Terms such as symphonic, sonorous and sweet are synonymous with his music. He has learnt Western Classical on the piano and has a graduate degree from Trinity College to his credit. He has composed music for Telugu, Tamil and Kannada films. He is deeply steeped in music yet selective about the film projects he takes up. Mickey J Meyer has more than a dozen films under his belt and has carved a niche for himself in the film music firmament, particularly in Telugu. His orchestration is different as his music has strains of Western influences, yet is melodious to hear. As for now, Mickey has wound up work on the plum project Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu (SVSC) starring the two superstars Venkatesh and Mahesh Babu and Routine Love Story.
SVSC is a obvoiusly a huge film and a much-awaited project especially because it is a multi-starrer – Venkatesh and Mahesh Babu come together in this film along with Anjali, Samantha besides Prakash Raj. “I wanted to wait till I got the right film. SVSC was truly worth the wait. Unlike my other albums, it is completely commercial and the music is a combination of spice and sweetness. I wanted to show everyone that I can make commercial music too.”
Mickey is happy to have done this film. “I felt proud of myself. Since it’s a multi-starrer, I felt I should take it to the next level. I stuck to my melodies within the commercial format.” Doing this film was a good experience. “I feel more confident and it is a huge relief as I have always wanted to do a big film.”
The other film for which Mickey composed music is Routine Love Story which released in November. “I liked the director and had seen his earlier film LBW. So when he asked me I said, ‘Sure we’ll work together’. I had not done a rom-com earlier. It was an entertaining film and a good change after Life is Beautiful. The songs were lighter too.”
Mickey shares a rather special rapport with director Sekhar Kammula and producer Dil Raju as he has worked on quite a few films with them. Mickey has scored music for Sekhar’s Happy Days, Leader and Life is Beautiful. “Around the time that Sekhar made Dollar Dreams I met him. He said we would work together in future. I got a call when he was planning Happy Days. It’s been good working with him. When I compose for him I get a bound script. Sekhar also gives a narration. Invariably, he has liked whatever I’ve composed.”
Mickey has composed for Kotha Bangaru Lokam, Maro Charithra and is now scoring for SVSC – all Dil Raju productions. “I met Dil Raju before I did Pothe Poni. After Happy Days he called me to composing music for Kotha Bangaru Lokam. I enjoy working with him. He’s multi-talented and has given me crucial suggestions which have all worked. I take him very seriously.”
Talking about his childhood, Mickey says, “I used to play old Hindi songs especially those of Talat Mahmood on the piano as my dad would ask me to. I know all of Talat Mahmood’s songs. I began when I was six or seven years old. It was quite tough to learn, sing and play on the keyboard. Then my dad decided I should learn ghazals. So I began learning ghazals under Aziz.” Later Mickey enrolled at the Trinity College. Music became a part of his life. He even tried learning Carnatic violin for a month. His dad was an avid watcher of English movies. “I was inspired by the Hollywood scores.” It was also the era of Michael Jackson and Mickey was hooked on to watching video cassettes of the singer-dancer. “Michael Jackson was my first inspiration.”
In the nineties, AR Rahman’s arrival on the musical scene ushered in a new atmosphere. He brought in new tunes and radical changes, thereby inducting new listeners and inspiring many to turn to music as a career. “Listening to Rahman gave me a kick. I felt I should also create something like this but not imitate him. I wanted to do something out of the box. That inspired me to compose music for movies.”
Mickey was not from a Telugu-speaking family though Hyderabad was home. People advised him to try Hindi but “that would have meant living in Mumbai and I couldn’t do that. I thought, let me try here. I gave up my studies to concentrate fully on music. I met many directors and landed my first two films Notebook and Pothe Poni.” Then Happy Days happened and Mickey’s life changed as he later worked on the remakes of this film in Tamil and Kannada.
While composing Mickey says, “I try to follow international trends.” Mickey’s exposure to international albums and learning Western classical has helped him. “As a composer it is important to follow your heart.” The musicians who have inspired him include Ennio Morricone, Yanni, AR Rahman, Michael Jackson, Mozart, Bach and Handel.
Mickey is unfazed by the intense competition in the field. “No, I am not bothered about competition. After Leader there was a twoyear gap – I was on a vacation of my own. Some people have to have back-to-back projects but I am not bothered if I am jobless. I’m lucky directors keep coming back to me. I make sure there’s no vulgarity in the script or double entendres when I take up a project.”
His future plans include “…doing gospel music, writing and composing songs for an international audience. I’m a follower of Jesus Christ and it gives me peace to make those songs as one is not bound by any director or producer. In the long run, I do want to make it to Hollywood. I don’t know when I’ll get there, but I may even move to the US sometime down the years.”
Incidentally Mickey is married to an American, Sharon Keppinger and has a 10-month old daughter, Willow. He unwinds by spending time with the family and loves to watch movies. Mickey is passionate about music. “Music is my work. It’s also a medium where I can express myself. It keeps me calm and grounded.”