Terence Blanchard’s first Oscar nod is shared with family and influences

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NEW ORLEANS-- After composing the score for over 40 motion pictures, New Orleans' own Terence Blanchard has finally been nominated for an Oscar.

This nomination is from his work on Spike Lee's acclaimed BlacKkKlansman, but the relationship with Lee started many years ago.

It was the 1980's in Brooklyn, and Blanchard was playing a composition he was working on piano.  As the story goes, Lee heard it and asked Blanchard to if he could use the piece and to write an arrangement for one of his movies.  It was the start of something big.

Blanchard recalled, "When Spike asked me to write a spring arrangement my first thought was call Roger Dickerson. I called Roger and I said 'I have this project to do- what do I do?', and he said 'Trust your training' He said trust your training. To me that shows you A) that the kinda confidence he had in me but also the kinda confidence he had in what he taught me.

Dickerson has been a giant in music education circles in New Orleans and he taught Blanchard piano and composition.  As for Blanchard's process in composing for movies, he prefers to actually see the visuals he's writing to.

Blanchard said, "I used to try and write from scripts when I first got into the business, but the problem with doing that is you start to create your own movie, and when you finally see the movie, you're like- that's not what I had in mind(laughs)

Blanchard posted a sweet video of him on the phone with his mother, talking about the Oscar nod, telling us of the dedication his parents had for his career, from the beginning.

"I share this thing with her just as much as I do anyone. I'm a product of her efforts," said Blanchard.


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