Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in music?
My Mum and Dad. They gave me the opportunity to have piano lessons and I’ve never looked back. A few years later they encouraged me to learn more instruments so I chose the clarinet and harp initially, but my Mum said no to the harp because it was too big, so I chose the marginally smaller cello as an alternative. I was enrolled in dance lessons from the age of 4 so learnt to love performance from a young age. I loved to put on shows with my cousins for our parents and grandparents. I took this to another level when I forced my sister and a friend to perform a rendition of a track from the show Starlight Express whilst on roller skates in a school assembly. My piano teacher and music teacher encouraged me to pursue performance and composition. To be honest I never imagined doing anything other than music so I think I have always been pursuing a career in music without actually realising it.
Who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career?
I’ve never really had one or two important influences. More a continual building collection. Daily I’ll be influenced by many different things whether that be a piece of music, a painting, photograph, philosophical article or an approach someone takes on life. I’m a very reflective person so can be influenced by the simplest of things like watching a bird splash about in a puddle. I’m driven by the belief that there is only one life we live in our current form. Therefore we should either be striving to achieve a goal or, at the very least, enjoy what we are doing. Not everyone has this choice so we shouldn’t take it for granted.
What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?
The first thing I think of is staring at a blank page when I know I need to compose a piece for a deadline. But this is a daily challenge. The greatest challenge of my career though is probably getting people to listen to my work when there are so many other artists work they could also be listening to.
Which performance/recordings are you most proud of?
There are two pieces I composed for a pitch for an advert. There are also some cues from a film score that I’m particularly proud of because of their emotive drive. The type of music which makes your hair stand on end.
Favourite pieces to listen to?
This changes weekly, even daily. Today I’m really enjoying Beautiful Lie by Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL
Who are your favourite musicians?
There are too many too name. My favourite musicians are ones whose music has elements which will intrigue me and which I have an uncontrollable urge to immediately analyse. Whose music is utterly captivating to listen to because of all the different compositional elements. To name just a small number would be Alexandre Desplat, Danny Elfman, Johann Johannson, Max Richter, Clint Mansell, Kronos Quartet, Goldmund, Nils Frahm, The Glitch Mob…there really are too many from so many different styles.
What is your most memorable concert experience?
Unfortunately I have a very poor memory so I expect there have been many. However, there are a few I still talk about. One was when Muse performed at SWSX many years ago before they were as big as they are now. They were absolutely incredible. The type of musicians where you can tell they breath music. For the same reason, Jill Scott and Mumford and Sons were also extremely memorable. But more recently, I’ve seen a few film score composers in concert who have been absolutely wonderful. Namely Danny Elfman and Hans Zimmer. I came away more in awe than when I went in. There are a number of theatre productions that have literally left me speechless as well.
What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?
Explore concepts you feel uncomfortable with. Face your weaknesses. Learn to take a step back from your work and hear it from a different perspective. Don’t ignore your gut instinct. Learn to accept and see criticism as constructive feedback but also be confident in your own mind and opinion where necessary.
Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?
To still be making a living out of composing music.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Working from a studio that looks out to the ocean.
Aleah Morrison-Basu’s first narrative piano and electronics album ‘Evolving Reflections’ is released on 8th July 2016.
Aleah is a London-based composer working out of her studio in central London. Always enthusiastically looking for new and interesting collaborations with musicians, composers, Film, TV and Theatre directors as a composer, arranger, orchestrator, music supervisor and co-composer.
Distinctive melodies, emotive scores. Nominated for 2015 MAS Award for Best Original Score for Feature Film and Best Original Score for Short Film. Music composer for feature films, TV series, short films, TVC’s, branding films, interactive theatre.
Aleah has composed scores for a number of award-winning short films and recently co-composed her first feature film, released in September 2015 in UK, USA and Canada.
Also, has been composing scores for a number of TV documentary series, currently working on her third score.
Clients include BBC, HBO, Head, Adidas, Kia, Hyundai, Wilko, Three mobile, America’s Cup, Philip Stein, The American Heart Foundation, McVities, Georgia Tech, Harvard amongst many others.
While composing, arranging, orchestrating and music supervising for Zelig Sound, Aleah is continuing her passion for collaborations in other creative art forms working as a freelance composer and arranger for film/ TV/ and theatre directors.