Grant Kirkhope (born 10 July 1962) is a British BAFTA and IFMCA nominated composer, known for writing the soundtracks to Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, GoldenEye 007, Banjo-Kazooie, Banjo-Tooie, Donkey Kong 64, Perfect Dark, Grabbed by the Ghoulies, Viva Piñata, Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise, CityVille 2, the remake of Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse, and Civilization: Beyond Earth.
Early life and education:
Kirkhope was brought up in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire and attended King James's School (like his fellow trumpet player and good friend, Simply Red's Tim Kellett). Kirkhope played in various bands after leaving the Royal Northern College of Music, including Zoot and the Roots along with the saxophonist, Snake Davis. Kirkhope also spent many years as part of "the Big Bad Horns" which were part of UK rock band Little Angels. At the age of 33 he was employed by Rare. Before joining Rare, in October 1995, he played for two bands called Syar and Maineeaxe where he played guitar, and already knew Robin Beanland, another Rare composer. Kirkhope's music featuring an electric guitar is played on an Ernie Ball/Musicman EVH given to him by Eddie Van Halen. Kirkhope's skills on guitar can be heard on Killer Instinct Gold, Perfect Dark, Star Fox Adventures or Grabbed by the Ghoulies.
When Kirkhope joined Rare, due to being the "new boy", he was assigned to convert the music of Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest for Donkey Kong Land 2, he finished the conversion in December of the same year. He was later asked by Graeme Norgate to finish composing the music for GoldenEye 007 so that Norgate could focus on Blast Corps. Norgate taught Kirkhope how to get music and sound effects into the Nintendo 64. His work on the game eventually reached Tim Stamper and Gregg Mayles, who reassigned him to compose for Project Dream with David Wise, who left the project shortly after to work on Diddy Kong Racing.
On 14 July 2008, Kirkhope stated in his Myspace blog that he was resigning from Rare. He joined THQ studio Big Huge Games, as audio director.
Big Huge Games was acquired by 38 Studios in May 2009, the company founded by Curt Schilling. Kirkhope went on to compose both the music and sound effects for Big Huge Games's million selling role-playing game Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, which was released in February 2012.
On 24 May 2012, 38 Studios announced that it would be laying-off its entire staff, including Kirkhope and the employees of Big Huge Games, due to the effects of the financial downturn.
In June 2012, Grant Kirkhope played at several festivals with fellow members of the reunited band Little Angels. In 24 July, Kirkhope announced that he had composed music for the Zynga video game CityVille 2 with an announced release date of October.
In August 2012, he moved to Los Angeles to further pursue his composing career.
On 25 March 2013, Grant appeared as a guest on web series Game Grumps, becoming the first guest on the show, and only guest to appear on the channel. He was interviewed by the show's hosts Jon Jafari and Arin Hanson while playing through several of the games he composed, including Banjo-Kazooie, GoldenEye and Donkey Kong 64. Also in March, Kirkhope's score for Viva Piñata was voted into the Hall of Fame of Classic FM, as the fourth highest new entry at 174.
In June 2013 Kirkhope was signed to the prestigious The Gorfaine/Schwartz Agency, Inc. in Los Angeles.
In the 2014 Classic FM Hall of Fame, Viva Piñata rose to number 54, while Kirkhope's score for Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts entered the chart at no 50. Also Kirkhope's score for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning entered the chart at no 75.
In 2014 Kirkhope was nominated for "Outstanding Achievement - Western Composer" at the Annual Game Music Online Awards for Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and Desktop Dungeons.,
In 2013 Kirkhope was nominated for "Original Score" at the Hollywood Music in Media Awards for Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse.,
In 2013 Kirkhope was nominated for "Best Original Score for a Video Game or Interactive Media" by International Film Music Critics Association for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.,
In 2013 Kirkhope was nominated for "Best Original Score for a Video Game or Interactive Media" by Movie Music UK for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.,
In 2012 Kirkhope was nominated for "Outstanding Achievement - Western Composer" at Square Enix Music's Annual Game Music Awards for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning and CityVille 2.,
In 2012 Kirkhope was nominated for "Original Score" at the Hollywood Music in Media Awards for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.,
In 2007 Kirkhope was nominated for "Original Score" at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards for Viva Piñata.,
In 2004 Kirkhope was nominated for "Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition" at the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences awards Ceremony for Grabbed by the Ghoulies.,
In 2004 Kirkhope was nominated for "Best Interactive Score" at the 2nd Annual Game Audio Network Guild Awards Ceremony for Grabbed by the Ghoulies.,
Killer Instinct 2/Gold
Arcade, Nintendo 64
Live guitar and trumpet
Donkey Kong Land 2
Conversion of David Wise's Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest soundtrack
with Graeme Norgate and Robin Beanland
SNES, Nintendo 64
Revamped into Banjo-Kazooie
Also provided the voice of Mumbo Jumbo, the Jinjos, and various enemies.
Donkey Kong 64
With David Clynick and Graeme Norgate
Star Fox Adventures
Grabbed by the Ghoulies
Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows
With Steve Burke
Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts
With Robin Beanland and David Clynick
Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3
With Mark Cromer
Microsoft Windows, Macintosh
With Danny Baranowsky
Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse
Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Remastering of original game's soundtrack by Shigenori Kamiya.
Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z
Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
A Hat in Time
Microsoft Windows, Macintosh
Civilization: Beyond Earth
With Geoff Knorr, Michael Curran and Griffin Cohen
The Enchanted Cave 2
Wii U, Linux, Macintosh, Microsoft Windows
He also voiced several characters in the games he worked on, such as Mumbo Jumbo, Bottles, Jamjars and the Jinjos in the Banjo-Kazooie series, and Donkey Kong in Donkey Kong 64.