This post was written by Joy Ngiaw.

As a film composer, nothing is more fulfilling than knowing that your music has contributed to culturally relevant content that celebrates diversity and inclusion. Scoring for Netflix/CBS's TV show Glamorous allowed me to be a part of a production that wholeheartedly embraces a diverse array of fresh perspectives in a deeply meaningful way.

Glamorous is an incredibly special show that follows the journey of a gender-non-confirming individual pursuing their dreams. It delves into themes of gender identity and inclusion, and what makes this show truly exceptional is that it explores a wide range of LGBTQ+ experiences--each character gets their own storyline, their own space to exist and breathe.

As a composer, it was the perfect canvas for me to create music that captures the essence of these characters, delving into the complexities of human emotions and relationships. Whether it involved characters finding their own identity amidst complicated family dynamics, work relationships, or love interests--I had the privilege to write music that humanizes these relatable experiences. The opportunity to contribute to a series that aimed to break barriers, redefine traditional narratives and challenge societal norms excited me tremendously.

Composer Joy Ngiaw workingComposer Joy NgiawCredit: Joy Ngiaw

The sound of this score represents a departure from my usual orchestral work, allowing me to embrace a more contemporary and pop-inspired style. The filmmakers' keywords were “trendy, sexy, and intriguing.” Drawing inspiration from considering "what kind of music our characters would like to listen to?" I incorporated pop elements into my musical palette to enhance and support these characters' journeys.

In the show, there's a beautiful mix of light-hearted and tender moments, allowing the score to breathe life into the characters and their struggles. Something fun I experimented with was using plug-ins to manipulate traditional orchestral instruments such as the harp, piano, vibes, and my voice. This infusion aimed to add a touch of dreaminess and modern flair to the more sentimental moments of the score.

During this exciting experimental phase, I was lucky to have the amazing showrunners, Jordon Nardino and Kameron Tarlow, cheering me on every step of the way. Their enthusiasm and support fueled my creative journey, helping me craft a score that's full of life and energy, just like this incredible show. It’s truly an honor to be part of this team.

It’s exhilarating when I get to embrace a project that celebrates diversity because I believe inclusivity is the heartbeat of storytelling. When a diverse group of creatives comes together, they bring with them a wide range of perspectives, life experiences, and cultural influences. This diversity of viewpoints results in a more nuanced and authentic portrayal of characters, themes, and emotions, both in the music and the overall project.

Composer Joy Ngiaw laying on sheet musicComposer Joy NgiawCredit: Joy Ngiaw

As a newly elected executive board member of the Composer Diversity Collective, I can't stress enough how crucial it is to find your community as an artist or creative. I believe in the power of coming together and uniting for a cause. Challenge yourself to embrace diverse perspectives and explore stories that shine a light on the richness of the human experience.

Seeing ourselves or our culture depicted on the screen brings validation and recognition, reinforcing the idea that our stories and experiences are truly valuable and deserving of representation. Likewise, seeing someone else's culture reflected on screen fosters empathy and understanding, allowing us to appreciate the uniqueness that all cultures bring to the table. That’s the beauty of life, isn’t it? We're all wonderfully unique and multifaceted. I feel extremely lucky that as a film composer, I get to use my art as a medium to support stories that showcase such a wealth of perspectives.

As an artist, I truly believe in the power of storytelling to connect people, bridge gaps, and promote empathy. Scoring Glamorous has been a profound experience, fueling my passion to seek out culturally relevant content that gives a voice to underrepresented communities. As I continue my composing journey, I'm determined to pour the same deep and heartfelt essence and passion into each score. My goal as an artist is to help contribute to meaningful stories that embrace the beauty of diversity and inspire positive change worldwide.
This post was written by Joy Ngiaw.

Born in Malaysia and raised in China, Joy Ngiaw is a HMMA-Winning and Annie Nominated composer for film and tv. She composed for Apple TV+ and Skydance's debut animation Blush, for which she had won Best Score for 2021 Hollywood Music in Media award. Other recent scores include Walt Disney Animation Studio's Short Circuit: Jing Hua, and Netflix's Rescued By Ruby. Nominated for the prestigious Emerging Talent award by the Society of Composers and Lyricists, Joy is rapidly becoming a distinguished voice among a new generation of film composers.

She had contributed to a wide variety of critically acclaimed works including TV shows Legion (FX), Cobra Kai (Netflix), The Night Of (HBO), films Impractical Jokers: The Movie (WarnerMedia), On The 12th Date of Christmas (Hallmark), and video games What Remains of Edith Finch.

A summa cum laude graduate of Berklee College of Music, Joy is drawn to stories that invoke nostalgia and meaningful connections. Her emotional composition approach aims to bridge thought-provoking perspectives and contribute toward culturally relevant content that celebrates diversity. She is currently residing in Los Angeles and is represented by the William Morris Endeavor agency.