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, Civilization: Beyond Earth, and Yooka-Laylee.
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 July 14, 2008, Kirkhope stated in his MySpace blog that he was resigning from Rare to become a freelancer composer.
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 May 24, 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 August 2012, he moved to Los Angeles, California to further pursue his music career. In March 2013, 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 number 50. Also Kirkhope's score for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning entered the chart at number 75. In 2015, Kirkhope's score for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning rose to number 59,Viva Piñata rose to number 41, and Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts rose to number 13. At EGX Rezzed 2015, it was confirmed by the development team at Playtonic Games that Kirkhope will be involved with co-producing the soundtrack for their new 3D platforming video game, Yooka-Laylee.
In 2004, Kirkhope was nominated for "Best Interactive Score" at the 2nd Annual Game Audio Network Guild Awards Ceremony for Grabbed by the Ghoulies, as well as "Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition" at the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences awards Ceremony for the same game.,
In 2007, Kirkhope was nominated for "Best Original Score" at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards for Viva Piñata.,
In 2012, Kirkhope was nominated for "Best Original Score" at the Hollywood Music in Media Awards for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, "Outstanding Achievement - Western Composer" at Square Enix Music's Annual Game Music Awards for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning and CityVille 2.,
In 2013, Kirkhope was nominated for "Best Original Score for a Video Game or Interactive Media" by Movie Music UK and International Film Music Critics Association for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. Kirkhope was also nominated for "Best Original Score" at the Hollywood Music in Media Awards for Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse.,
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 2015, Kirkhope won the award for "Best Video Game Score" from Movie Music UK for Civilization: Beyond Earth.,
In 2015, Kirkhope was nominated for "Video Game Score of the year" by the "American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers" for Civilization: Beyond Earth,
In 2015, Kirkhope won the award for "Best Original Score for a Video Game or Interactive Media" from the International Film Music Critics Association for Civilization: Beyond Earth.,
In 2015, Kirkhope won the award for "Best Score - Video Game" with The Cue Awards from Tracksounds for Civilization: Beyond Earth.,
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
Donkey Kong 64
With David Clynick and Graeme Norgate
Star Fox Adventures
Grabbed by the Ghoulies
Xbox 360, 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, Windows, PlayStation 3
With Mark Cromer
Windows, OS X
With Danny Baranowsky
Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse
Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Remastering of original game's soundtrack by Shigenori Kamiya,
along with original compositions.
Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z
Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Civilization: Beyond Earth
With Geoff Knorr, Michael Curran and Griffin Cohen
The Enchanted Cave 2
Wii U, Linux, OS X, Windows
With Cooper Goodwin
A Hat in Time
Windows, OS X
With Pascal Michael Stiefel
Civilization: Beyond Earth - Rising Tide
With Geoff Knorr and Griffin Cohen
Windows, OS X, Linux, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Wii U
With David Wise and Steve Burke
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.
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license