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Meet Tina Guo, the cellist giving gaming a metal makeover


Tina Guo is an electric cellist who creates soundtracks for video games.

She’s also mates with Dave Grohl and Justin Bieber. And she loves heavy metal.

She describes Bieber as “very, very nice” after performing with him and Skrillex at the Grammy Awards.

“With Skrillex, I was actually shocked how down to earth he was, super kind, super casual just totally awesome, it was a fun experience.”

Now she is releasing her debut album, Game On! which features covers and reworks of some of the most popular titles from Halo to Pokemon and World of Warcraft to Super Mario Bros.

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“I played a lot of video games when I was younger,” she tells Newsbeat.

“We had a Super Nintendo and I played a lot of [Legend of] Zelda, Super Mario and now I play Tetris on my iPhone.”

The influence for this album comes from a love of gaming but it’s also a world she has worked in, having played cello on numerous video game soundtracks.

“The very first video game that I featured on was Journey,” she explains.

“It set the record for the most downloaded PlayStation game in history at the time, it was also the first game soundtrack to be nominated for a Grammy.”

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It’s also something that might never have happened.

As a child, she didn’t like practising the cello, but her parents made her practise for up to seven hours a day.

It wasn’t until she left home that she released she could add the influences of many genres she liked, including heavy metal.

She took out a loan to buy an electric cello and then started making money by busking on the Hollywood Strip in Los Angeles while also uploading videos to YouTube.

Justin Bieber

Image caption Tina Guo performed at the Grammys with Justin Bieber in 2016

From there she was chosen to play with the Foo Fighters at The Grammys in 2008.

It was also where one of the most in-demand film composers Hans Zimmer spotted her.

“The first film we worked on together was Sherlock Holmes, then we did Inception and then the offers just started coming in,” she explains.

“We are working on Wonder Woman right now.”

Tina has also found time to run away with the circus as she performed with Cirque Du Soleil for two years.

Tina is excited to be taking centre stage with the help of her first record deal with Sony Masterworks.

She’s self-released a number of albums but says this gives her the chance to concentrate on her love of gaming music.

“I never thought I would get signed to a label or maybe have a chance to be the main act – so I am super excited.”

Tina Guo Game On! is out now on Sony Masterworks

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