How Folk Musician Zoe Wren Became a Twitch Sensation

From digital busking to streaming community

Looking for an at-the-moment acoustic performance show? Tune into the joyful sounds of one of Twitch Music's brightest stars Zoe Wren

Zoe Wren in her streaming studio.

Zoe Wren

She sits down in front of the camera in her dimly lit studio, strumming her guitar to the folksy tunes of Joni Mitchell and Alison Krauss to a captive audience three days a week. The singer-songwriter has cultivated a following of 26,000 music lovers over the past two years on the platform.  

"When I started, I imagined it as digital busking. I just thought people would wander in and out while I play, maybe drop me a tip, and I could practice… but what I never really expected is how fast it would grow into this community," she said in an interview with Lifewire.  

Quick Facts

  • Name: Zoe Wren
  • Located: London, UK
  • Random Delight: In theory! Zoe's virtuoso talent doesn't just lie in her piano keys and guitar strings. Before starting her content creation journey, the young musician studied music theory at university. It is seen as odd given folk music's oral tradition, but it helps create a source of knowledge and underscores her ability.
  • Quote: "Don't wait until you feel ready; no one ever does. Just take the plunge and do the thing."

The Soundtrack of Life 

The busy streets of London are where this streamer calls home. The glistening downtown lights of Europe's largest city serve as the backdrop for her life. Her parents owned a market stall in the heart of the city, and she found her love for music on the London streets. 

"My parents would often be playing music, and they took me to a folk festival when I was quite young. That feeling of having live music in the air and people having jam sessions," she said. "I just  fell in love, and here we are."

One cannot deny passion. Her parents recognized this desire and put her in piano lessons, and from there, Wren fused her education with her singing talent. Rounding out her virtuosity, she began teaching herself the guitar by ear. Before she was even old enough to drive, she began performing at open mics, sharpening her musical talents. 

This love carried Wren throughout her life into adulthood, where she majored in the classics and theory at university and continued working in and around music until she found Twitch. She kept her passion alive and income flowing by busking, performing at gigs around London, and working at a music charity workshop.

Zoe Wren playing guitar while leaning on a fence in the country.

Zoe Wren

That all changed when cities around the world enacted shelter-in-place orders. Like many other musicians, her life was turned upside down: no touring, no gigs, no busking, no workshop. Her partner suggested she delve into Twitch to scratch her musical itch. 

"I didn't believe him when he said performers were making money from playing live. But at that point, I had nothing going on and nothing to lose," she chuckled. "The leap I made to Twitch was a really big jump for me. I was pretty clueless about how the internet could serve me in playing music. I was pretty old-fashioned, to be honest."

Music for Your Eyes

Now, she's full-time with Twitch music performing to an audience of "chill, welcoming, and silly" audience goers. Very different, she says, from the less-animated people she would find around live shows. While she still loves the roar of the crowd and energy from in-person performances, this digital musician has allowed herself to flourish online. 

Streaming allowed Wren to be more selective in her music playing. The convenience of having a studio, complete with performance equipment, where she simply has to turn on a camera to hone her skills and enthrall an audience cannot be understated. 

"In a way, it has allowed me to fall back in love with performing. Running around town carrying your equipment from venue to venue can be taxing," she said. "I have more control over my music, my career, and every aspect of my performance than I ever did before." 

I was pretty clueless about how the internet could serve me in playing music.

Before, she would watch some of these streamers and imagine how she could get to where they were as digital performers. She does it with ease now as an official Twitch Partner: swooning a lively, dedicated community of fans who log on to see Zoe Wren, the artist. 

"There's no such thing as perfect, and you have to learn to let go of that and trust that things will work out," she finished. "Never underestimate the power of community and how transformative it can be. Especially when you take the time to make a great one." 

Correction 7/12/2022: Corrected Wren's association with Twitch in the next to last paragraph and updated a description in paragraph 9.

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