Disney dream comes true for young local musician

|     Aziz Idris     |

A FAMOUS Disney princess once sang, “A dream is a wish your heart makes.” But once you’ve wished it, how do you make that dream come true?

For Bruneian musician Aisyah Zulkarnain, it was a dream come true to be part of the music team for Disney’s upcoming movie, Christopher Robin based on the childhood book character, Winnie the Pooh.

“I have always been a fan of Winnie the Pooh!” the 22-year-old said when asked about her feelings of being a part of the movie. Aisyah had watched much of the show based on the book– even owning a life-sized Pooh toy.

Disney’s Christopher Robin is directed by Marc Forster, known for his work in World War Z, with music by Geoff Zanelli, the music composer for the Pirate of the Caribbean’s film series, and American singer and songwriter, Jon Brion.

After meeting Zanelli’s team, through acquaintances during her time working at Hans Zimmer’s Remote Control Productions – Hollywood music composer responsible for blockbuster movies, The Dark Knight and Inception – the young musician landed the part on the original soundtrack (OST) of Christopher Robin.

Musician Aisyah Zulkarnain. – AISYAH ZULKARNAIN

In an e-mail interview with the Weekend Bulletin, Aisyah explained that a member of Zanelli’s team reached out to the studio she was working at, Arkenstone Inc, and asked if the composer and owner, Bryce Jacobs and Aisyah wanted to be a part of the music team for the film. They replied with a resounding “yes!”

“Working on Disney’s Christopher Robin has definitely been one of the highlights of my career so far! I grew up watching Disney, and still to this day I’m a huge fan, so being a part of a Disney project is definitely a dream come true.

“It was so exciting to be a part of the music team! It was surreal to see Winnie the Pooh and his friends onscreen while we were working, as these characters were so prominent in my childhood,” chimed Aisyah, who turns 23 next month.

Aisyah currently works at Arkenstone Inc with composer Bryce Jacobs as a Technical Score Engineer. Prior to working there, she worked at Hans Zimmer’s Remote Control Productions and Henry Jackman’s Sacred Tiger Music. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree with Honours in Music at the University of Rochester, New York in 2017.

When asked about her experiences working with these big names in Hollywood, Aisyah replied, “Their styles are so unique from one another, but their ideas meshed really well together to create a wonderful score that brings out the personalities of the characters and the emotions of the story line.”

Working as technical score engineer, she was assigned many tasks depending on what was needed for a project. For Christopher Robin, she was heavily involved with the recording process and music preparation.

“For example, Bryce was the main guitarist for the project and performed on the majority of the score. I recorded his guitar and vocal performances at our studio, and delivered them so that they could be integrated into the score,” she noted.

One memorable experience was during a scoring session at one of the largest motion picture scoring venues in the world – the Barbara Streisand Scoring Stage at Sony Pictures Studios – where she single-handedly recorded a live orchestra for the project.

“Recording the orchestra was an exciting experience, as we got to see the musicians bring the film score to life,” she noted.

Describing the movie, she said nostalgia resonated with her, but at the same time it was “refreshing” because the film tells a new story of Christopher Robin as an adult played by Irish-born actor, Ewan McGregor.

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