A Q&A with Vocalist and Composer Britlin Lee Furst

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  1.  Britlin, what is your origin story?  Would love to hear about how you got into score composing!  Has your path been straightforward, or circuitous?

    I began singing in my youth as a church cantor.  I had a habit of trying to be the girl who was closest to the mic!  From a young age, people would tell me that I sounded like a boy soprano, and that that was something unique and special.  In high school, I joined choir and fell in love with harmony.  In 2007, I made a video of myself singing the soprano one line to Eric Whitacre’s “Sleep”, which he saw and became inspired by, creating the Virtual Choir thereafter.  That moment taught me the true power of music and how far it can reach.  In 2008,  I composed my first piece of music, dedicated to my high school choir director.  I wrote several choral pieces after that which were performed on a collegiate level.  By 2015, I had written my first opera as well as orchestral music for a dance play premiered by Broadway performers.  The moment I wrote orchestral music for the first time, for that dance play, was the moment I realized I wanted to score stories.  The theme was veteran PTSD.  To watch people act out and dance to my music without speaking was the most captivating sight.

  2. You are an accomplished vocalist as well as a composer, can you tell us more about your vocal work?  How would you describe your sound as a vocalist?

    I’ve performed as a soprano one vocalist for movies and video games.  My sound is ethereal, 110%.  It’s changed over the years as I get older.  I started off with straight tone, and now my vibrato and lower range has slowly emerged.  But honestly, if I could be a princess singing in a Disney movie, I would take the job in a heartbeat!

  3. In addition to composing, I see you are a songwriter as well!  Would you walk us through your songwriting process?  What sort of songs do you enjoy working on most?

    I start with a pen and paper and work solely on figuring out the melody as I notate the poem.  I never say lyrics because… a poem evokes nostalgia and history.  It has a different ring to it.  I enjoy writing ballads the most, ones that face our greatest pains and traumas in order to overcome them.  I’m a sucker for 80’s new wave all in all.  If only I had written “Running Up That Hill.”

  4. Have you had any role models in the industry?  Any composer or composers who inspired you or continue to inspire you?

    There are so many!  I’ll have to start with my favorite score by John Williams, “Memoirs of a Geisha”.  “1917” by Thomas Newman is another favorite of mine.  Clint Mansell’s “San Junipero” episode from “Black Mirror”.  George Fenton’s “Ever After”.  One last score that influences me beyond belief is “Fifth Element” by Eric Serra.  I try to write like him the most.

  5. What sort of projects do you most like to work on?  Do you have a genre or type of project that resonates the most with you?  What are your goals within composing and songwriting?

    Honestly, a thick, heavy, gritty, 80’s dystopian soundtrack is my go-to escape.  I fall right in.  Also, anything with hurdy-gurdy and I’m up dancing around the room like I belong in the medieval times or something.  If I can do projects that ask for either, my answer is “Yes, please!”

  6. Do you have a dream project (existing or not) that you’d really love to work on?

    A period drama about war and love.  A period drama where the lead character has to fend for themselves and fight for what he or she believes in.  If I could score something tomorrow, though, it would be the “Fallout” television series I’ve heard rumors about.  Give me your post- apocalyptic survivor story with a bit of sarcasm and grit!

  7. Have you got any exciting projects you are currently working on?  Are you able to share with us?

    I completed scoring the supernatural horror “Mile 666”, directed by Jessica Janos. This film required a raw, ancestral sound, combining an atonal world with classical progressions. I am also set to score Natalie Sutherland’s thriller, “Searching”, and I am happy to find out what the musical language will be.

    Check out The AWFC directory page for Britlin Lee Furst

    Interview by Connor Cook

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