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Meet Richard Tao Wang of 6th Street Music in Koreatown

Today we’d like to introduce you to Richard Tao Wang.

Richard Tao, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
For most of my life, I had a pretty narrow idea of the career options I had as an adult. I either was going to be an engineer or a doctor. When I attended the University of Southern California from 2009-2013, I was exactly on track for that as I was studying Human Biology and premed. However, during my time in college, I met people for the first time people who pursued the creative arts and turned their passion into a career.

During my sophomore year of college, I took a choreography class, and the teacher was a man named Nikos Lagousakos. Throughout that semester I was continually inspired by his zeal for life and artistic aura. We became close during the semester, and he would later become one of my mentors and biggest inspirations. Within the past year, I feel like my choreography career has come full circle as I have assisted him on corporate shows in China and in India.

In the past couple of years, I discovered another part of my artistic passion, and that is creating music. I’ve always been passionate about dance, but what I realized was that as a dancer we feed and understand music in a deep and physical way. I had some friends who were producing music on their laptop, so I became curious. I downloaded the software and started taking online music classes. Once I discovered that I would make that music myself, I had unlocked another part my artistry.

Being able to convey my emotions through sound has become something I am very passionate about. My dream now is to continually make content and shows that inspire hope and inspiration in people.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It has not always been a smooth road. Two of the main struggles that come to mind are parents and passion. Firstly, my parents weren’t too fond of my decision to forgo medical school and become a freelance artist. Understandably so, as they had just paid for me for four years of undergraduate education.

Every time I would bring up that I would be dancing as a career they responded, “So what’s your JOB going to be?” They didn’t have a framework in their mind that being a freelance artist could actually be a career. Over the years they’ve seen that I’m able to support myself. More importantly, they’ve seen how happy I am.

At the end of the day, as long as I’m happy and independent, they’re happy for me. Over time they came to understand. Secondly, the struggle of losing your passion because of the pursuit of money. Every freelance artist has to think about how to monetize their passion.

I think that with that, it’s hard to draw boundaries on which projects you take for money and which projects are passion projects. I went through a period of “burn out” with dance where I feel like I was forcing myself to audition and take jobs because that’s what “successful” artists did. Eventually, I found myself disliking the craft and found myself practicing less and less.

After a short break from dance, I came back with a renewed decision to only take jobs I really believe in and feel passionately about. I feel like that balancing act of passion and money is something every professional artist has to answer for themselves.

6th Street Music – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I am a freelance dancer, choreographer, and music producer. I bring a lot of creativity and experience to the table when it comes to live shows involving dance and music. I’ve seen that my expertise in all these fields makes me a unique asset to any show, being able to adapt and fill in creatively in more than one way. My goal is to eventually develop a show involving both music and dance that tours and shares around the world.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
I think success is about thriving during the process and loving every step of growth versus just focusing on comparing ourselves to others. I think success is a delicate balance of gratitude and contentment versus ambition and drive. People who are success have goals in mind and constantly push to reach those goals.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Leo Wu

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