As the son of Jay Black of the 1960s group Jay and the Americans, Beau Black was practically raised onstage, but he quickly learned that the touring rock star lifestyle wasn’t how he wanted to invest his musical talents. When a song from his record landed in a commercial for AT&T, he said, that changed everything. “When I realized a song is married to a picture, and has a home somewhere, I enjoyed it, because you’re serving something bigger than yourself,” Black says.
His start in commercials eventually caught Disney’s eye and set him on the path to scoring and writing songs for the channel’s shows, including The Lion Guard, which reached No. 2 on Billboard’s Top Soundtrack Albums Chart. “I never calculated what my ‘voice’ was. I just kind of did what I’ve always done, and the more work I do, the more I progress,” Black says. “I did 93 songs for The Lion Guard show, and after that, you better progress.”
Though it’s glamorous to some, Black says he didn’t enjoy the “judgement or lifestyle” of the touring life, preferring instead to learn the details of songwriting and production. “That really saved me, because I became a self-sustaining person,” he says. “If I give any advice to any young wannabe, it’s learn the tricks all by yourself. Don’t rely on anyone to produce for you.”
Black says a day in the life of a composer varies, from meeting with executives to just developing songs in his head. One of the challenges, he says, is adhering to strict timeframes even when a piece doesn’t quite feel done. “Sometimes you commit to something that wasn’t your best or something you might not be into, that’s part of the game.”
Black also has an interesting, practical take on perseverance: “Eventually you will succeed, because there’s a weeding out period. You won’t live your whole life with nothing happening. Something will happen.”