Keith Power knows about deadlines.
Last year Power provided 38 minutes of music for each of 24 episodes of Hawaii Five-0 (CBS/Global)… and he had only four days per show to write it. “They want it to feel like a blockbuster movie, so there’s hardly a moment that’s silent,” Power says. Not only that, he was also scoring Heartland (CBC/CW) at the same time – an additional 16 minutes of music per show.
That’s a lot of music. It’s also a lot of SOCAN royalty cheques: Heartland enters its fifth season in September and currently airs in more than 20 countries. Hawaii Five-0, which is starting its second season in September, already airs in almost 50 countries. By 2014, it will air twice a day, five days a week.
Power was born in a small town in Newfoundland 36 years ago and started writing “really bad songs” when he was about nine. “Composing for me was making things up on the instruments I was learning,” says the composer, who now plays piano, guitar, bass, percussion, flutes and whistles. “Improvising came naturally.”
After four years in the jazz program at the University of Toronto, Power went to work for KEEN Music in Toronto, writing music for ads. “Over the course of six years I wrote between 200 and 300 TV commercials,” he says. But when he was asked to write music for The Gavin Crawford Show (which aired for three seasons on the Comedy Network), he knew immediately that this was what he really wanted to do. “I bought all the film scores I could and basically taught myself,” he recalls. “I had a score by every composer in Hollywood.”
Power moved to Los Angeles in 2004, cutting his teeth in Hollywood by working as a support composer/arranger for more established composers. In the past 18 months alone he has contributed music to the scores of several blockbuster action movies, including Fast Five, Iron Man 2, Battle: Los Angeles, The Expendables, and Predators. Most recently Power – who occasionally writes music for video games, too – has created a full score for Replicas, a psychological thriller starring Selma Blair and Josh Close.
“My passion is this magical collaborative process,” says Power. “That’s what drives me – waking up every morning to work with a team to bring a show to life.”
• Power’s Celtic-flavoured music for A Shine of Rainbows (the film won several international awards) was nominated for Best Score at the Irish Film and Television Awards in 2009.
• At press time, his most recent score was for the video game Dark Sector.
• He scored orchestral arrangements of Hawksley Workman songs for Workman’s show with Symphony Nova Scotia in September.