Credits: Jason Fenmore
West Torrance High School

The big Elephante in the room

Harvard University was where Tim Wu graduated from, with a major in economics, but it was also “where I learned that if you want something bad enough, you’ll find time and a way to make it work around everything else in your life.” However, unlike most Harvard graduates, he is not talking about his passion in business or STEM.

Following graduation, Wu worked a corporate job, riddled with “endless spreadsheets” and a demanding workload, as he couldn’t wait to get out of the office and do what he loved— music. In the beginning, it was just playing at open mics and making his friends listen to his songs. Wu tried every trick in the book to leave work early, all so that he could make music on his own time.

It was through his consistently failed efforts of trying to appropriate himself into his corporate work environment that he decided he just couldn’t do it anymore.

Wu said, “Quitting my job wasn’t really a “choice” for me. I tried my hardest to fit into a life that wasn’t mine, and I knew I was never going to be happy if I kept down that path.”

That was when he flipped the switch and decided to go full-time into music under the stage name of Elephante. After a few years of being in the music scene, Wu has been noticed for his masterful remixes of songs.

This Michigan-born DJ is rising and is not one of those obscure artists, he’s out there with some really good music. Well, that’s at least what his fan base says, as his following has reached more than 1 million listeners from just SoundCloud and Spotify combined. Fans just keep coming back to his house anthem beats, coupled with a truly unique style.

In the beginning though, Wu thought he would be a “Calvin Harris overnight”, and it was that naivety that led him to make such a risky career choice.

He even said, “if I knew how much I would have to do and how many things would have to break [or go] my way for me to get where I am, I would have said no chance and never even given it a shot.” In the end, though, if it pays off, it’s all rather quite worth the effort.

Tim Wu at one of his live concerts. Credits: Christian Bordeau Photography

Wu is fresh off his “I Am The Elephante” tour, in which he played straight of his 2016-released EP, “I Am The Elephante.” After building a career off of remixes of popular songs, Elephante commented on how the EP was the first thing he released that was really his own.

He said, “The EP was really about putting a flag in the ground creatively, and showing the world ‘this is me.’”

He also humorously made the analogy, “Releasing music into the world is kind of like telling someone you love them for the first time. Like, please, dear god, say you love me too, or my soul is going to be absolutely crushed. So, to see all the love and kind words from people was the most gratifying, how-am-I-possibly-this-lucky-kind of feeling.”

At the same time, more work goes into being a DJ than playing music and having a great time. Unfortunately, a lot of it is waiting around in airports for flights and getting a couple of hours of rest at hotels.

Elephante uses Ableton Live to produce his music, and what makes everything worth it is.

“That magical moment, where you put your head down and you lose track of time, and then you come out of a trance. [Then] there’s this thing that exists in this world that didn’t exist just a few hours earlier. Like there are 7 billion people in the world, but somehow I’ve contributed something unique to the universe,” he said.

Elephante is looking towards much more in the rest of 2017. Back in May, Wu released “Troubled,” featuring Deb’s Daughter, the single that will lead his next project. He is also going to begin his next tour late July, so be sure to check out all the info on his website.

Wu took a risky path, quit a job that had good pay and job security, in order to pursue a passion. Of course, it was tough to do it, but in the end, Wu has some big goals.

He said that down the line he looks towards, “a billion dollars, a couple Grammy’s, and a Nobel Peace Prize— dream big.”

If you ever meet Wu, he might “nerd out” and bore you to sleep talking about music production. If you watch his Snapchat Story, you’ll also be acquainted with Oscar the orange tree. With all that, give his “I Am The Elephante” EP a listen below and stay tuned for more from the up and coming DJ.