Music composer A-Zal on working in ‘Ms Marvel’

Two tracks by the Indian-born music composer are featured in the latest Marvel series

Two tracks by the Indian-born music composer are featured in the latest Marvel series

Ms. Marvel Many heads have been turning since its premiere, especially with how it uses Iman Vellani’s Kamala Khan/Ms Marvel, the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first South Asian superhero. As the series depicts the culture, its diverse music is also a major topic of discussion. Indian-origin music composer A-Jal invented two of his compositions — Oh God And slow down – finding their way to the show’s credits.

A-Zal also worked, notably at Marvels into, talks about her association with the studio, working in a hugely competitive industry and more. Summaries:

‘Ms Marvel’ is your second collaboration with Marvel after ‘Loki’.

My association with Marvel started earlier into, and for a yet-to-be-released project. We talked for more than six months then. Big Hollywood production companies like Marvel use code words to describe projects to protect confidentiality. So I still don’t know what that project is about and when it will happen. Then suddenly I got a call from Marvel intoAnd from there it picked up and led Ms. Marvel In the end.

‘Ae Khuda’ is a lovely, classical track about Kamla’s romance with Kamran. What is expected of you?

I went into detail about the character, the backdrop and where the song comes from etc. So, they are looking for a track with innocence. They wanted it to reflect one’s first love, the most innocent of all. At the same time, it shouldn’t sound like a 16-year-old playing a guitar solo. They wanted more soul, more maturity, so we gave it a Sufi touch as well.

A still from Ms Marvel

A still from Ms. Marvel
| Photo credit: Marvel Entertainment

You have worked in a few Bollywood projects before. How different is Hollywood from Bollywood when it comes to music production?

There are no hard edges in Hollywood production. For example, in many Indian films, composers use VST instruments to score music. However, in Hollywood, the technique is used only to layer the track. Instruments and vocals should be authentic. This is another reason for the superior quality of Hollywood’s music.

‘Ms Marvel’ is getting a lot of attention because of her South Asian connection. How important is this cultural representation?

Cultural representation is not new. With all the diversity push and movement like Black Lives Matter, we are now represented in advertising as well and that’s cool. in Ms. Marvel, they did a great job with cultural representation. I’ve seen projects in the past that were completely wrong.

Hollywood is known for being competitive. How difficult was it to scale up?

Talent is not enough here. Your tracks should be above. So my product quality cannot be at 99 and it should be 100. On the other hand, contacts don’t matter much. For example, in Bollywood, once you are in Anurag Kashyap’s gang, you keep doing his films. Here, if you are good you will get opportunities.

AR Rahman’s songs also made it to ‘Ms Marvel’ and I hear you are a huge fan yourself…

Who isn’t? Too bad he’s not a fan. He is the composer I look up to. As I honed my skills as a composer, I had a diary to jot down notes from films and I learned a lot from Rahman’s film compositions.


A-Jal | Photo credit: Special Arrangement

How has life changed after two big Marvel series?

I keep it simple, so life hasn’t changed much. In terms of work, the responses I received Ms. Marvel is a different matter. Something magical is happening right now and I’m still absorbing it all. After the long, hard journey I’ve been on, after all the sacrifices I’ve made, when something like this happens, I feel rewarded. I feel positive and I am in the moment.

What’s coming next?

I was involved in another Marvel project. However, I don’t even know if it’s a movie or a series. It is now in its early stages. Also, my album ’17 and 11 Nights’ is coming out later this year and I’m very excited. I identify more as a singer-songwriter and this album is about me and my journey. It will be out in singles form in the last quarter of this year.

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