Richard Williams, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is a film composer. His is originally from Salinas, California. He served a full-time two-year mission for the Church in the Tokyo South Mission. In addition to English, he also speaks Japanese and Chinese.
He has almost always been involved with music since first learning to play the piano in 3rd grade. By the time he reached the 5th grade, he had learned to play the trombone, and says that he “picked up other instruments along the way when [he] got bored in band class.” He can play 10 instruments in all – five good, and five beginner level – mostly brass instruments, being most proficient in playing the piano and drums.
Someone has wisely said, “The great breakthrough in your life comes when you realize that you can learn anything you need to learn to accomplish any goal that you set for yourself. This means there are no limits on what you can be, have, or do.” When Richard was in middle school, he tried his hand at composing, but was not very successful at it because he could not notate his musical thoughts efficiently. However, he did not let that minor setback deter him from pursuing his aspirations of becoming a composer.
After returning home from his mission, he learned about Logic Pro, a program that enabled him to record whatever he played, with the capability of being able to edit his work, as well as, layer all the instruments that he wanted to include in the recording. With his dream of becoming a composer coming to fruition, he decided to study film composing, and worked as hard as he could to make his goal a reality. He says, “I had many, many long nights, weeks, months, and years working with little to no compensation or recognition while not really knowing if it would work out. Just hoping it would, and working towards that end.” One of his favorite quotes by Lebron James which states, “You can’t be afraid to fail. You’re not going to succeed all the time. I know that. You have to be able to accept failure to get better” aptly describes his drive, discipline, and determination to keep reaching for the goal.
Richard graduated from Brigham Young University (BYU) with a Bachelor Degree in Japanese and a Bachelor Degree in Commercial Music. He also took 5 classes in Chinese. He was rejected from the Commercial Music Program 3 times due to his trombone audition, but was finally accepted after his 5th year of school. Thus, he spent a total of 9 years studying at BYU. He went on to win 2 Student Emmys at the College TV Awards in Hollywood, both for BYU Animations – “Mashed” in 2010, and “Chasm” in 2014. He also wrote several pieces for the ensembles at BYU including Women’s Chorus, Jazz Ensemble, Trombone Choir, Symphonic Orchestra, Concert Band, and the Philharmonic Orchestra.
Besides composing, Richard says, “I like playing (not watching) most sports. I enjoy a healthy dose of Starcraft, Halo, and Street Fighter from time to time. And I want to be a better cook.”
Speaking about being a composer, Richard has commented, “Being a composer is kind of like being a chef in the kitchen. I don’t feel like I completely come up with original ideas, more like I rearrange and choose what I’d like to use from an array of different colors and flavors to my liking (or the clients’). It’s a joy to be able to experience the wonder of music. I believe music is a gift that God has blessed mankind to be able to enjoy.”
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An Exclusive Interview with TREN Introducing Richard Williams and TREN Award-winning film composer, Richard Williams, originally from Salinas, California, first tried his hand at composing when he was in middle school but was not very successful at it because he could...