Joy Ngiaw is a composer inspired by human connection based in Los Angeles. She began learning classical piano at 6 and found a love for composing after joining her school’s orchestra. After attending Berklee College of Music, she went on to score shows such as Blush (Apple TV+), Rescued by Ruby (Netflix), and Disney Short Circuit S1EP10: Jing Hua (Disney+), with the first season of an upcoming animated television series as her latest project! Ngiaw’s artistic goal is to work on projects that celebrate diversity and showcase the beauty of different cultures. When offstage, she’s a firm believer in self-care and engages in early morning practices such as journaling, meditation, and walks. Her advice to young artists? “Be kind, be curious, and be 100% authentically yourself.” Read on to learn more about Joy Ngiaw and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Name: Joy Ngiaw
Heritage: Chinese Malaysian
Hometown: Pahang, Malaysia
Current City: Los Angeles
Current project: I’m currently working on season 1 of an upcoming animated TV series.
What are some of your favorite credits/projects:
Blush (Apple TV+), Rescued by Ruby (Netflix), and Disney Short Circuit S1EP10: Jing Hua (Disney+).
Any advice for young people getting into the arts?
Be kind, be curious, and be 100% authentically yourself. I find the most meaningful collaborations always came from me being open, honest and vulnerable, and that’s when the true connection and creativity sparks.
How did you get your start?
I started playing classical piano at the age of 6, and found my love for composing through improvising on the piano. After joining the school orchestra, I realize that it always excites me to hear all the different instruments joining together in harmony, and that I found so much joy in collaborating and connecting with others. Film scoring was the perfect combination for my love for music and passion for storytelling.
Do you have any favorite moments in your career that you'd like to share?
The recording session for Blush (Apple TV+) is absolutely one of my favorite experiences. The team had worked on the film during the pandemic in quarantine, and it was the first time we all met in person at the scoring stage. Everyone really cherished our time together, and hearing those wonderful LA musicians bring our score to life – it was a thrill like no other!
What have you found is the biggest challenge in your career?
At the beginning stages of my career, I struggled a lot with self doubt. The nature of freelance is sometimes there will be down time, and it’s up to you to make the most out of it and keep honing in your craft. Everyone’s path is different, and I think there is so much power in trusting in your own path and journey.
Who is your favorite composer, and what do you find interesting about their music?
Joe Hisaishi’s music has always been a huge inspiration to me. I love how his music always brings the audience back to the heart of the movie, and it’s so deeply connected to the characters and story. Hearing his scores always seems to be able to transport me to a land of nostalgia, and it inspires me to dive into that land of in-between, and explore beautiful complex emotions.
What are some interesting facts about yourself?
I grew up in an extremely BIG family – My dad has 9 siblings and my mom has 14. There’s a huge emphasis on genuine camaraderie, and I absolutely love that!
If you come from parents who aren’t in the arts, what parts of them do you see in yourself that have helped you succeed in the business?
I look up to my parents immensely, and they definitely shaped who I am today. From my dad, he’s always been so warm, kind and inviting to others around him, so I definitely got my love for human connection through him. From my mom, I admire her emotional intelligence and vulnerability, to not be afraid to express myself and get in touch with my emotions. I hold both of them dear in everything I do.
What is the best part about writing music?
That I get to connect and collaborate with so many wonderful human beings. I am constantly inspired by the honesty and vulnerability of these talented storytellers, and feel so incredibly lucky that I get to write music for a living.
If you could go back in time, what would you tell your younger self?
I would tell her that it’s ok to just be. It’s ok to be emotional. It’s ok to be yourself. Embrace your empathetic nature as it will soon become the color palette to your music.
Where did you study at?
Berklee College of Music.
Do you have any self care practices you do to stay focused and sane?
I’m an early riser, and really value my alone time in the early morning. Since the nature of our job can be very “emotions-heavy,” I think it’s extremely important to take care of your mental health. I found practices such as meditation, journaling, going on walks very beneficial to reset, pause and connect back to our inner self. That only serves me in being creative as with a clear mind, I am able to connect back to the filmmaker’s vision, and channel in their “why.”
What is your goal?
My goal as an artist is to help contribute to meaningful and culturally relevant content that celebrates diversity.
What inspires you?
To find out more about Joy Ngiaw, please visit her at:
Social Media: @joyngiaw
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