Today we’d like to introduce you to Trevor Kowalski.
So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I’m a composer from the foothills of New York’s Adirondack Mountains. I spent much of my childhood in nature which has shaped my music tremendously. Those memories, paired with my small town’s arts community and a tight-knit, (very) funny, pragmatic family handed me a toolbox of colorful nostalgia, confidence, and common sense that I’ve carried throughout my life.
My family has always supported classical music and good melodies. I have a nice memory from the early 2000s of laying on a picnic blanket, looking up at the stars with my sister and brother from the lawn seats listening to the Philadelphia Orchestra perform. I fell in love with the genre.
I started piano at six, and my curiosity with it often won out against phases over the years, though not all, like quitting my lessons and founding the tastefully named middle school rock band “Caught by Desire”.
After many years of obsessively working on my music, playing live, and cold calling hundreds of creators a month, I got projects scoring video games and films which got me the interest of listeners and labels. Kind, critical, honest mentors helped a ton.
On top of a love for classical & media music, I listen to R&B, hip-hop, Americana, and numerous genres which have found their subtle way into my music (I went through a heavy metal phase in 2008…not sure if that’s showed up in my work). I try to listen to 100 new songs a week, and I continue to score projects around the world.
My music now has over 75 million streams – something I never thought was possible as a nine years old, laying out on the picnic blanket, looking up at the stars and listening to the orchestra.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I’ve been rejected thousands of times…it’s not so bad. I’m grateful for my opportunities, family, and life. I’ve stayed on my path and I’m confident with my work. Though we all have our moments, I wouldn’t complain about my journey to anyone.
Creatively, loss and change has been a challenging, recurring theme that has impacted my music:
I lost a close friend to a drug-related death years ago – I’ve tried to honor her in my work. Best friends have lost parents to cancer over the years, and I’ve felt for them. Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases have appeared in the family. Channeling these types of experiences into a tasteful musical product is difficult, though I believe that that which is most personal is most universal.
Moving to LA was a (cliché) speed bump. No money, a half-broken phone with a charger permanently duct-taped in, and few plans aside from teaching piano lessons. Thankfully, I wrote music on my bedroom floor that ended up doing commercially well on streaming.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I’m a composer (Trevor Kowalski Music LLC) that’s passionate about bringing the best possible original music to the right project under the most practical deadlines. I’ve worked with award-winning filmmakers & international game developers, theatre directors, artists, and ensembles. I like building bridges – I have an interest in stories from around the world.
My love of minimalism, experimentation, nostalgia, cinematic atmosphere and dream-like harmony brings a unique energy to my work.
I try to trust my gut, seek out kind, direct, self-aware people, and avoid projects I’m not passionate about. I don’t believe you need to be difficult or suffer to make great art – I try to make the best out of my path and surround myself with honest people who have a strong focus and a sense of humor.
A “what do I have to lose?” approach to my business has more often been good than bad. If I say something can’t be done, my mentors respond “why not?”.
I’m also Head of Music at the automated music composition studio HelloComposer. I’m working with my brother Jason who comes from a tech background. Launching soon!
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
I played piano for my Grandma Kowalski in her nursing home many years ago. Though she had advanced dementia, she would talk to me about my performances months later. The fact that my playing stuck with her meant a lot to me. It’s a simple moment I’m proud of.
- Website: https://trevorkowalski.com/
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org