Born in Paisley, Scotland, Elaine Yu started learning the piano at six and a half years old. At age seven, she was the youngest participant of the summer music workshop at Brian Laurie's Academy. Her performing career also began at seven years old where she performed at Glasgow Music Festival.
At age eight, she was one of three pupils out of her class that were handpicked to sing in the National Youth Choir of Scotland. At the same age, she was also one of four pupils out of her class that was handpicked to learn the violin. This led to frequent performances at concert halls and school assemblies. Elaine also performed violin alongside her classmates at Primary 7 graduation day.
At eleven, videos of YouTuber pianists inspired her to work harder on piano-playing. Helped by her father, videos of her playing mostly self-taught classical pieces were posted. YouTube also influenced her song choices and emotive playing style. At thirteen, she was featured on The Herald and The Evening Times for having won second place at Glasgow Music Festival's Piano Solos A category, despite being the youngest competitor. At fourteen years old, she won second prize at Biggars' Music Competition in the grade 6-8 category. This led to a feature in Hutchesons' Grammar School's prospectus and online website. By choosing Music as a subject for her Standard Grade exam, she achieved a 1 (meaning an A). Two years later, she achieved 100 percent for the piano discipline in her Higher exam. Throughout her childhood and teen years, Elaine has performed at local concerts, festivals, competitions, restaurants and friends houses.
In 2014, artist Luke Jerram's project, 'Play Me, I'm Yours' was introduced to Glasgow. The project was to install pianos on the street so that pianists who passed by could perform. A video of Elaine's performance was posted on YouTube and it accumulated 1.6 million views within a year. Inspired by 'Play Me, I'm Yours', Tom Binns created Glasgow Piano City. Elaine then performed on many of the pianos in different locations, including The Lighthouse, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, The Unexpected Artist etc. Tom Binns also created Lids' Open Day where pianists get a chance to play on a Steinway grand piano at Mackintosh Queen's Cross. Elaine has performed there on a few occasions.
Elaine's piano playing has been complimented by Britain's Got Talent's third place winner, Kieran Gaffney. In 2016, Elaine made an online collaboration video with fellow YouTube musicians.
Without any teacher instruction, Elaine started composing songs at age 13 and took it more seriously at 19, creating an online sheet music business. Being intrigued by different styles of music, Elaine plays and arranges pop, rock, country, film, new age, folk and classical music. At 21 years old, Elaine started learning the melodica by herself and composed her first melodica sheet music within two hours of learning the instrument. At 22, Elaine started learning the guitar by herself and also started composing guitar sheet music. She released the first edition of her poetry book, '100 Poems by Elaine Yu'.
Elaine enjoys benefiting her community with her musical talent. In 2005, she participated in a charity concert where all the proceeds went to Red Cross. In 2007, she participated in a fundraising concert at her chinese school for the Sichuan earthquake victims. From then on, Elaine regularly donated money to causes, including the Japan tsunami victims and the Haiti earthquake victims. In 2008, Elaine participated in a 3.5K run to raise funds for Red Cross. In 2012, Elaine volunteered at White Cart Credit Union for a year, helping people with bank matters. In 2013, she performed at a concert which helped raise funds for a local church to purchase a new piano. In 2016, Elaine raised £743.95 for the Nepal earthquake victims through street collections, putting collection tins at shops and a bake sale. In 2017, Elaine volunteered at the University of Glasgow for eight months to write technical instructions for potential Masters students' summer project. In 2018, Elaine donated £750 to Syrian war refugees.