We had the good fortune of connecting with Ralf Lichtenberg and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ralf, why did you pursue a creative career?
For a long time, my life has been a zigzag between music and other careers. I attended a few different schools and I even got a degree in psychology before I studied music and composition for media. Music and making music was always present and a strong pillar for me. It was and is the one thing I most enjoy doing and spending time on. Although I was always aware of that, fears and uncertainty brought me first into psychology and even though I really like that career, it never fulfilled me like music. The feeling of bringing a wide array of emotions to the world through my music is something incomparable and it is an important reason why I pursued my career as a film composer. Helping to bring a movie to live with music has always unique challenges and brings opportunities to grow and overcome your own creative limits. Those are primary reasons for me to do what I do and keep doing it.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
As a composer, I believe that finding your distinguished sound is important. It certainly comes with time, effort, and develops every time more as long as you keep evolving and challenge yourself. Everyone is different and has different backgrounds which gives us the opportunity to be unique in our style. I think a big step in a composers career comes when a director or producer approaches you because he or she likes your style. That is a great feeling because it shows that you are one the right way. It is certainly not easy, but it helps a lot being open, flexible, and having the personal tools to keep pushing your own limits. All this is not something I see as a problem or a burden, but more as an opportunity to learn new things and prove to myself that I can increase my knowledge and experience. I like the challenge to create something distinguished with every new project and I enjoy the feeling when my client likes what I have created and the audience response positively. I have learned that even if you are “lost” in life, there is an internal voice that tells you what to do and what is best for you. Listening to it can be challenging, but I also believe it is a key to success. Being able to overcome fear and make a step into unknown territory can be frightening but, have a relieving and beautiful outcome if you believe in your abilities. I am where I am today because sometimes I just took a step into the dark but in the end, darkness turned out to be full of light and has helped me to get closer to my goals. If I can be proud of something it is probably taking those steps. So, for you dear reader, if I can do it, you can too.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love nature so, I would bring them to the mountains and hike on some trails in Malibu and the Hollywood Hills. Of course seeing a sunset from Griffith Observatory is a must and the drive back home through Down Town LA at night to see the lights. A visit to different beaches would be another obvious point with some body surfing through the waves and the mandatory sunset. Then there would be a BBQ on Dockwiler Beach to see the planes taking off from LAX. The hamburgers right next to the airport are also a must while the delightful sound of airplanes passing a few feet above accompanies us (insiders know what place I am talking about). A stroll through different worlds like Venice, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills and Hollywood should also be interesting and that day would end with some tacos from a truck right on Venice and La Brea. There are also a few very nice theme parks to visit like Six Flags, Universal Studios or Disneyland, all of them exciting and different. I also would ask a friend to take us out on his yacht to be in the middle of the ocean and jump into the deep blue. To round it up, a visit to the Getty museum and the Getty Villa would give the visit a nice cultural touch as would a concert at the Hollywood bowl do (preferably with film music).
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
First of all, I couldn’t do what I am doing without the unconditional love and help from my family. They have always supported me and given me a hand to get where I want to be. They trust in me and my abilities to overcome obstacles and I know I can rely on them if I need to. Also, I couldn’t be where I am now as a film composer if not for my mentor and friend Chris Young, who is a renowned film composer. He encouraged me to come to LA, to study my specialty instead of staying in Vienna, opened the doors of his house, welcomed me and gave me the unique opportunity to start my life in this town. He always lends an open ear and provides advice in this hard business if needed.