All the Right Notes

09.08.20213 min read

Six things to know about Hans Zimmer


The creator of ringtones for Oppo, Hans Zimmer might not be chart-topping but he is arguably one of the most influential musicians working today, scoring everything from blockbuster films to award shows and sports events. Here’s your fact sheet on the king of composers.

Zimmer might have made you cry

His particular talent lies in film scores that evoke emotion. Notable cinematic moments include Dunkirk, Gladiator and The Lion King, in both 1994 and 2019. The 1994 version gained him an Oscar. He’s been nominated for an Academy Award 10 further times, while other tear-provoking work includes nature documentaries such as The Blue Planet.

Electronic music lends itself to an abstract way of storytelling, so it keeps evolving. There's a whole movement truly driving music further and there is no other music innovating as much as film music.

- Hans Zimmer

His background informed his work

Born in 1957, Zimmer grew up in Frankfurt, but wasn’t - to put it lightly - a good student. He attended eight different schools and only boasts two weeks of piano lessons as training. He is self-taught, boasting that he has "always heard music in my head.”

Moving to the UK as a teenager, he was part of the Buggles, a New Wave band whose biggest hit was 1979’s ‘Video Killed The Radio Star’. Zimmer appears in the video, playing keyboards. He also collaborated with members of Ultravox and The Damned. These were his own pop star moments, you could say.

Collaboration is key

Zimmer has worked consistently with directors including Ridley Scott and Christopher Nolan. He partnered with Pharrell Williams on the score for the Oscars in 2012, and The Smiths’ Johnny Marr has joined him on stage. It’s not all celebrities. Zimmer has a history of working to find new talent. Remote Control, his production company, mentors younger musicians.

That network, but also his framework and his routine, help him deliver

Speaking to The Guardian in 2014, Zimmer said his inspirations came from “a great filmmaker, great storytelling and a healthy fear of deadlines.” He works best at night, often starting work at 11 pm and going until three or four in the morning.

Zimmer makes it his business to stay current

Innovation is everything. Recently, he released his soundtrack to the much-anticipated Dune on three albums, and he has delved into the brave new world of NFTs, collaborating with artist ThankYouX. He has called himself a “child of the 20th century” but, 21 years into the 21st, he remains as open and curious - and as influential - as ever.

One of the most famous and bankable director-composer duos of current times is Hans Zimmer and Christopher Nolan.

- Hollywood Insider

Deep Dive