Siddhartha Khosla Interview: ‘This Is Us’ and ‘Looking for Alaska’ composer
“There’s very few projects like this one where it feels like it’s in my soul,” reveals composer Siddhartha Khosla about his work on NBC’s tearjerker “This Is Us.” Watch our exclusive video interview with Khosla above.
Khosla has had a busy TV season, composing for the CW’s “Nancy Drew,” NBC comedy “Sunnyside” and the Hulu limited series “Looking For Alaska,” in addition to his work on “This Is Us,” for which he received his first Emmy nomination last year for Best Music Composition for the episode “Songbird Road, Part 1.”
“There’s never been any shortage of inspiration,” Khosla says when describing the joy and fulfillment that “This Is Us” brings to him. “The writing is so strong on this show and the performances continue to get better and better and better. We have one of the best casts of all time on television. When you have those performances coming to you and you have the quality of the editing and the directing and the producing and the writing, it kind of comes out naturally and I think there’s a lot of faith that Dan Fogelman, who created the show, has in me and entrusts in me and that gives me the confidence to take risks.”
His recent work on “Looking For Alaska” is a slight departure from his most well-known work on “This Is Us,” as it leans towards a more ambient and immersive aesthetic. But it shares a similar emotionally evocative quality that the composer agrees comes naturally to him, partly due to musical influences from his upbringing as a first generation Indian-American. “They have this warmth to them. They’re sad, they’re melancholic, they’re emotional,” he says about the Indian music of his childhood. “It’s in my blood. So when I’m writing a score for ‘This Is Us’ or ‘Looking For Alaska,’ in both of those melodically, I am pulling from the melodies that I grew up listening to, in terms of the emotional content of those melodies.”
“Like how I approached ‘This Is Us,’ it was still very organic,” he says about “Alaska.” “Everything was homemade in terms of the sounds of it. I sang on the score, there are pianos on the score and there were live strings. It was really dark and moody at points, it was emotional and it was such a beautiful project to work on.”