Hard Work, Perseverance, Talent and Having A Brain for Business with Virtuoso Acoustic and Electric Cellist, Tina Guo

 

Musicians, especially those who provide scores for movies and TV shows, are most often hidden behind the scenes. However, today’s guest is very much in the spotlight, and her work with brands like Bentley has proven the importance of her music, talent and brand power. Today, Tara Joseph talks with virtuoso cellist/electric cellist, multi-instrumentalist, composer, and entrepreneur Tina Guo, about what fuelled her passion for music and how she started composing. She also recalls how she broke into the video game world and movie industry, performing and composing for some of the biggest games and movies of the last few years.  Learn more from this dynamic and entrepreneurial woman and hear how she also loves to pass her business acumen onto others.

Listen to the podcast here:

Hard Work, Perseverance, Talent and Having A Brain for Business with Virtuoso Acoustic and Electric Cellist, Tina Guo

Our guest is exceptionally talented. Signed to Sony Music, she has a career as a virtuoso, acoustic and electric cellist. She is also a multi-instrumentalist, composer and entrepreneur, and has performed in some of the leading venues of the world and tours as a featured solo artist with Hans Zimmer, as well as having performed alongside him on numerous occasions. Without further ado, let’s welcome to the show, Tina Guo. Tina, hi. How are you?

I’m great. How are you? Thank you for having me.

Absolute pleasure. Where are you right now? I always like to find out where everyone is.

I am right now in my kitchen in Studio City, Los Angeles. I was in Las Vegas before. We’re in the middle of moving over there, but back and forth.

I live in Sherman Oaks, so you’re down the road from me.

Yes, we’re neighbors.

It’s a huge honor to have you on the show. I’ve seen you perform live. You are extraordinarily talented. Tell us, how did this all start? Take us back to the beginning.

I was forced into the family trade. Both my parents are musicians and they’re music teachers. They still teach seven days a week from their home studio in San Diego. They have over 100 students between the two of them on a weekly basis, which is crazy. You can imagine growing up, all day and all night I would hear music coming from the living room, and my mom’s teaching room. It wasn’t something that was a question. It was just, “You’re going to play music,” and that’s it. It started out as something that wasn’t a choice for me. To be honest, it took me a very long time to try to find my own voice, my own way of using this physical tool.

The process of playing music is not necessarily artistic. It can be a purely physical thing where you learn the mechanisms and the mechanical things of how to play the instrument. There’s a big difference between that and then being able to harness that and turn that into something that’s creative and artistic. It took me a very long time to get there. I started piano when I was five. I played the violin for a very short time because I was terrible at it when I was six. Cello I started at age seven. It took until maybe when I was twenty years old, during college, that’s when I started to slowly find my own voice, my own way of expression through music.

Clearly, you must have had an incredible inbuilt talent to be able to achieve what you’ve achieved even though you obviously had to find your own voice. There must have just been something inbuilt within you.

I do think that for all humans, we have certain strengths and weaknesses and certain people do take to certain things faster. For example, when I played the violin, I was playing for almost a year and I cannot get past Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. How you hold the instrument, it didn’t feel natural to me. That is true, and then on the cello, it was a lot smoother and a lot faster. I also did practice 8 to 10 hours every day. I had no childhood. I was forced to practice for that long, locked in my room for usually about four hours at a time.

Did that not make you want to turn away from it rather than embrace it?

Absolutely. I hated playing the cello. It was something that I didn’t have a choice in. I’m always very honest when I talk about this because a lot of times people might want to look back and maybe see things with rose-colored glasses, which is always great. To be completely honest, the same way that a lot of Chinese families or Asian families, Russian circus families. It’s random, but I know a lot of Russian circus people because I used to be in the Cirque du Soleil as well. It’s normal that it’s a generational thing that people do, and you force your children, they don’t have a choice. You practice or you work out or whatever it is for 8 to 10 hours a day. I guarantee you, if any person with talent or not practice for 8 to 10 hours a day, you’ll become pretty good at something. I don’t know if the 10,000-hour rule applies to everything, but I feel like if I was forced to swim for 8 to 10 hours a day, I’d be a pretty fast swimmer. I’m not a very good swimmer.

Your parents must be very proud of you now for the success that you’ve achieved.

Yeah, I do think so. I don’t think they fully understand the type of music I chose to go into because they are more traditional, straight classical musicians. Over the years, maybe I’ve helped them loosen up a little bit in their view of what music should be.

When you have a potential client approaching you, the power dynamic is heavily shifted. Click To Tweet

What made you go from the classical route to the electric cello? You own that stage when you’ve got that electric cello. I’ve never seen anything like it and the audience were going crazy.

Thank you. I love it. If I were to psychoanalyze myself, one thing about me that is very innate, I don’t want to say aggressive, but I’m the type of person where if you tell me I shouldn’t do something, it’ll be the extreme opposite reaction. I’m very reactionary. I’m super emotional. My fiancé can tell you on a different podcast, how crazy it is with me in a relationship without a place to everything. Growing up in such a controlled, stifled environment, where I wasn’t allowed to go out and have many friendships. It was only school and practicing. If you count the hours in a day, if you practice eight hours a day and you go to school, there’s not much time for you. There was a lot of that teenage angst everybody has, but I think for me it was to the extreme. All of that rage, fury and frustration, maybe that’s what led me to be very attracted to heavier music, darker music because there’s a lot of that energy in it.

I feel like it’s a healthy way to express yourself as opposed to going to heavy drugs and drinking, which thankfully, I never ever experimented in. I’ve never been drunk, never drank, but as far as music, all of that intense laser energy of unresolved childhood issues, everything is focused into that. In a way, because all of these things are only expressed in one way, I do feel like that fueled a lot of my passion about music. As far as my attraction to industrial metal, which is probably my favorite genre of music and a lot of my own music on the electric cello is quite a bit of metal and industrial influence. It’s like, “Why does somebody like chocolate?”

I love it. I’m attracted to it. Maybe it was because of that. Maybe it was just something I was born you know, being attracted to. I’ve always loved everything dark and gothic and maybe alternative. That was exacerbated because of the environment that I was raised in. Maybe if my parents were super relaxed and they force me to do anything, perhaps I would be into a different type of music, but that’s the direction that drew me in. I still enjoy classical music. I play classical music, new age and other genres. That’s the wonderful thing is that there are so many different ways of expression.

You went to the Thornton School of Music at USC, which is one of the best in the world. With that training that you’ve got through your parents, you’ve got an innate classical understanding of your instrument. Therefore, branching out and playing an electric cello or doing anything else that you ever wanted to do when you have that sort of grounding, it sets you up for life, doesn’t it?

Absolutely. When people ask me about playing electric instruments, I always do say, not to sound old fashioned, but truly the base, having that good foundation and the solid classical plane will help make everything else easier. I have to be honest with you, playing the electric cello is probably 90% easier than playing the classical cello for various reasons, but it is not as difficult. Playing standing, which I do takes a little bit of time to get used to but as far as the actual sound production and all that, you can fudge and make up for. The classical instrument is super raw. It’s just you and a piece of wood with some metal strung on it. There’s no fudging around with that.

One of the things that you specialize in, is giving career consultations for musicians. That’s part of your entrepreneurial side, I believe. Is that when you’re telling people you must have a classical training first or is that more on the business side of everything? Is it both?

Not so much. To be honest with you making a living or any type of thing that resembles a living in. pure classical music is extremely difficult. It has always been extremely difficult. Back in the golden age of what we considered Europeans art, music, classical music, classical musicians were, for the most part, always dependent on patrons. They were never financially independent. You needed a wealthy prince or a king or a church to hire you. For me, I’m very passionate about being self-sufficient and about being your own boss, if that’s possible. Most of my career consultation sessions are about building a career. It does involve other investments and other suggestions, outside of just music.

Right now, because of the way social media is and everything beyond the internet, it is easier than ever to reach a lot of people. Great technology, podcasts, YouTube, and I just try to help some of these mostly classically trained musicians who have no idea what to do. All they know how to do is to practice in a room, go to orchestral auditions. There’s maybe one opening in a major symphony every 2, 3 years, and that’s a maybe. It’s difficult to not have to go into some other fields because it’s impossible to make a living. There are ways if you’re able to brand yourself, if you’re able to stand out in some way, find a particular niche or something to specialize in. I meet with whoever asked for consultation sessions. We analyze what they’re doing, maybe find some ideas and suggestions on how they can make money.

I love that you do this. I think more artists should do what you do. It’s admirable. If people would like to come to you for advice, how do they find you? Do you have a website where they can contact you?

Yes, I do. My website is my name, TinaGuo.com. There’s a contact page. For any consultations, recording session requests, live performance requests all go through that and that goes directly to the office email.

One of the things I’m excited to talk to you about, and I saw when I was at your show, was that there were a lot of people in the audience who were big gamers, playing video games. You have composed for video games. You’ve also performed on many video games. What an exciting world to be in, how did you break into that? In a way, it’s quite a niche, but I would say that everyone will be super jealous because they’ll want to be doing it as well, but they’re not all you.

It happened by accident, just like how I got into soundtrack scoring. Living in Los Angeles and going to USC, which is in LA, I feel like everybody here is involved in the gaming, movie or music industry in some way. It simply started out where I was doing recording sessions as a student for $15 an hour for student composers. I don’t even know how it happened. I think it’s by word of mouth. I never self-advertised at that point but this was back in 2004, 2005 when I was in college. I never finished school. I left because things got too busy, so I wasn’t able to balance everything. While I was in school for those 2.5 years, I got some experience in the studio. It was by word of mouth by different people.

The first major video game that I was featured on so not in the orchestra, but as a solo instrumentalist was for Journey, which was the first video game’s soundtrack that was nominated for a Grammy for Best Soundtrack. That was with my friend Austin Wintory who I’m still working with to this day. I’ve also done a lot of self-marketing. I didn’t know that I was doing self-marketing, but I’ve always been a very passionate Facebooker and a later Instagrammer. I’m constantly sharing when I’m practicing at home, I’ll post little videos. When I do session work, I’ll post that and things I think will happen organically if you’re truly obsessively focused on something and always sharing about something from a genuine place. People will see it and be like, “We should have Tina play because she’s constantly posting about herself practicing or recording.”

I do tell my consultation clients that everybody has a different networking style. For me, I’m not an anti-networker, but I’ve never emailed anybody. I’ve never reached out to anybody. I don’t go to networking events, everything. I tried to dangle the carrot is what you say. I try to make my carrots, my product, my brand as attractive as possible, as interesting as possible. I share my music and stuff constantly. I think it just brings an organic audience of people who are genuinely interested and then they approach me. When you have a potential client approaching you, the power dynamic is heavily shifted. Instead of you begging somebody else to work with you, it’s them approaching you to ask you to work with them. That’s my general overall theme.

LLL Tina Guo | Super Talented Musician
Super Talented Musician: Music can be a healthy way of expressing yourself.

 

You have a couple of incredibly high-end brand partnerships with one, the Bentley Motors. Two, the Ritz-Carlton. You don’t get much higher-end than that. That says a lot about who you are and the talent that you have and the branding. Having that brand partnership doesn’t come along every day. It doesn’t come along to most people so that says a lot about the artistry that you have and the sophistication of your art.

Thank you, I appreciate that. I’m very grateful. The Bentley partnership, in this day and age is crazy. The Marketing Director of Bentley, he’s since now been promoted to another position that’s even fancier sounding but he came to one of my Game On! Shows. The same show that you saw at the El Rey Theatre, in Los Angeles. He came with his mother and a couple of co-workers. They flew from Manchester. He was there, but he didn’t come say hi afterwards. He DMed me on Instagram, but I didn’t see the DM because I don’t see messages from people I’m not following.

Eventually, he wrote to me through my website, which is probably the best place and asked if I’d be interested in a partnership. I literally don’t have a publicist. It’s the creation and the sharing of my art, my music. The fact that I am a little bit of a workaholic. I’m trying to find more balance on that, but I don’t have much of social life, because work makes me happy. I do need to work on that a little bit, but I’m basically working, eating or sleeping. I think the constant output of products, music and compositions, perhaps that’s what you drive this energy. I’m big into manifesting energy, but manifesting is not just thinking, “I want this to happen.” It is actual work.

Manifesting works though. I think it does work when you put that energy out there. Whether it be good or bad, things happen.

I’m a very logical person. I say, “I’m not into fru fru stuff,” but I have to say manifestation of everything. For me, it’s crazy to think about this because when I came to LA, as a student, I had no money. I had no car. I didn’t even have a cello. I had to borrow the instrument from the school. After I left USC, I was working, but I was so poor that I was literally living in half a garage. The other half had a car parked in from the landlord. It makes me appreciate things, but it also made me crazily obsessed with trying to get myself out of that situation. That was also a big part of my motivation to work. I truly believe that making music and making art, that’s only maybe 50% of it. This is only my perspective, but the other half of what you mentioned about brand partnerships and branding.

I know a lot of musicians and artists, even my friends, they’re really against it like, “That’s selling out.” That’s totally okay. It’s whatever each person is comfortable with. For me, because I came from a messed up impoverished start, I’ve always been obsessed with, “I need money. I need to be secured.” Half of my focus or sometimes maybe 65% is all in the business and logistical side. Being organized, prepared, and getting back to people if people reach out to you. I hire musicians myself. Sometimes, they don’t get back to you for 3 or 4 days. Maybe that’s normal for some people, but for me, it’s trying to be, whatever professional means, but very on top of everything because things are moving so quickly. If you don’t get back to the people right away, you might lose them.

I totally agree with you because I’m all about an email. Some people say I send too many emails. I like to communicate and it’s so much easier to respond and have three other follow-up emails from this person. Simply because you haven’t gotten back to them. It’s much easier to respond and say, “Thank you,” even if you haven’t got that much to say.

I try to understand everybody’s different perspectives and where they’re coming from. I have some very talented, far more talented than me. I’m not just saying that to be modest, better musicians than I am but they don’t have the business mind. It’s impossible to make any type of actual viable career if you don’t focus on that. Because if you’re making amazing music in your room ten hours a day, but nobody hears it or sees it, there’s that bit of disconnect. If you’re doing it for the passion of it and you don’t have a different day job or something else, that’s fine. It’s a completely different universe if you’re trying to take your music and somehow forge or craft an actual viable career out of it.

Musicians could really learn about a lot from you. I’m learning a lot from you. A lot of people that go into this industry, a lot of youngsters who signed the wrong contracts and get themselves into terrible pickles and then it costs them a lot of money. To have the insight and the foresight that you have, that can help a lot of people stay away from those kinds of situations. I hope you get inundated with people wanting to come and have your entrepreneurial consulting sessions. If I was a young musician, I’d come to you for sure.

It’s all about self-sufficiency. Even if you’re signed to a label, which I am now after self-releasing ten albums by myself. I don’t know how I managed to make that work. I was scrounging and saving, but it’s still important to understand at least at a basic level legal thing, contractual things. Because if you let somebody else do it and you’re completely fine to what’s going on, no matter how wonderful a person is, they have their own lives, families, businesses. They have 200 other clients. You will never be more important to somebody else than you are to yourself.

I tell people, “Take responsibility. Make sure you learn about the basic things. If you get a contract, don’t just send it off to a lawyer. Try to at least understand it.” You don’t have to take it to the extreme like me where I’m literally reading like legal books and stuff like that trying to micro analyze everything but to have a general know-how. You should be able to edit your own music videos. You should at least know basic editing for photos and video because it is easy. It’s so inexpensive. There’s no excuse to not know how to do that and it makes it easier for you to make art you know and share.

Tell me a little bit more about your composing. Tell me who you’ve composed for, how you go about composing because I’m sure that some of the readers out there who may want to be composers or just interested in learning about that process would love to hear your words of wisdom. Also, throw some names out there of people you’ve worked with.

As far as composing, I started writing classical music when I was 9 or 10 years old. My father being the Chinese tiger parent who would enter me into all these cello competitions and composing competition. I started doing that from a young age. The music that I wrote at the time, I don’t know what it is, but it’s like film score, soundings type stuff. It was already in there, even from a young age, but I didn’t have time to focus a lot on composing because I was so busy trying to make money from playing cello and doing that for many years. It was a side thing. I would write some pieces of music occasionally when I was inspired.

There was an era in my twenties where I would wake up and hear a melody in my head. That used to happen very often. Now I just wake up and I think about all the business things I have to do, so that blocks it a little bit. I would just record things. As far as the composition, it’s something where people have reached out to me and said, “I’ve heard some of your music.” Three or four of my albums, a lot of the music I wrote myself. They said, “I heard this album. I would love for you to compose music for my project.” That’s how it’s happened. Everything goes back to the same thing that I always say, which is creating your carrot and making your carrot attractive, so all the bunnies come. That way, you don’t have to shove your carrot in people’s faces and say, “Please eat it.”

By accident, I have a lot of musical samples out there in different styles. I did a cello metal album called Cello Metal. Five of the tracks on there are original music. I have a bunch of classical new age crossover albums of music that I’ve written. For example, with my Bentley partnership, I wrote the music for the new Bentayga Hybrid’s commercial. That was a part of the partnerships on the brand partner. I had to perform at a few events. I also compose music for their commercial. For my partnership with the Ritz-Carlton, amazing company and wonderful people, I’m about to premiere the four soundtracks that I compose for them in South Beach at the reopening of their property there. We’re in the middle of having meetings and working all that out.

Focus inward, not outward because focusing outward is desperate energy. Click To Tweet

What that partnership is for the first year, I visited four different cities. I get inspired by the scenography in the hotel, the city and explore. I come back and I compose a piece of music that’s inspired by the visit. That’s something that’s very non-traditional, but again, something that’s beautiful and amazing. As far as telling people how to do it, I didn’t reach out to anyone. I didn’t ask them to work together. I know I sound like a broken record, but I’m always telling people, you have to focus inward, not outward. Because when you focus outward, it’s desperate energy. If you focus inward and try to build and to be able to have a huge portfolio of what you can offer, hopefully, somebody likes it and is interested by or is at least impressed by how obsessed you are. You’re creating and manifesting that constant energy, that output.

Every time you create something, every time you post something, you’re sending your energy waves out there. It’s like these constant waves and that’s at least how I see it. At some point, hopefully, somebody will get caught in it and say, “What’s that? What’s her stuff? Let me go look at her videos or her music.” As far as soundtracks, the Wonder Woman’s main theme, it sounds like an electric guitar, but that is the electric cello. That was Hans Zimmer and me. I recorded for the new Wonder Woman movie. I’ve been working on Top Gun. All of these different projects, I do work with Hans a lot. Again, people ask me, “How did you meet Hans?” “He saw one of my music videos on YouTube.” That’s how we met.

I was having a meeting at Hans Zimmer’s company and they said, “We’re doing Wonder Woman and Top Gun,” and they specifically mentioned that they were working with you in a lovely and enthusiastic complimentary way. Hans Zimmer, you work with him a lot. Tell us a little bit more about that relationship.

Hans is an amazing friend. Almost like a father or brother, but definitely a mentor. I’ve been working with him for over ten years. The very first film we worked on together was Sherlock Holmes, where I recorded some acoustic cello, not electric cello solos. This happened after he saw my Queen Bee music video, which was the very first music video that I ever made. It was a metal video. It was deemed eighteen and up on YouTube, so if anyone’s curious to see that you have to sign in. It’s very artistic. A lot of the visuals in that video was during the period where I had a lot of dreams about visual things. I woke up from a dream and I had these crazy ideas. We weren’t able to pull off a lot of them because of the budget restrictions. I spent every penny I had in my savings account to make that video. My main goal of releasing that first music video was I was hoping Ramstein, my favorite industrial metal band, would maybe see the video or maybe Metallica or some of these metal acts and they would invite me.

You won an award for that video, right?

I think it was in Downtown LA.

Yes, a Downtown LA Film Festival. I learned that from your bio.

It was funny because my intention with that music video, my manifestation was I want to play with a metal band. I want to be a metal artist, but somehow it wasn’t just Hans. It was also John Debney, who saw that music video. He’s the composer for the Passion of the Christ, Jungle Book, Iron Man 2, which was what I ended up playing on that soundtracks. He also saw the video and said, “I was going to have an electric guitar player shred some guitar solos over the soundtrack. Why don’t we have you do it instead? Because that’s weird and it’s a different instrument.” That video, two weeks after it was released led to work, which is good because I didn’t know how I was going to pay my rent. I was renting a room in someone’s house, but it was still too much because I spent all the money that I had. That video kickstarted my soundtrack recording career as a solo artist.

What can we expect to see next from Tina Guo? What can we look out for because you’ve got so much going on? We don’t want to miss any of it.

I try to keep my social media very updated, so Instagram and Facebook. I’m not on Twitter so much but I do post on there. I am working on my new solo album, my second album through Sony Music. I am also writing music as a composer for a library company called Extreme Music. They license the trailers of music that you hear in movies or tv shows that are prewritten. I’m working on that as well. I’m continuing my Ritz-Carlton partnership and then doing all of my sessions with different movies and video game projects, which some of them I can’t talk about because of NDAs. I also do try to share day-to-day stuff. We’re moving and so I’ve been posting random stuff on my Instagram stories, finding furniture. My fiancé and I went to IKEA in Las Vegas seven times back and forth.

How stressful.

For me, I like stress. I like that type of stress. It’s exciting. We’re completely exhausted. We’ve been back and forth from LA to Las Vegas four times.

Do you drive?

We drove on our last trip at 3:00 AM. We flew on the trip before that. When I feel like I’m being productive and I’m putting energy out, it gives me a lot of joy and I feel happy when I’m productive. Don’t get me wrong, I love to watch Netflix and stuff, but if I do it for over a couple of hours, I start feeling very anxious and feel like I’m wasting my life away. That’s just for me, but for me, personally, I’m very happy when I feel productive whether it’s music or finding new furniture it’s exciting.

It’s been an absolute joy having you on La La Landed. We’d love to have you back on at a later date when you’re maybe promoting your album or something like that. To all of our readers out there, if you’ve got any questions for Tina, you can contact her through her website. Good luck with everything, with the move and furniture hunting. I’ll be checking out what’s going on in Instagram and all your social so I can keep up to date.

LLL Tina Guo | Super Talented Musician
Super Talented Musician: Manifesting energy is not just thinking but actual work.

 

Thank you so much. I appreciate it.

Thank you to all of our readers. You’ll be hearing from La La Landed again. For now, that’s goodbye from me.

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About Tina Guo

LLL Tina Guo | Super Talented MusicianInternationally acclaimed, GRAMMY Award-nominated and BRIT Female Artist of the Year-nominated musician Tina Guo has established an international career as a virtuoso acoustic/electric cellist, multi-instrumentalist, composer, and entrepreneur.

Known for her unique genre-crossing style, she is one of the most recorded Solo Cellists of all time and can be heard on hundreds of Blockbuster Film, Television, and Game Soundtracks.

In 2018, Tina signed as an official brand partner with Bentley Motors, composing, performing, and producing original soundtrack for the new Bentayga Hybrid.  In 2019, Tina began her exclusive partnership with the Ritz-Carlton and is creating custom soundtracks inspired by their destinations — New Orleans, Dove Mountain, Toronto and Maui will be released in Spring 2020.The Tina Guo Sample Libraries by Cinesamples is one of the most popular cello solo libraries available on the market today: Volumes 1 and 2 are available now. Tina also introduced a line of Fine Acoustic Cellos, Carbon Fiber Cello Cases, Cello Pick-Ups, and Bows for Violin, Viola, and Cello known for their customized bow material and selection of hair colors for a truly bespoke musical instrument. Learn more about Tina Guo Strings here.

Tina is passionate about financial planning and also offers career consultation sessions for musicians and creatives covering everything from sustainable career growth to branding, wealth building, bookkeeping, stage presence, performance, studio etiquette, time management, and DIY in today’s music business climate.

As a classical soloist, Tina’s engagements with orchestras around the world include the San Diego Symphony, the State of Mexico National Symphony, the Thessaloniki State Symphony in Greece, the Petrobras Symphony in Brazil, and the Vancouver Island Symphony in British Columbia. She collaborated with violinist Midori Goto in Dvorak’s American String Quartet at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, and completed four national tours of Mexico and Italy performing the Shostakovich, Dvorak, Haydn, and Saint-Saëns Cello Concertos.

Tina completed an acoustic tour and two sold-out performances at Carnegie Hall with Blues Legend Joe Bonamassa and the live album from the Carnegie Hall concert reached #1 on the Blues Billboard Charts.  2016-Present, Tina tours as a featured soloist with Hans Zimmer Live.

Tina was featured in commercials for Mazda and United Airlines, and a soloist in Cirque Du Soleil’s Michael Jackson “The Immortal” World Tour from 2011-2013 performing in sold out arenas around the world.  The tour performed to over 3.7 million people and is one of the highest grossing tours of all time.  Tina is featured on the Epic Records release “Immortal,” replacing the original guitar solo in “Beat It” with an Electric Cello/Guitar Battle-style duet with guitarist Greg Howe.  She performed with Skrillex, Dplo, and Justin Bieber at the 2016 Grammy Awards.
Tina performed alongside Hans Zimmer at the Premiere of Inception, and at a concert celebrating Kung Fu Panda 2 for Dreamworks. She was a featured performer at the League of Legends World Championship at a sold-out Staples Center in Los Angeles and an audience of 33 million streaming online. Tina was featured on the Electric Cello with The Crystal Method, Wes Borland (Limp Bizkit), Danny Lohner (NIN), Joe Letz (Combichrist), and the Hollywood Scoring Orchestra.  She has also been a featured performer at Comic Con, Blizzcon, and with Video Games Live.  Tina toured Europe with Guitar Virtuoso Al Di Meola, who is also one of the featured guests on her album “Cello Metal.”  In 2019, Tina performed on the Main Stage of Wacken, the world’s largest metal festival, with Sabaton and Beyond the Black.

Tina has been featured as a soloist on the scores of Cyberpunk 2077, Wonder Woman, Dunkirk, Sherlock Holmes, The Lion King (2019), Inception, Iron Man 2, Batman vs Superman, Pirates of the Caribbean 5, Boss Baby, The Monkey King 2, Clash of the Titans, Red Riding Hood, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, Olympus Has Fallen, Escape Plan, CSI:NY, Vikings, The Borgias, Sleepy Hollow, Dominion, Iron Chef, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (as Octavia,) League of Legends, Blizzard’s Diablo III and Hearthstone, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, III, and IV, Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2, Shadow of the Beast, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, Extinction, Revelation Online by Chinese game giant Netease, and Journey, which was nominated for a Grammy for Best Score Soundtrack. Tina has also recorded for the soundtracks of Kung Fu Panda 3, Hancock, Battle: Los Angeles, The Hangover Part II, Predators, Fast Five, Arthur, No Strings Attached, Beginners, Public Enemies, Rango, The Rite, X-Men: First Class, Your Highness, Yogi Bear, The Mentalist, Family Guy, American Dad, The Cleveland Show, King of the Hill, commercials for Apple iPhone, Under Armour, and many others.  Tina contributed Electric Cello to the creation of elements that were used to create the sound of the Kaijus in Pacific Rim.  Her arrangement and performance of “The Flight of the Bumble-Bee” was featured in the end credits for The Heartbreak Kid.  Tina composed music for the feature film Persecuted and has many compositions licensed into TV and Film projects.

Tina was featured on The Ellen DeGeneres Show playing “Beat It” and also performed at the American Country Music Awards and American Music Awards with Carrie Underwood, on Dancing with the Stars with Carlos Santana and India Arie, Jimmy Kimmel Live with Ellie Goulding, the Lopez Show with Far East Movement, the Grammy Awards with the Foo Fighters, at the MTV Movie Awards, on American Idol, with the Battlestar Galactica Orchestra, and with Brazilian guitarist Victor Biglione in a Jimi Hendrix Tribute Concert at the Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro.  She has performed at the Sundance Film Festival, the Playboy Mansion, and has shared the stage with Adele, Pharrell, Alicia Keys, Steven Tyler, Katie Perry, The Tenors, Stevie Wonder, Peter Gabriel, Josh Groban, John Legend, LeAnn Rhimes, Chris Isaak, Il Divo, Ariana Grande, Lupe Fiasco, Common, Jennifer Hudson, and Michael McDonald.  Corporate clients have included Bentley Motors, Cartier, The Ritz-Carlton, AMC, Microsoft, Apple, Cephalon Biopharmaceutics, Adecco, KPMG, Nuskin, and the PGA.  Tina was a featured performer at the Cartier High Jewelry Gala in New York City, and has recorded on hundreds of albums, with artists such as John Legend, Ciara, 3 Doors Down, Jordan Smith, David Archuleta, and Big K.R.I.T.

Tina’s musical education began at the age of 3, when she began her piano studies in Shanghai, China. After coming to America at the age of 5, she began violin lessons with her mother and later began studying the cello under the instruction of her father, Lu-Yan Guo at the age of 7. Tina continued her professional cello studies with Eleonore Schoenfeld at the the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music on full scholarship, and was also a Governor’s Scholar for academic excellence.

Tina’s Music Video for “Queen Bee” won Best Short Film/Music Video at the Downtown Los Angeles Film Festival.  Her songs “Queen Bee” and “Forbidden City” are also available for download to play for Rockband on Xbox 360 and PlayStation.  Metal Hammer Magazine UK described Tina as “an international sensation” and she was also featured in Glamour Magazine Russia and Official Playstation Magazine.  Tina was the 2014 Innovation Award Recipient from the Asian Heritage Awards, named “Instrumentalist of the Year” at the 2015 Los Angeles Music Awards, and won in the New Age Category at the 2016 Hollywood Music in Media Awards.  She was nominated for Best New Age Album at the 2017 Grammy Awards, and Female Artist of the Year at the 2018 Classic BRIT Awards.

Tina has provided music as a Composer and Producer for Bentley, the Ritz-Carlton, Mercedes, Call of Duty: Ghosts MTX 4, the Official Launch Trailer for video game ArchAge “A Way Home,” and the Official Trailer for feature film “The Best Offer.”  Her music can be heard on WWE Smackdown, WWE Monday Night Raw, NHL Rivals, Chopped, Mission October on Fox Sports, Inside the PGA Tour, Road to Ferrari, and Against the Odds on the American Heroes Channel.  In 2015, she released a Charity album with  13 film/tv/media composers:   “Tina Guo & Composers for Charity.”  100% of the proceeds from the album go directly to Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation in support of music education.
In 2016, Tina signed an exclusive recording contract with Sony Music after self releasing 9 albums through her own label, and her debut Sony album “GAME ON!” was released in 2017. She is currently working on her second Sony album for 2020.

Tina performs on her Gand & Bernadel Cello made in Paris, France in 1880. On electric cello, she plays a customized Yamaha SVC-210 as a Yamaha Performing Artist.  Tina also plays an Erhu made in Shanghai, China.

Tina endorses Yamaha, Line 6, Output, Sennheiser, Samson, and Analysis Plus Cables. https://www.instagram.com/tinaguo/?hl=enwww.tinaguo.com

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