NCU Podcast #008: Kori Celeste on Composing Music for Podcasts and Releasing the Pressure to Produce Perfect Work

It’s natural to feel pressure when you care about your work and someone has entrusted you and is depending on you to perform. But we rarely create good work when we’re operating under this kind of self-imposed stress. Kori Celeste knows this all too well, and was happy to share her thoughts on releasing the pressure.

Kori is a composer, songwriter, singer, and music producer. She writes for nearly every medium imaginable including films, immersive experiences, and podcasts.

Among other audio drama podcasts, she’s composed for Return Home and won an Audio Verse award for Best Original Music.

In this episode we discuss her composing work, her creative process, and how breaks help her do her best work.

Episode Highlights

4:07 The most helpful thing Kori learned when studying at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco

6:01 How she got involved in composing for podcasts

7:05 Kori’s process for writing the Return Hometheme

9:28 What draws her to the horror/comedy genre

13:18 Kori’s major influences

17:56 What helps her tap into her creative energy

22:56 How Kori looks at music differently since becoming a professional/how she deals with pressure when she has to deliver on a deadline

26:58 Kori discusses her experience starting her music career in LA and how she finds work as a freelance composer

34:00 What she’s found most challenging about being a professional composer

37:13 Advice for anyone who wants to be a composer

39:07 Kori’s highly shareable

44:36 The lightning round! The questions aired in this episode:

  • What’s the most important part of your creative routine?
  • How do you know when an idea is the right idea?
  • What book or books have had the biggest impact on your life?
  • What’s something you do to ignite your creativity?
  • What part of your creative process do you find most satisfying?
  • When the going gets tough, I…
  • I get my best ideas when…
  • When I’m hard on myself about my work, I remind myself…
  • Do you believe in being creatively blocked?

Kori Celeste Quotes Worth Remembering

“The pressure that you put on yourself makes it so much more challenging than it needs to be because, honestly, the best way to go about writing music is to just enjoy the process.”

“It’s all about being patient and allowing yourself the time to naturally get where you need to be. I think that the worst thing you can do is sit down and be like, ‘I have a deadline, I need to do this, I’m gonna write this right now.’ I think that always is just a recipe for disaster. I think it makes you start to resent the project and I think it just adds to the stress level.”

“I think it’s just all about allowing yourself to get there and not putting pressure on yourself to get something done because if you do that, it’s not gonna be good. It’s never good when you feel a lot of anxiety about it.”

“I think the most important thing is to trust yourself, trust the process, and it always ends up working out. As long as you put the work in, it always ends up working out.”

“It’s all about allowing yourself to enjoy each project and enjoy each process that you have and take everything that you have as an experience. It’s really easy to get way too caught up in your own head.”

“Whenever you get a chance, just write something, even if you’re only doing it for a a few minutes, just write as much as you can because that’s the only way you’re gonna get better is just forcing yourself to do it.”

“I think the coolest thing right now is that we live in this world where people are just putting their creative content out there for everyone to listen to or everyone to see or everyone to watch, and it’s just so easy to make connections with people.”

“I think just watching other people, hearing what they do and watching what they do, I think it just inherently makes you want to go make cool stuff too.”

“Typically if it’s a good idea it just flows naturally.”

Mentioned in The Interview

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