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

Hi James, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
I believe that my work is my work, and my life is my life. When I was first writing music for different projects, I thought it was virtuous or cool to dedicate a ridiculous amount of hours working and powering through 4AM writing sessions for any giving project. I think a lot of that had to do with spending my time during the day procrastinating and knowing I would stay up late, suffering as an “artist”. Who knows. Now, however, I definitely work when I can, mostly during the afternoon or mornings, and I make sure to rest and enjoy my life much more than I did in those earlier days. I love what I do as a job, but it isn’t everything. My life is spending time with my wife, friends, and family and, a lot of times, doing nothing. Doing nothing is gold. On a Monday, I might do some “gold time”, and then I am rejuvenated creatively on a Tuesday to write a ton of music for multiple projects. I am known by my friends as a fast writer, so I must be working non-stop. Nope! I know myself and my own balance between work and life. I know when to rest. And on those days when I am creatively inspired and energized to write many minutes at a time, I can do that in a time period of 3 hours if that’s all I need, or far more if I want or need to. In the film composing industry, there is definitely a weird culture of bragging about working 80 hours a week and whatnot. No need for that. The more I’ve tipped the scales towards enjoying life, the more successful I have gotten in my business. So there ya go.

Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I definitely find the word “artist” a bit much sometimes, but I am what I am. I do see film music as an art that is complementary to the art of cinema, and I love being apart of it. I started pursuing film music in 2012 or so, while finishing up my music education bachelor’s degree in Cleveland, Ohio. I was fortunate enough to get to go to NYU and live in New York City for a few years, picking up many friendships and gigs writing for upcoming filmmakers and their awesome projects. It definitely wasn’t easy to shift my future from being a teacher to writing music for film, where maybe 10 to 15 people get to make a real living doing so, but I couldn’t help it. I struggled like many others, living in a small Queens apartment with strangers for some time, working low budget gigs and writing for myself and others, struggling financially, and being super insecure about my skills and future. But, as things got better, I was assured with my choices and happy with where I was in life. I don’t regret shifting my path from education to film music and I use so many of the lessons learned from pursuing music education as a film composer. They made me learn how to play trumpet, and, as a drummer first and foremost. it helps! Overall, all the lessons I have learned basically come down to believing in yourself and knowing when it is time to shift gears.

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?
I moved to LA in 2019, and I don’t know much (in general, really) about the city itself. We live in Rancho Palos Verdes because we love the ocean and the quietness here. Very safe, too! So, I would definitely say come to RPV. It’s the best.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My wife! Mihwa Yun. She makes my life the most enjoyable, and I wouldn’t want to work or do much without her love and support.

My buds! Trey Toy works in this business with me as well, and we spend a lot of time discussing and helping each other out. Jordi Nus, for his violin performances on my music that I value so much and his friendship as well. My bud Gavin Brivik, another talented composer and friend who got me this interview as well. Plus many more friends who I collaborate with and need in this world.

Saunder Jurriaans and Danny Bensi, mentors for sure, and my favorite composers for years who I now write with and have worked for on some amazing film and television projects. They’re the best people.

I don’t know how long this is allowed to be, so I’ll lastly say, my parents <3

Website: https://james-newberry.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/0_james.newberry_0/

Other: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm6964712/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1

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