Interview: Ghiya Rushidat | Composer

We talked to composer Ghiya Rushidat about music, video games and her upcoming 2019 album.

By Woozie, Posted 15 Jan 2019

Composer Ghiya Rushidat has had ties to music since her early life. At age four she started playing the piano and until 2008 she envisioned that as her main career, working tirelessly towards her goal. But as time passed, she began to be increasingly drawn to not just playing music but writing her own. This culminated with switching gears and putting the majority of her energy, up until the present, into composition. 

She’s scored movies like Pen of Mirrors and The Heart of Amilcar Cabral, and in 2019 Ghiya will release a new album, this time featuring music inspired by video games. We had the opportunity to chat with her about music, the new album and video games, prior to the album’s launch in the first months of this year.

Ghiya Rushidat,Interview,Music,Album,Gaming

NoobFeed: What was it that prompted you to make the switch from playing piano to taking on the role of composer?

Ghiya Rushidat: Many factors, external and internal, intentional and not. At some point of my career as a pianist, I felt that my soul is craving to perform more original pieces, I needed to express my own journey and emotions in a different way. The passing of my boyfriend and my father back then pushed me to express my pain and grief through music. I started improvising on the piano, writing songs, composing music, and before you know it I got my first movie and then
it was a snowball effect. I still play piano of course, I still revisit the classical pieces I practiced tirelessly for 8 hours a day 10 years ago, and of course as a composer I still write my first drafts of scores on the piano, and I do play piano on stage and in the recording studio whenever I get the chance to.

NoobFeed: How would you describe your style of music to someone who has yet to hear your work?

Ghiya Rushidat: That is a tough question, because I would always rather have listeners describe my music and how it makes them feel. For me, I feel my music is made with the intention of enriching your soul and taking your mind and heart on a journey of your own. I like to disconnect from reality and I try to convey that in my music too. It’s a blend of orchestral, meets ethnic, meets meditative and ethereal. Eventually, being a film composer, you get to experiment with all genres and arrangements, and my voice that is united in all those would be a genuine melody coming from the heart, in an arrangement and orchestration that allows you to go places, hopefully.

NoobFeed: You’ve composed music for TV and film thus far. If we're not mistaken, you’re basing your next album on music tracks you conjured up as if they were written for top video games. When did you first make contact with the medium of video games and what drew you towards wanting to compose music for it?

Ghiya Rushidat: I’ve always loved video games, and have been fortunate to work on some indie and big ones to be announced this year. What draws me to video games is the wide and diverse audience it serves. I love interacting with the younger generations through my music, and I feel video games is the portal to that future. Video games are based on decisions you make and they are more interactive than reactive when you compare it to other mediums as TV and Films. I want to score more games, and play at more video game music concerts, and I want my music to be heard everywhere of course, but especially by the gamers who invest so much time, energy, and passion into moving from one level to another until they see the credits rolling down! *goosebumps*.

Ghiya Rushidat,Interview,Music,Album,Gaming

NoobFeed: Were there any differences in your approach to writing this album compared to your prior work?

Ghiya Rushidat: For sure. For one, this album is ENTIRELY recorded in the box. Meaning, sound samples, nothing but plug ins and sound libraries mocked up with a high quality level. There is not one live instrument in there, except for my vocals in one track. Another thing, which is a surprise to many, is that I actually sang on one of the tracks. I have always been very insecure with my voice, I know I have very limited abilities in that arena but when I recorded my voice as a guide, I felt that this very specific emotion and interpretation would be hard to find. And with the help of my mixing engineer Matt La Point, I believe we got to the perfect, sweet, spot in the mix. This is actually my very first physical album, and when I wrote the pieces I was inspired and I pushed myself to write not for a project or a picture or a producer, etc, but it was written with no restrictions. I let myself go and I hope the outcome would be pleasant and an entertaining and exciting experience to the listeners.

NoobFeed: Did you encounter any particular challenges while composing music with video games in mind? If so, how did you overcome them?

Ghiya Rushidat: Oh man. Honestly, the challenges were never in writing music. I always found a way to get back on track with momentum, inspiration, and motivation. The challenges I faced, and I believe most composers agree with me on that, were more on the logistics side and having support from people around you. I am fortunate to be receiving so much love and support and encouragement from many who believe in me, I got so many incredible reviews by high profiles in the industry who were very generous to listen to the tracks and give me their feedback. But of course, there’ll always be people who like what you do, and people who don't. I would rather focus on the former category and invest my time and love in that.

NoobFeed: You quote Ramin Djawadi and Hans Zimmer among your influences. Are there any video game composers or soundtracks that inspire you or ones that you simply enjoy listening to?

Ghiya Rushidat: I also referred to many others as Sarah Scahchner, Inon Our, Christopher Tin, Penka Kouneva and many others. I guess I am inspired by everything beautiful anyone makes.

NoobFeed: Video games are a meeting point of several art forms which, in the best of cases, work together to create one great whole. In your view, what role does (or should) music fulfill in this scheme?

Ghiya Rushidat: All elements of a video game are major pillars of a game’s success.. It is like building a brick wall, you need all tools, labour and devices to do so. Trying to be unbiased here as a composer, but music plays a vital role in triggering emotions of the player. (That is of course assuming all players keep the sound on). Music causes you to sense fear, to make decisions and respond faster, it can entice you, or provoke you to explore a new chamber here or open a new door there. It enables you to connect more with your character and other characters, it separates the visual locations and pictures for you, it amplifies your feelings and emotions whether it is of sadness, victory, action, etc.

Ghiya Rushidat,Interview,Music,Album,Gaming

NoobFeed: Do you ever find the free time to play video games? Which ones are your favorites?

Ghiya Rushidat: I see this as research, haha. I do try to stay updated and on top of my game when it comes to playing video games. I like co-op games the most because I am a socially introverted person. You might laugh, but I sobbed like a baby when the credits rolled down on that BRAVE game! It was such an emotional moment to me. I love Diablo, Call of Duty, Mario Kart, The Last Guardian, Legend of Zelda, and am currently playing Destiny 2.

NoobFeed: What should gamers expect from your new album?

Ghiya Rushidat: Since this album is going to be based on video games I fantasized about scoring, I want to take my listeners on a journey with me. The album includes many genres and many tastes of the world. I am also challenging the listeners to create their own games, I want to inspire more people to come up with stories, with characters, if you are a painter then draw what you heard for example. I want this album to unleash your talents and to inspire you to share it with the world, fearlessly, courageously.

NoobFeed: What other projects are you embarking on in 2019?

Ghiya Rushidat: I am in the talks now with several orchestras to play the album’s music and I would be conducting. One based in the UK is confirmed but I need to plan out the dates around the world for a tour. Other projects are still in the horizon and not quite confirmed, but I am very excited about them!


We enjoyed our chat with Ghiya and hope you did too. Whether you've heard her music before or are just now discovering her, be on the lookout for her video game-inspired album that's scheduled to release in the first months of 2019.

Bogdan Robert, NoobFeed

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