He has won three Grammys and an Oscar. And now Ludwig Göransson has received the Swedish Government’s Music Export Prize. But his breakthrough did not come about overnight, if anyone were inclined to think so.
“I was given a guitar by my Dad when I was six years old. Two years later I was playing Metallica till my fingers were sore, and even then I knew I wanted to work with music.”
Indeed, the journey from his bedroom in Linköping to Los Angeles and the award-winning music to the super hero film Black Panther took almost thirty years. In a way it can be summed up in two words: musicality and dedication.
The eight-year-old Ludwig Göransson was certain. He had heard Metallica’s Enter Sandman and decided to become a top guitarist.
The fifteen-year-old Ludwig Göransson lived for his rock band, which played progressive and technically advanced hard rock.
He went to the Municipal Music School and attended the music class at primary and secondary school, and he went on to upper secondary school with special instruction in music. He then studied jazz improvisation at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. Music, music and more music!
“I’ve always had dreams, always set goals for myself,” says the multi-instrumentalist, producer and composer.
He was soon drawn to film music, where he felt there was room to experiment. After attending an education programme in film music in Los Angeles he decided to stay there. One of his first friends in the United States was Ryan Coogler who was then making his first film. Ludwig Göransson created the music.
Together they have since both enjoyed success with the boxing film Creed and most recently with Black Panther, which bagged Göransson an Oscar for best original score.
“The combination of sound and image fascinates me. You’re working with double emotions. The aim for me as a music creator is to understand people’s thoughts, bring out their visions and stories and tell them with music.
“I always want to explore new musical ground. For me it’s about breaking boundaries.”
Ludwig Göransson’s crossing of styles can be heard not just on the silver screen. One example is Childish Gambino’s hit This Is America, which uses a wild mix of hiphop, gospel and afrobeat – and more – and which recently won three American Grammys for Göransson.
He says that he wants to continue mixing film music with hiphop and also venture into other genres. There is also a solo album in the pipeline. In what genre? Every genre…
“I want to push myself to write music in a new way. My goal is actually to spread as much musicality as possible to as many people as possible.”
Preferably large crowd-pleasing projects – like his next big job, writing the music for a coming Star Wars series for television.
“Everything I do comes from my background, from all those years in different music schools, all those hours in the rehearsal rooms, all those 20-hour sessions in the studio. Sometimes I meet people who think my success has come quickly, overnight. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are lots of years in school and 12 years in LA behind all of this,” he says.
“If I were to give any tips to all those young people with dreams, just like I had, I would say be open, spend time with people from different backgrounds, open your mind to impressions. Believe in your ideas and bring them to completion! And never stop studying!”