Here is an interview with songwriter and pianist Denise Young. Denise’s second album, “Something You Dream Of…”, was produced by Grammy winner, Will Ackerman (Founder of Windham Hill Records) in 2006 and was nominated for Best Instrumental Piano Album in 2007.
Denise composed the score for the short film “Moretti”, written, produced, and directed by Albert Salaz, Jr. It was featured at the LA Film Festival (August 2013) . Denise’s music, “Autumn Colors” provides the score for the film short, “Leave My Flowers Alone”, written, produced, and directed by Albert Salaz, Jr., shown at the 9/2012 LA Shorts Film Festival!
Q: Tell me about how you got started in your career as a musician/composer?
DY: I’ll start by answering this first question backwards. As you may know, my producer, is Will Ackerman, the Founder of Windham Hill Records. I discovered his productions years ago and dreamed of working with him for nearly a decade. Then one day in 2006, after I completed a self-produced CD, “Time Alone”, I sent it to him without any request, though I’m sure that my soul hoped that he would produce my next album. After Will received the disc, he replied with favorable comments and from there he worked with me to encourage new compositions/songs and produce my next album entitled, “Something You Dream Of…”. The title track was inspired
by watching the the original Benny Goodman Story after Benny’s excitement in playing a song that he had written for his girlfriend. I embraced that feeling! And by some synchronous energy, the virtuoso clarinet player that Will’s assistant found had just done the clarinet parts for the TV movie, “The Benny Goodman Story”! I want to continue the message that Benny sends to other musicians (Glenn Miller for one), saying, “just keep going, there will be obstacles but don’t stop”!
From there, I didn’t stop and the album that Will produced is being played all over the world. There is another one on the way, with an estimated delivery date of December 2013. The new album reflects classical nuances from my studies and deep expressions of the heart yearning and seeking. It’s interesting that my first piece of music was composed at the age of fourteen as a deep expression of my feelings that couldn’t be spoken.
Q: Can you give me some specifics on the gear that you are currently using for your productions?
DY: Gear?! What’s that?! I do some of my own recording, though when I record with Will, he has a very talented and well-rounded engineer, Tom Eaton, who is a musician himself. At their studio, I record on a Steinway grand piano and they use ProTools. I’m sure that there’s much more to it than that!
In 2013, I scored and recorded several pieces for the film, “Moretti” (starring Robert Costanzo – Total Recall,…) in the home studio through Sonar and used Native Instruments (NI) for my orchestral parts. There was very little editing, luckily! With Sonar, you’re able to view the film while composing in real time and the sounds are pretty amazing and powerful through NI. The true test was the big screen at the LA Shorts Film Festival in 2013, and the quality sounded amazing! I had a couple of actors approach me and want me to write a score with them!
Q: Tell me about some of the film, and other placements you have gotten for your music.
DY: For one of the film music scores, “Autumn Colors” which appeared in the 2012 LA Shorts Film Festival was produced by Will in his studio and is part of the “Something You Dream Of…” album. The way that it happened was another synchronous event in that one of the film producers for, “Leave My Flowers Alone”, (starring John Capodice – Ace Ventura, The God Father, and more) heard it on a radio station and contacted me for licensing permission.
Creating the music for “Moretti” (starring Robert Costanzo) was a really intense experience. I became part of the film as I watched it over and over to get the feelings of the actors and scenes. It was a very serious and sad film and the expression through the music allowed for pure enmeshment of the entire production.
In 2009, I did several pieces for World Nature Video. They were all 10 minute and 20 minute pieces (what an interesting feat!) some were extended versions of my previously released music and I created some new pieces for them in my home studio.
Q: Were these custom music spots for the film and nature DVD’s or music you previously created?
DY: The scores for the film “Moretti” and some of the World Nature Video pieces were custom music spots. The piece, “Autumn Colors”, for the film “Leave My Flowers Alone” was an existing piece which fit really well because they need a long piece of music that fit well behind the mood of the dialogue and the piece is 9:21.
Q: Any tips for new composers/musicians trying to break into film or other markets (like the nature DVD you did)?
DY: It seems that what is most helpful is getting exposure for your music and following your heart and instincts. If you have a notion to send a disc to someone, just send it! I’ve heard that working with film schools can be very helpful also. I’m not sure about submitting music through film opportunities as there seem to be soooo many people. In most cases, praying helps too!
Q: What are your future plans for your musical career?
DY: Like you and many of us, I know that where I find bliss in creating music and playing. I want to do that forever, no matter what happens. I hope to someday work with a well-known film composer and would love to do a musical tour in Europe..England, Ireland, Spain, Italy, maybe?! The music can speak many languages for me!
Denise has a new album that was just mastered and will be coming out in January 2014! It is being produced by Will Ackerman at Imaginary Roads Studio. If you’d like to get on her mailing list just email her at firstname.lastname@example.org! You can find out more about Denise and take a listen to her beautiful music by going to her web site at: http://www.deniseyoung.com/