Photo by Marvel Studios/Disney
Hit play below to listen to our extended Arts Alive feature with Ludwig Göransson discussing his score to Black Panther.
Ludwig Göransson has come a long way since his days of listening to Metallica and playing guitar while growing up in Sweden. He fell in love with film music in high school, and—after studying jazz guitar at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm—he was accepted into the film scoring program at USC. There he became friends with a young filmmaker named Ryan Coogler, who asked Göransson to score his short film, Locks. When Coogler got a chance to direct his first feature in 2013, Fruitvale Station, he brought Göransson along for the ride. The film caught fire at festivals and was praised by critics, and it established Coogler as a powerful new voice in Hollywood.
Coogler’s next film was Creed, which continued the story of Sylvester Stallone’s famous character Rocky, by focusing on the young son of his old opponent and friend, Apollo Creed. It gave Göransson an opportunity to write big, orchestral, thematic movie music—but he also wove in the musical language of its young, black characters. He comes by hip-hop honestly, as a regular performer, songwriter, and producer with the rapper Childish Gambino. (Their song “Redbone” was nominated for a Grammy last month.)
Composer Ludwig Göransson with KUSC’s Tim Greiving
Black Panther is Göransson’s biggest canvas yet. It’s a giant action-adventure superhero movie, with huge fight scenes and urban car chases. Most of it is set in the fictional African country of Wakanda, which is built with stunning futuristic technology. The score is full of big themes, African musical traditions, and even more hip-hop. If you weren’t aware of Ludwig Göransson before, you sure are now.