Vivi Hu is an award-winning New York-based Asian American singer-songwriter dedicated to Chinese American musical fusion. Hu creates a unique sound by using traditional Chinese instruments with a blend of influences from jazz, R&B, soul, and Mandarin pop. In her lyrics, she tells relatable, hopeful stories of her experience of immigrating to the US from China, struggling with identity, and her path as an artist. Her mission is to create songs for the Mandarin-speaking immigrant community that are uplifting and soothing.
Hu’s vocal and performance styles connect traditional and popular music to evoke dynamic rhythms reminiscent of renowned Mandarin pop and American R&B and soul artists such as Jay Chou, Brandy, and Sade Adu. To date, she has lent her talents to several high-profile performances and festivals in both China and the United States including Real Live in Xiamen, the Summer Music Festival in Shanghai, and Dust and Dawn Club in Beijing, as well as the United Nations Headquarters, Flushing Town Hall, Museum of Chinese in America, Queens Library, the City University of New York Gospel Festival, and Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Festival in New York City, among many others.
Photo by Ni Ouyang
Born and raised in Xiamen China, Hu trained as a vocalist and flutist before launching her performance career in 2011. She sang R&B and soul music in local bars in Xiamen. She explored the roots of R&B and Soul music leading her to jazz and gospel music. Her first exposure to jazz came in 2013 at the JZ Music Festival in Shanghai, sparking a passion for infusing traditional Chinese music and Mandarin pop with the art form. At the same time, she joined the Paul & Timothy Gospel Choir and later on formed Hosanna Gospel Choir. In her solo music, she incorporated R&B, soul, and gospel styles into her Chinese music performances.
In addition to singing, Hu has built a reputation as a leader in music composition, arrangement, and concert production. Her enthusiasm for jazz and performance brought her to New York City in 2015 to further her studies at Queens College, where she earned a master’s degree in music with a focus on jazz performance for voice. She continues to bring the traditions of Chinese folk, mandarin pop, and jazz into her music, such as in her 2017 performance “Shanghai Memories: Golden Songs from the 1930s and 1940s” at Flushing Town Hall. For this performance, she co-lead the band to provide the jazz arrangement for traditional Shanghainese songs, some of which she translated into English, as well as facilitating communication between the Chinese traditional instrumentalists and jazz musicians.
She released her EP New Creation, an album of original jazz and gospel music in both English and Chinese in 2018. Her second project “Moonlight,” in the style of Hokkien folk fusion jazz, was also released in 2018. In 2020, she released “You Stepped Out of My Dreams,” an R&B arrangement of a jazz standard in both English and Chinese and “1000 Things,” an original R&B love song. In 2022, she will release a new EP including her latest single “茶香味 (Oolong Tea).”
She has worked with Poogie and Winston Bell as producers and performed with Burnett Thompson and Eugene Montenero.