A Q&A with Malaysian Composer known for Disney+‘s animated short “Jing Hua” Joy Ngiaw

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  1. You started out your musical journey in Malaysia and China. Can you tell us a bit about your young musical life?

    I grew up in a musical family – my siblings and I all learnt classical piano at a young age, therefore our home was always filled with music. Attending high school, my after school activity was to accompany school choirs and orchestras. From those first experiences of playing with people, feeling their energy and hearing each instrumental section come together – I fell in love with the orchestra.

  2. What made you decide to study film and video game scoring at Berklee? 

    My mom told me that ‘The Lion King’ was the first movie I have ever watched as a child (and that I made her watch it with me repeatedly till she could sing every single lyric of the film). As I grew up, I realized that I always remembered the songs and scores of a childhood movie that I haven’t seen in a long time. It was a very nostalgic feeling when the next melodic phrase would naturally follow each storyline and character development, as if the music was guiding the audience like an old friend. As a child, I always found myself improvising on the piano, playing whatever I felt like that accompanied my emotions. During those instances, it felt as though time stood still, and it became my emotional outlet. Combining my love for music and passion for connecting with people, it has led me to pursue film and video game scoring.

  3. You have spent some time as a composer assistant. How has that experience been? Would you recommend it to other up and coming composers? 

    I’ve been very fortunate to assist successful composers such as Jeff Russo, Joel Goodman and Zach Robinson when I started my career in Los Angeles. Each studio has their own workflow, and there is always so much knowledge to absorb from different collaborations and different teams. I do recommend up and coming composers to assist a working composer as you’ll get to learn many skills that you can then apply to your own career – such as strengthening your understanding of the music business, expanding your network in the industry, and strengthening your musical and technical vocabulary.

  4. What’s been your most memorable scoring experience so far?

    I am super excited to share that my most recent projects were scoring for Disney animated short film “Jing Hua” (Disney+) and Disney animated VR short “a kite’s tale”. It has always been a dream of mine to work with Walt Disney Animation Studios, and I am very grateful for the opportunity!

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