by Peter Keough ’20 A&E Staff
Having a name like Ludwig in the music industry is a predetermined invitation for comparison. Sharing this nomenclature with one of the most recognized composers of all time, Ludwig van Beethoven, leaves any other artist with rather large shoes to fill. However, with multiple Grammy and Oscar award wins over the past few weeks, 34-year-old composer and producer, Ludwig Göransson, is certainly making a name for himself.
Born in Sweden, Göransson attended the University of Southern California in the mid-2000s to study film and television scoring. It was during his college years that he made two of the most important connections that would later influence his career. Göransson forged friendships with both Donald Glover, known as Childish Gambino, and fellow USC student, Ryan Coogler.
Göransson’s work with Glover helped kick-start his musical career, as he worked closely with the musician to help write and produce almost all of his early work. This includes Gambino’s 2010 debut album, Camp, 2013 follow-up Because the Internet, and 2016’s critically acclaimed Awaken, My Love! It was his work on this most recent album that earned Göransson his first Grammy nominations.
Although these nominations did not secure a win, it would only be two years later that Göransson would begin to garner more than nominations and acclaim. Through his college friendship with Coogler, Göransson was given the chance to begin scoring films which caught the attention of the public. His scores for Coogler’s films Fruitvale Station, Creed, and Creed II began to popularize Göransson in the scoring world.
It was not until this past year, however, that Göransson’s worlds of composition and producing collided on some of the biggest critical stages in Hollywood. His score for Coogler’s cultural phenomenon Black Panther earned him nominations at the Academy Awards, Golden Globes, and Grammys for Best Original Score and Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media. This time, Göransson’s work netted him not only nominations, but also wins, as he took home the Oscar and Grammy in these categories.
At the same time, Göransson’s production on Childish Gambino’s omnipresent cultural zeitgeist track, “This Is America,” earned the pair Grammy nominations for Record of the Year and Song of the Year. Winning in each of these categories, Göransson only continued to build on his victorious run this awards season.
When interviewed by Rodney Carmichael of NPR, Göransson was asked about what exactly is garnering his public recognition now as opposed to during his earlier work. He responded by claiming, “We’re not doing anything different than we did 10 years ago…We’re still doing the same thing. People are just listening to it in a different way.” Göransson is simply continuing to work as he always has, bringing his creativity and skill to the projects he works on. In doing so, Göransson is effectively solidifying himself as a talent across mediums and as a name to look out for in the future of film and music.