We had the good fortune of connecting with Catherine Joy and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Catherine, what role has risk played in your life or career?
When I was 18 I packed up my life and moved to the USA from Hobart, Tasmania. The only thing I really had squared away at that point was a place to sleep. Everything else was up in the air – including a visa! It was a massive risk. But I knew with everything in me it was the right thing to do. I have taken a lot of risks since that time. Not all of them have panned out but so many have. I think my favorite one was moving to Los Angeles from Seattle on Thanksgiving 2012 to continue my career as a film composer. It was another great risk. However, before I moved I visited here many times. I met with many people, joined key organizations, and came to know the community. The result was that seven days after I had moved I received a call asking me if I was here yet, because there was a gig opportunity. All this to say that I greatly believe in Risk. But the thing I have also come to strongly believe in since my move to this wonderful country as a clueless 18 year old is Preparation. You cannot prepare for everything, not by a long shot, but putting in the work to prepare as well as possible is the best thing you can do for yourself and for everyone else in your life. I also know that when I was young I moved very fast but the older I get the more I try to slow down, take a beat, and breathe. Risk is good, but rushing or panic is generally no good for anyone.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a composer for film, media, live performance and anything else that needs music. In the last few months I have written music for feature and short films, TV, podcasts, and a Ballet. While I can write music just for or by myself, I really do this for the collaboration. Being part of a team, and having my music be one piece of a bigger artistic venture. The way I got to where I am today is through collaboration and a willingness to check my ego. I started working as a film composer when I was in my thirties. While starting over later in life is becoming more common, it is still challenging to begin a new career at a time when you are apparently supposed to have it all figured out. (Still not sure who made up those rules….) I knew in order to make it I would need to swallow my pride and buckle down to catch up. I felt behind but I used that feeling as fuel. I overcame challenges by working hard and learning as much as I could about working smart. I put to use all the skills I had developed in every arena, not just the world of music. I love to read books on workflow and business that are not music or film related, and then apply those theories back to my field. I also created a diverse portfolio. While I made a name for myself as a composer amongst my filmmaker community, in my composer community I made a name for myself as an orchestrator and score producer. This gave me more work and income options and helped me stay busy and keep growing as a creative. The result of this approach was creating the score production company Joy Music House. We are a team of composers who, when we are not scoring our own projects, come together to work with our composer clients on their projects. Composers supporting composers. I think art is at its best when it is a collaboration. The greatest lessons I have learned (and continue to learn) are humility, be kind always, listen first. Use what you have. Everyone has a unique set of skills as a result of their individual paths through life. You should be using every tool in your collection to get where you want to go. Be willing to fail. Be willing to reevaluate and pivot as needed. Be the best you can be in every endeavor.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
That is a hard question to answer right now! I love getting in the car and driving through the canyons down to the beaches in Malibu. The canyons and the beaches are some of my favorite things about California. I also love hiking from my place in Hollywood up to the Griffith Observatory. And then I love food and rooftop bars. I am not a big tourist attraction fan. I love to share more of the regular LA life with my friends. If we can go to an industry screening, that is always super fun.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to dedicate my shout out to the organization The Alliance for Women Film Composers, of which I am the Vice President. Since I became a member and part of the leadership team in 2016 I have learnt so much and been mentored and inspired by so many amazing composers.

Website: https://www.catherinejoymusic.com/
Instagram: @cathjoymusic
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/catherinegrealish/
Twitter: @cathjoymusic
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cathjoymusic
Other: https://www.joymusichouse.com/

Image Credits
CALEB THAL

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