GBBP 190: Kris Bowers

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The Great Big Beautiful Podcast, Episode 190: Kris Bowers

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This week, we’re venturing deeper into the world of music, soundtracks, and composing for television. Kris Bowers swings by the show to talk about jazz and his score for Dear White People, among many other things.

Bowers is a Juilliard-trained musician who was awarded the Nobel Prize of jazz when he won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. He performed at the White House (when that meant something), released a CD of jazz originals (Heroes + Misfits), helped bring Ezra Jack Keats’s classic picture book The Snowy Day to life for Amazon, and is currently scoring Dear White People on Netflix and Shonda Rhimes’ For the People on ABC. He’s also won an Emmy (for The Snowy Day) and is working on several upcoming films and documentaries.

Oh, he also happens to be the youngest composer currently scoring a network TV show. Not bad for a 29-year-old closer to the beginning of his career than even the middle.

On this episode, we talk about his parents’ somewhat unusual influence on his music, learning to collaborate with a larger creative team in television, his genre-spanning music for Dear White People, and how to write music that evokes specific colors.

(I do not own the musical excerpts used in this episode, obviously. All rights remain with their respective copyright holders.)


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