Daniel Suett

Daniel Suett with Hans Zimmer

Course Studied: BA (Hons) Music (Production)

Year of Graduation: 2013

Top Career Highlights:

  • Winning the Hans Zimmer Bleeding Fingers Competition

  • ASCAP award for Main Theme for a Cable Series - The Curse of Oak Island

  • Had a musical work based on America's gun control debate open for the International Thespian Festival

One of Dan Suett’s many achievements since leaving Leeds College of Music was winning composer Hans Zimmer’s Bleeding Fingers competition, which led to him gaining a position as Staff Composer at the Bleeding Fingers studios in Santa Monica, USA. Since then, Dan has furthered his Film Music career, specialising in soundtrack music covering various genres for TV documentaries, talk shows, game shows, live news and film, as well as producing alongside LCoM Curriculum Co-ordinator Brian Morrell.

Dan was introduced to music at the age of 7. After undertaking music theory, classical and jazz training, he experimented with electronic music, commercial pop and contemporary soundtrack music throughout his teens. He attended Leeds College of Music in 2010-13 and achieved a first in his BA (Hons) in Music Production degree, having focused on song production and composition for film and television. At Graduation, Daniel also received The FOLCoM Prize for Music Production, and was soon selected in the Bleeding Fingers competition from almost 7,000 entries. Bleeding Fingers is a global composition contest to find the next composer to join Zimmer's Remote Control Productions campus, judged by a panel including Lorne Balfe, Junkie XL and Jacob Shea, and Hans Zimmer himself. “Dan’s piece was what I was really looking for” said Zimmer of the winning composition.

Companies Dan has produced for since achieving such a prestigious role include CBS, Animal Planet, MTV, Toyko UK, and Red Bull. Outside of TV, Dan has worked on some eclectic passion projects, including feature length movies, and co-writing and producing a concept album for a stage musical with a group of vocalists currently working on Broadway. More recently, Dan has worked on his first major score-to-picture project – Savage Kingdom for National Geographic (narrated by Charles Dance, Game of Thrones) and on GUNS: The Album, a concept stage album thematically based on America’s gun control debate.

“It's great being in a place with so many creative people that specialize in different genres. I've learnt so much from being around them” said Dan about his American adventure. “However, I’m now stepping away from music to go traveling and hoping to return to spend some time developing my skill sets and deep-diving in to a few passion projects.”

We asked him if he had any tips for LCoM students on career development:

“If you’re not ready, and you don’t know when the next opportunity is going to come up, it means you’re going to miss out. If you end up getting a job after you graduate, you'll find you suddenly have no time to work on your music.

Since the music industry is finally starting to become a level playing field, it can frustratingly be harder to actually make a living in one or two specific music-based trades. The industry is undergoing massive change - as is the wider entertainment industry, as is technology, business and even fundamental aspects of living like payment and currency. In this chaotic climate, it can be very difficult to know where to focus your time and energies. So, as unorthodox as this might sound, my advice is to get therapy (even if you don’t think you need it) / do a self-authoring program / write a blog / write journal / meditate. In other words, do as much work as you can on knowing yourself and what you *really* want to be creating… and why. It took me a couple of years to realize that my career actions weren’t aligning with what I truly wanted to be doing. The subconscious cognitive dissonance that something like that induces can seriously sabotage your success. So if your set on creating things out of nothing and getting paid for it, get therapy, learn about people, culture and the work of artists across history from all disciplines, find your place, find your true goals, find your edge and engage.

(S)he who has a ‘why’ can bare any ‘how’.

If you don’t do this, you’ll be like every other person working in music that hasn’t done this stuff – and there are many.”

What are the most important things to focus on to secure those opportunities?

“Make the most of your spare time at college while you have it, and use it in a way that means you’re ready to hit the ground running after graduation. I think the thing that helped me was that, in my down time at Leeds College of Music, I was working on developing myself as a producer. For example – one day I finished one of my composition assignments for Brian Morrell, and, instead of having a break, the very next day I started something new for my website.

But don’t get caught in the “self-help guru” narrative of thinking that life is about consistently crushing it while working 10 all nighters in a row and living off of Red Bull and Bulletproof Coffee. I got swept up by that kind of hype in Los Angeles and now I seem to have found a much more productive approach in the form of short but frequent “bursts” of overdrive mode. There are people in entertainment that work INSANELY hard – but recharging is very important. Honestly, it’s about finding your own balance of what works for you.”

Perfect opportunity from the @ASurteesTrust for students and @LCoMAlumni whose work is rooted in, or influenced by,… https://t.co/ZnOnmDxM6Z
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