Monday, October 3, 2011

Michael Kelly: Aspiring and Succeeding Composer

Out of all of the original composers on YouTube that are working intently to get into composing for the gaming and television industries, Michael Kelly is one of the most successful and well-known. In addition, he is a humble guy that enjoys hearing great new music from anyone, whether you are just starting out or have been pursuing your dreams for years. Not only does Michael inspire other musicians, but he also does makes good enough music for anime and video game fans to go crazy about. He is even compared to some of his own heroes, such as Shoji Meguro. I interviewed this up-and-coming legend, and here is what he had to say:

1) Tell us about yourself (name, age, country of origin, current country, schooling, anything else you feel like sharing)

Hi! My name is Michael Kelly, and I currently reside in Opelika, AL. I'll be attending Berklee online courses next year to help reach my goal into becoming a professional composer. Music has always touched me and been a large part of my life. My goal is to create music to reach and inspire others as well.
2) Why do you use Reason and Record, two of my favorite programs?I enjoy it's interface and accessibility. I especially love the "SSL 9000k" mixer. 3) Who inspires you as a composer?Shoji Meguro, Kenji Kawai, and Shinji Hosoe. I've been listening to these guys for years, and it was Meguro's work that made me want to start composing. I first listened to "Muladhara" from Digital Devil Saga and loved how unique it was. After that, I listened to the official soundtrack for Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne. I was sold.

4) What advice do you have for people who are just starting out in music?

Listen to all the music that you can, and experiment. Just starting out is a very exciting time, and don't be afraid to travel all over the grid for a while until you find your own unique sound. Use some of your favorite songs for inspiration.

5) If you were offered a composing job today, what company/developer would you hope the offer was from?
I would LOVE to compose for Atlus or Platinum Games. Both of these companies seem to have that "X Factor" to their games that make them so enjoyable and fun. I actually sent a demo CD to Atlus USA last year (And yes, I facepalm a bit in hindsight). However, they'll be hearing from me again. When you dream, dream big, right?

6) Random thoughts:

Always compose with your heart. Save the thinking for theory, practice and studying. Music should always come from the soul. Thank you so much for the opportunity, Nate. You have some terrific music, and this was an honor.

My thoughts on the interview:

I'm sure glad that there are several others out there that wanna help people, and dude, you are doing it. People are definitely inspired.

I agree completely with your thoughts on Reason. So great to use... can't wait to try out the SSL 9000k mixer, especially since Reason and Record are now combined in Reason 6.... speaking of which, did you know you can name your own price for the upgrade if you own Reason and Record, which you do?

I need to check out this nocturne song... I may have heard it, but I'm terrible with lyrics, song titles, and band names for that matter.

I was just telling someone else this same advice last week. Experiment. There's no need to be afraid of messing up, especially if you don't ever have to show it to anyone. And yes, I've traveled over many grids, perhaps in separate universes because I love music so much. However, I'm really trying to avoid that unique sound...but it doesn't really work that way :) people still know when a song was made by me. Also, I would say never be afraid to "just start" out, even when you are a seasoned veteran. When I think I'm really great is about the time when I learn how little I actually know and need to start out learning a whole new concept, program, technique, etc. I'm sure many of you feel the same.

Dream as big as you can, and then some, leaving ample room for you to be surprised by what you forgot to dream about. I know my "big break" is gonna come in some way I didn't even know was possible... lucky me, now I can't watch out for it :P

Thank you, Michael. Congratulations on daring to follow your dreams and what you love...and then doing so well at it! You will definitely make it if you continue your perseverance.

For more of Michael Kelly's music, visit his YouTube channel here.

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