Tuesday, August 13, 2019
Film Composer and singer-songwriter Hayat Selim received her master’s in Composition for Screen from the Royal College of Music, a course ranked as number one in Europe and number two in the world in film music composition.
Hayat has been an active media composer since 2015, starting off in the Egyptian media scene until she moved to London in 2017 to pursue her masters. She started her music path since childhood at the German School Deutsche Schule der Borromäerinnen (DSB), in Cairo, that put a lot of stress on classical music and the arts in general. Hayat has been in choirs since childhood, started learning the piano at age nine and grew up with stage life, singing and acting. In high school Hayat started growing a passion for poetry and songwriting which led to her first steps towards composition.
Being also very passionate about math and technology, in 2009 she started an undergraduate degree in Digital Media Engineering and Technology at the German University in Cairo next to continuing private studies on the piano and singing; performing in different venues in Cairo. She was one of the first members of the GUC Music Ensemble. Halfway through her studies, she realised music was starting to become her entire universe so she started taking steps towards pursuing music professionally next to completing her Bachelor of Science. She studied composition privately with Egyptian composers Ramz Sabry Samy and Khaled Shokry, as well as classical singing with Dr. Neveen Allouba and pop/musicals with Sherif El Dabaa.
In 2015 Hayat received a scholarship to MediaSoundHamburg, the international summer academy for film music, game music and sound design, a first step towards media music. Even though she was originally set out for film scoring and songwriting, her first doors in media music opened in the rising Egyptian video game industry. Her first commission was “Initia Elemental Arena”, a fantasy first person shooter PC game. In 2016 she won the Young Talent Award Game Music composition competition in Hamburg, Germany, for two of her compositions from “Initia Elemental Arena”. She worked on numerous mobile games and virtual reality experiences since then and was the first go-to composer and sound designer in the Egyptian video game industry. She gave several talks about the history of sound and music in video games in the biggest gaming events in Cairo, including “Run Double Jump” and “Global Game Jam”. In 2019 Hayat was profiled in Meagan Marie’s book “Women in Gaming: 100 Professionals of Play” celebrating women working in the gaming industry.
In 2016 Hayat received a scholarship from the Royal College of Music and the Noel Coward Foundation, supported by the Clifton Parker Award and the Henry Wood Trust to do a masters in composition for screen at the Royal College of Music in London. With this opportunity, Hayat was back on track with her pursuit of film music. She studied with Emmy nominated Maurizio Malagnini, Enrica Sciandrone and Howard Davidson.
Amongst Hayat’s work on over 15 short films in the last two years, Hayat wrote the music for “Contact” by Hassan Reda, “Stories My Mother Told Me” by Doreen Edemafaka and “Parallelism” by Sukanya-Devika K Jhala that made it to numerous film festivals nationally and internationally.
As media composer, the skill of morphing between different genres is essential but every musician has their favourite genre. Hayat’s compositional interest lies most in combining classical cinematic orchestration with world music influences, voice and atmospheric backgrounds.
Next to her media music work, Hayat still pursues singing and songwriting, working on her E.P. album. Her song “She’s All of That” was premiered March 2019 at the Royal Academy of Arts celebrating International Women’s Day. Her soundtrack “The Great Red Spot” was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 for the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11. Hayat is currently taking steps towards basing herself in London and continues to work on projects in London and Egypt.
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