Paris-based French-Lebanese film music composer Paul Tyan is one of the youngest artists to be short-listed for Oscar consideration and one of the two Lebanese composers competing along with Gabriel Yared. However, he has not lost his modesty.
In a recent interview that followed being short-listed for the prestigious award, Paul said that the most important thing to him is to succeed in pulling movie fans into a dream-like state through his music.
Asked whether there is also a pride in representing Lebanon in a certain way, Paul said: “Certainly. But the real pride is the feeling of belonging to a generation of change. I realize it every time I come back to Beirut.”
As for his dreams for 2018, the young composer added: “It's a fantasy that goes beyond the strict definition of my job: to find calm, to eliminate all unnecessary noises that constantly distract us, to refocus on the essence of things.”
Tyan was short-listed for the music he composed for 'Tickling Giants', a movie about prominent Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef.
His score has made it into the Oscar short list for Best Original Score and Best Original Song. This Technicolor production was sound mixed by Ben Wilkins (Oscar winner for Whiplash) and produced by Monica Hampton (Palme d'Or winner for Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11).
The movie has been described as a “First-rate documentary” by The New York Times, “An ebullient ode to freedom… a terrific movie” by Variety and is now available on Netflix. In 2017, Paul won the Best Music Award at the ALCINE International Film Festival for his work on Good Girls directed by Clara Roquet, he wrote choir arrangements for the alternative-rock band Mashrou' Leila featured on the deluxe edition of their album Ibn El Leil, he scored the PETA campaign starring Joaquin Phoenix and he participated in the Berlinale Talents program.
Born in a musical family he started playing at the age of 11 as a self taught musician. He then studied harmony and counterpoint at the École Normale de Musique de Paris with the composer Stéphane Delplace and orchestration with Guillaume Connesson. Paul scored award winning films that screened at Cannes, Toronto, BFI, Tribeca, SXSW Film Festivals and worked with clients such as BBC, HBO, France Télévisions, Leo Burnett and Ogilvy.
Paul's musical influences range from the classical repertoire to popular music such as soul, blues, jazz and indie rock. Scoring film music is for him a great source of inspiration and a continuous learning process that combines both of his passions, music and cinema.
Asked about his first contact with music, the young composer said his older brother was the one who introduced him to the world of music.
“I remember him, I was 10 or 11 at the time, playing Hendrix songs, Pink Floyd or Beatles in his room, where blues vinyls were piling up,” Paul said.
Asked how he got into the world of cinema, the young composer said: “It came a bit by accident. I was still living in Beirut and I was part of a band, The White Trees, when Cyril Aris and Mounia Akl approached me to make the music for their first series, Beirut I Love You. From one thing to another, I started liking it, especially since composing cinema music makes it possible to constantly renew oneself by touching on various styles dictated by the film, every time.”
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