Obi-Wan Kenobi

Natalie Holt confirms she’s the composer for ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ and talks about the score

In a new interview with Vanity Fair, Natalie Holt (Loki, Paddington) has confirmed she’s the composer for Obi-Wan Kenobi. As a reminder, John Williams also wrote a new theme for the series. Here are some interesting excerpts from Holt’s interview:

[Vanity Fair:] How did you and Williams come to work in tandem?

[Natalie Holt:] Obi-Wan is a legacy character that John hadn’t written a theme for because he died quite early on in A New Hope. It’s the only legacy character that he hadn’t done. So he spoke to [Lucasfilm president] Kathleen Kennedy and said, “I just want to write Benny a theme.” So who can deny him that? And he did, he wrote the Obi theme, and it just embodies the spirit of the show entirely.”

How would you describe his new Obi-Wan theme?

It’s reflective, and it’s just entirely appropriate. And it distills what the show is about in just the perfect way that John Williams can. It’s wistful, but there’s an element of hope to it. It’s doing something new and I think people are going to be really blown away by it.”

You mentioned that you’re a violinist. Do you perform in the score, or are you strictly composing?

I do! Actually, I am singing and I’m playing viola. And I’m playing some violin in there, too. So yeah, I am performing on the score.”

Obviously, you want to fit into the Star Wars universe and the themes and music that have come before. But I’m really struck by what the TV shows have done in terms of breaking away from tradition, too, as with Ludwig Göransson’s compositions for The Mandalorian. How would you characterize the balance of what you’ve tried to accomplish?

I think it’s an emotional score, and it does have its roots in the Star Wars tradition a little more than The Mandalorian does. We had a collection of 250 horns and flutes, and I used this hunting horn in the score. We’re also blending the orchestra with some more modern synths sounds as well. It’s definitely what we’re used to and a few new elements.”

Did you incorporate any particular cultural or musical influences from the real world?

It’s always a thing with Star Wars—finding that Dixieland piece in the Cantina. It’s taking things that we are familiar with on Earth and giving them a twist. So there’s some of that with some instruments and some of themes that we hear in the series. There are some new worlds that we are introduced to. Coming up with the sound, each world has its own character.

What are some of the musical genres that factored in there?

There are some Latin influences in one of the planets. There’s some Thai, Hong Kong sounds that are more Eastern. Definitely you take flavors from around the world, and then try and turn them into something … otherworldly. You’re on Star Wars, you’re scoring a planet, it has to have scale.”

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