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Meet Zach Heyde

Today we’d like to introduce you to Zach Heyde.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Zach. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I’ve pretty much been making music my whole life! My parents tell me that when I was three, they thought they heard the TV on in the living room. When they went to check, they found me playing the Flintstones theme on my toy piano!

I’ve been really fortunate to have the support of my family, friends, and teachers every step of the way. My 2nd-grade teacher discovered my perfect pitch, and spent time after class training and developing my ear. I started piano lessons at age seven, composing annually for the local Young Composer’s Contest in my hometown of Darien, CT. My love for writing music really took off when my piano teacher showed me the music of Rachmaninov when I was 13. I was HOOKED by that kind of emotional expression, and in a way, that’s what drew me to film music as well.

I entered the Hartt School of Music in 2011, and that’s where I met my good friend and longtime collaborator, Frank Tedesco. We were both freshman year composition students, and on a whim decided to record a four-hand piano arrangement of “Sleigh Ride” for YouTube. Our classmates and teachers loved it, and soon after were invited by Alfred Music Publishing to work as part-time arrangers. Frank and I still collaborate very actively to this day; in 2017, we launched our YouTube channel “Frank and Zach Piano Duets”, and release a new arrangement every month dressed in goofy costumes themed like the songs we play!

During my last year of college, I spent four months abroad in Vienna, which was an INCREDIBLE experience that built my love for travel. After graduating Hartt in 2015, I decided to move to Nashville as a kind of challenge, to see if I could survive as a musician outside of my hometown. I spent three years in Nashville continuing my collaborations with Frank, building my relationship with my incredibly supportive girlfriend Natalie, and honing my chops as a composer and orchestrator. I picked up copyist work locally through Ocean Way Studios, and remotely through Sesame Street and other NYC-based theater productions.

This year, I finally decided to take the plunge and move here to LA–something I’ve always dreamed of, but only recently had the courage to do! My move was motivated by my desire to connect face-to-face with the people I’ve worked with, and it’s already paid off immensely. Composing can be an isolated and lonely gig, so the ability to step out of the studio and grab a coffee with other creative minds is something I really value and love about being here.

My most recent work as a composer has been for Marvel Ultimate’s webcomic series “War of the Realms” and “Absolute Carnage”. Those have been an absolute BLAST to work on, and the team has been incredible. Huge shoutout to John Nee for the opportunity, and for Nick Lowe, Jake Thomas, and Lindsey Cohick for taking a chance on me!

Having so much support from your family and community and even your grade school teachers is amazing and kind of rare.  You are definitely lucky.  Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I’ve used the support and kindness from people in my life as a foundation to carry me through my career, but like any artist I think the greatest challenges I face are the internal ones—the inner voices telling me “You’re not cut out for this”, “You’re not ready”, “Don’t risk this”, et cetera. These thoughts can be crippling for anyone, so the way I overcome that anxiety and negativity is to focus on positive, actionable goals.

I think artists have a lot more power over their careers than they realize, and I feel very positively about the industry and the potential for one to grow. It’s by no means EASY—not at all! It takes long hours, strong time management, and a great deal of patience—but I’ve always been one to enjoy the process over the outcome, so I try to find joy and gratitude in any opportunity that comes my way. We’re so privileged as musicians to do what we love for a living, and that privilege outweighs any frustration I might have on the day-to-day.

Internal challenges are often the most difficult ones to overcome, it’s something we hear from our interviewees daily.  Thanks for opening up about your experiences.  What else should we know about you and your career so far?
I’m a composer for Marvel, D&D, podcasts, and short films/animations. I specialize primarily in orchestral and ambient music, though I love composing many styles including classical, jazz, and metal. I have a love for both old and new music, so I actively try to write music that blends old-school orchestra with modern textures, electronics, and world music.

I’m also co-founder of Frank & Zach Piano Duets on YouTube, and sheet music webstore Stems Up Sound. Frank Tedesco and I create four-hand piano arrangements of music from video games, film, and TV, and love sharing our performances and scores with aspiring musicians of all ages!

Aside from that work, I’m a music copyist for Sesame Street and NYC theater, an orchestrator for church music, and an online music educator.

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