Today we’d like to introduce you to Gabriel Majou.
Can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today. You can include as little or as much detail as you’d like.
As a musician, I started out as a dreamer. Like many, I started out as a kid who had a lot of ideas about the way the world should or should not be, and who was wondering: “how can I tell the world what’s on my mind? how can I make a difference? how can we inspire ourselves to do things better?”… Born and raised in Paris, it all started with the performance which led to the composition. At first, I wanted to become a classical violinist. My parents had me join the conservatory at the age of 6 where I enjoyed having weekly private lessons, tonal writing classes and playing in various orchestras. Then my growing appeal to Jazz led me to study at the IMEP Paris College Of Music. I was 19 years old and on my way to graduate with both a classical and jazz diploma, yet I was still afraid to consider music as a career. At that time, I was offered to pursue an earth science degree in one of Paris’ top University and I was almost ready to give up the whole music path!
Flashback to when I was attending the Conservatory in Paris. I met my longtime musical brother in arms: violinist Tony Bird (@antoine_tonybird). We co-founded the instrumental jazz rock combo 2BirdsBand (www.2birdsband.com) and started to experience the ‘band’ life. I loved every bit of this adventure: rehearsals, meetings, creative writing, recording sessions, live shows, but also and most importantly, building camaraderie and fostering community around our music. This taught me a long lasting lesson: music can be such a powerful tool to tell the world what’s on our mind, music can make a difference in other people’s lives, music can inspire ourselves to do things better. At that point, it appeared to me that the greatest gift I could give myself was to decide to fully commit to the music journey, and I applied to Berklee College Of Music.
At Berklee, I was doing a Film Scoring major with a minor in Conducting. I became fascinated by the many ways a soundtrack can help tell a story, how it can convey emotions where the picture cannot, or how it can make a difference and inspire us. As part of my senior directed studies, I’ve got the opportunity to work on a feature documentary called Farmers for America (2017) as a composer and violinist. When the movie was premiered at the Future Farmers of America conference in Indianapolis, I remember feeling complete. I saw something in film scoring that I had not seen before: the capacity to create a synergy between artists to achieve something bigger than themselves. On the day of my graduation, I heard about an opening assistant position in Los Angeles. I jumped on this opportunity and I was fortunate enough to be hired a couple months later at the studio of Christopher Tin (www.christophertin.com).
Has it been a smooth road? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
There were many. A few months before moving to the US, I started seeing a girl from the Conservatory, Camille (www.camillebrault.com), and we soon became best friends. Today, this same girl is an opera singer and… she is also my wife! Although we’ve moved a lot throughout the years, Camille and I have never lived in the same city and we’ve been dealing with long distance relationship for about 7 years. The reason was quite simple: different fields of the music industry, different careers, different cities… It’s true when they say that this business can be wonderful, thrilling and inspiring but it can also be a restless roller coaster, full of ups and downs… To a certain degree, we as artists are always “on the market”, hustling and connecting, creating and hoping, because we never know where the next gig might take us. Camille and I ended up experiencing most of it without being ‘physically’ connected, while having to rely on technology to support each others.
Nevertheless, I believe that facing the uncertainty of this world can only help reassuring the certainty of the relationship that we make along the way. Surprisingly, our long distance relationship has helped us redefine who we are as human beings. We learned that the fear-of-losing-someone psyche can go into some kind of reverse mode when knowing how to let it go, trust and love. Also, having to deal with each everyday struggles on our own allowed us to identify the problems faster and have a chance to work on them. At the end of the day, it was all about her. Our story has been nurtured one text, one call, one trip at a time. It has never been easy. But we stuck with it. For all of these reasons, LA has been a magical place for me to realize how far I’ve gone, and how far we still need to go, on our own and together.
Tell us about your business/company. What do you do, what do you specialize in, what are you known for, etc. What are you most proud of as a company? What sets you apart from others?
Versatility and adaptability have become keys to thrive in today’s kaleidoscopic music industry. I’ve learned that lesson while working in LA where your chances of making a living in the business improves greatly if you have more than one way to hit the target. As Christopher Tin’s assistant I got to be a part of a wide array of projects, such as arranging additional music on the blockbuster Crazy Rich Asian (2018), orchestrating a reissue print of a Warner Brothers’ silent film, or launching the Kickstarter campaign for his third studio album To Shiver the Sky (http://kck.st/2rSef0Y). These experiences opened up many opportunities for me, such as arranging for the UN Chamber Music Society (www.unchambermusic.org) at Carnegie Hall, working as an orchestrator with the Disney music team, and fostering long lasting relationships with inspiring artists and human beings.
I’ve also had the opportunity to grow and diversify my own freelancing career. For example, I’ve been performing at the Dolby Theater with singer Ahlam (@ahlamalshamsi), scoring and orchestrating with DJ @tyDi, arranging for singer songwriters such as LA-based @leahcapelle and @subat, composing for animation shorts designed by @colombinemajou, publishing sheet music materials for online music schools such as the Creative Strings Workshop (www.christianhowes.com) and bands such as the Rhythm Future Quartet (www.rhythmfuturequartet.com), and scoring short films with director TJ Barber (www.tjbarber.com), among others.
Most of my motivation to pursue a career in the music industry came from listening to the classics collection of film scores. I’ve always been fascinated by the creative ways composers like George Delerue were able to marry the orchestra to the picture. That is why perhaps one of my dearest memories of my music journey was to receive the George Delerue Memorial Scholarship Award from Berklee’s Film Scoring department. Mrs. Delerue established this endowed fund in honor of her late husband, a legendary film composer. I was humbled to have the opportunity to meet and become friends with Colette Delerue, she has been my mentor over the years and this relationship is so precious to me. Since I graduated, I also work as a Berklee alumni ambassador, a volunteer opportunity to be involved with assisting the Office of Admissions in identifying and recruiting talented musicians across the globe.
If you had to start over, what would you have done differently?
Interesting… I do ask this to myself a lot! Just like in the film Minority Report, I sometimes let myself completely dive in my database of memories, and I try to imagine all the alternate futures if earlier parts of my storyline would have been modified. Well, my personal reports are usually all the same: I don’t believe in dystopian or utopian futures. All I can do is focusing on ‘today-me’ trying to do ‘tomorrow-me’ the best favor he can. Wherever the music journey takes me, I hope that I will have the chance to pass down as much as I can to the next generation.
Lately, I’ve been fascinated by theatre music, or any music designed to form part of a dramatic performance, as, for example, a ballet, stage play, an exhibition, live program (included are the European operetta and its American form, the musical), or what I like to call: “scoring for the living picture”! Europe brings new horizons in both of our careers – Camille is already working with some theatre productions in Paris, such as the ‘Terrain de Jeu’ company (https://cieterraindejeu.wordpress.com). Europe could also mean relocating with my wife in the same city… for the very first time!
- Website: www.gmajou.com