“Look away, don’t let the sun burn your eyes. Don’t let the snow touch your skin”
– The Immigrant
Wendy Woo has been exposed to the unexpected in life. As the daughter of immigrant bohemian parents who were founding faculty members at Naropa University in Colorado, growing up in the family home was a true eclectic social center. Visitors such as Allen Ginsberg, Merry Prankster, Ken Kesey and Norman Mailor would be regulars in the living room. So when Wendy sat down to write a song reflecting on all this, it had to be sweet and humorous. "One Way Ticket," is a nod to growing up as a "beatnik's kid," and Gregory Corso teaching her how to play poker. Cause one always needs to have a good poker face.
Summers on the back porch, Gregory teaching his kids to play poker. Poetry, albums and wine.
– One Way Ticket
Woo started to play guitar at 18 to accompany herself and was soon writing songs and performing in songwriting circles. She attended the University of New Mexico as well as the University of Colorado, where she studied various musical genres, theory and composition. Her musical influences draw from the folk chanteuse Suzanne Vega to legendary Paul Simon. The blending rhythms in Simon’s music made her pay attention to it in her writings.
“Woo’s dexterous music works its way into your consciousness like an Edward Hopper painting or a shot of smooth rum. “ – Kristen Sherwood, www.csindy.com
As Woo’s prowess grew she developed a technique she calls “Slaptap.” She transforms her body and guitar as one percussion instrument. She hits and slaps at various point of the acoustic guitar creating a performance art piece. The fluid movement between her hands and body keep the viewer focused throughout the song.
While working at The Fox Theatre in Boulder, she began to spread her wings as a performer and develop her people skills to promote herself. The venue was supportive by giving her opening slots to the incoming headliners as well as playing around town. Some of the national acts she opened up for were Sheryl Crow, Counting Crows, James Taylor and Carly Simon.
Wendy’s DIY mindset would come in handy one day when she won the Colorado Lilith Fair Talent Search in 1999, which led to her share the stage with an elite lineup that included Sarah McLaughlin, Indigo Girls, Shawn Colvin and Sheryl Crow. She wowed them with her songs and voice. Michael Roberts, a longtime Colorado music critic, explains it perfectly, “…her vocals exude a sensuality that's unexpectedly subtle.”
Woo has recorded more than 100 original songs, plays up to 200 dates a year and operating her own musical empire called WooMusic. The company is based out of Loveland, CO where her staff works on all facets of her career. She has been placed in the Westword Hall of Fame after winning the weekly paper’s Best Artist Award five times.
As her personal life grew to three kids and a husband; the whole life in motion notion gives way to total bliss for songstress. After 20 years as being a true independent musician, 12 albums, countless live shows and meeting fans, Wendy Woo’s life continues to be unexpected.