant — Sherpa Kitchen. The owner saved all the receipts during the shut down, I turned all the receipts into an art piece called “The Buddha Eyes”. It’s never a burden to learn more skills. They will be useful eventually.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
For activities, hiking of course. Some of my favorite hikes are Flat iron trail, Peralta trail, and the Mormon trail (on the 24th street. I hike there almost every single day!). I am a big foodie. There are too many great restaurants. But here are some of my favorite Asian restaurants: Sherpa Kitchen has very good Nepali food. Healthy and tasty. Tang Garden (in Tempe) has amazing fish dish. And there are many flavors to choose. Shaanxi Garden has delicious Chinese BBQ, and their noodles are sooooooo good. There are some other restaurants that I go often as well, such as Thai Basil, Mekong Sandwiches (the fried tofu banh mi is my favorite), Khai Hoan, Jin Shabu….
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?
Is it too greedy to dedicate my shoutout to all my friends and family?! First of course is my husband. We both are musicians and we play a lot of music together. He is a very intelligent person who can bring so many interesting ideas to our music making sessions. I really appreciate him. Second is my mentors and friends. When I have doubts about myself, I can always text or call any of them. I am very lucky to have many kind, supportive people in my life.
Bill Goodman, Jacob Spinney