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Interview with Joey Newman

Joey Newman - Photo Credit: Lisa Voll Photography
Joey Newman –
Photo Credit: Lisa Voll Photography

Joey NewmanLittle People, Big World and The Middle

FSC:  What inspired you to compose film music?

JN:  I began composing on the piano in middle school and high school and after I got an opportunity to score a family friend’s UCLA short film, I was pretty much hooked on visual and audio synchronization! But I never truly considered it as a career until I was at the Berklee College of Music. Initially, I wanted to be a studio drummer, however, it just took a few years later to ultimately get the performing bug out of my system – enough to realize that I had much more fun having talented musicians play on my music (and conduct them) instead of me playing on theirs!

FSC:  You have something very special, which is a truly musical family.  What is it like to be a part of such a legendary family?

JN: I am a huge Newman fan – I would be even if I wasn’t related.  It’s a gift to share in the family’s legacy and continue the “family business”.  I can’t escape music as my dad is also a musician (Joe Frank Carollo from the 1970’s hit-making trio “Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds”). I love how each composer in my family has this incredible sensitivity to picture and uses their unique musical voice to support it. As a “Newman Composer”, my hope is to continue to uphold the quality and rich musical contribution my family has given to the medium. I won’t do it in the same way as my cousins, but I will do it in my own way based on my training, experience and individual music voice.

FSC:  You’ve had the opportunity to work with your family before, such as when you worked on Cars with Randy Newman.  What is it like to work with family?

JN:  Working with family is incredible rewarding.  I scored a film called “Any Day Now” which was the first project I worked on where my cousin Amos Newman (Randy’s son) was my agent (WME), I was the composer and my cousin Jaclyn Newman (Alfred Newman’s granddaughter) was my music editor! Cars was amazing as was working on Seabiscuit with Randy. Randy is so immensely talented and so funny and wonderful to talk to. He embodies the essence of my grandfather, Lionel. It’s what I imagine a relationship with him would have been like had he seen me go into film and TV music so I hold it very close to my heart.  I had the opportunity to conduct the “Pixar In Concert” with the San Diego Symphony in August of 2013 and it was an amazing experience conducting Randy and Tom’s music. Nothing better than Pixar and the Newmans together!

FSC:  What is your favorite work of yours and why?

JN:  In TV, I have a few favorites, but “The Middle” sticks out for me.  I truly love the hilarious take the show has on family and married life – so much of it I can relate to as a husband and father of three girls. In film, I really had a fantastic time working on “Any Day Now” – being a part of this film and its message was very special. Plus, I got to arrange/record with Alan Cumming, write a string arrangement for Rufus Wainwright, moonlight as the on-camera drummer in the film AND work with some of the finest musicians LA has to offer. It doesn’t get better!

FSC:  When you sit down to compose music, do you have any type of regulated routine you go through?

JN:  Not in particular. I generally develop a pallet of sounds I like and just begin exploring my musical canvas.  TV tends to have tighter turn arounds than the films I work on, so I try to watch my time a little better. Though I still can work late into the night!

FSC:  Is there anything that helps you focus on writing music?
JN:  Great coffee!
FSC:  If you could have your pick of any upcoming film project to compose the music for, what would you pick?

JN:  I would love to work on a project for Pixar or Disney Animation… 
FSC:  If you hadn’t become a film composer, what would you have done for a career?

JN:  I would have gone into the medical field.  I love the brain and am constantly fascinated by human behavior.

FSC:  What is your most memorable moment with an orchestra so far?

JN:  “Pixar In Concert” was an incredible learning experience and joy to conduct!

FSC:  Where do you want to be in 10 years?
JN:  Hopefully doing what I am doing now with more great projects under my belt. I love writing for TV and film but I equally love watching my children become amazing women and being married to my best friend. I couldn’t be a more proud and lucky guy!
For more, visit Joey’s site at

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