Artist Interviews

From Working Mum to International Film Composer – Melissa Engleman’s Story

Photograph of the blog post author, Manny Sanjurjo

Manny Sanjurjo


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Even though at first glance the music industry might seem like a dark and faceless world where only the very few lucky ones can make a living, the truth is that there are many more opportunities out there than you’d think. There is an endless amount of opportunities from world class signing to ever-growing niche markets that are becoming more and more significant. Melissa Engleman, a working mother from Northern Carolina, decided to quit her job as a university professor in order to pursue her passion for orchestral music.

Making the Big Jump

I have been a musician/composer all my life, but spent some years as a university professor and (working) mom, during which time I didn’t produce as much as I would have liked. I left that job 2 years ago, and did the Berklee Online Master Certificate in Music for TV and Film.  I worked on a couple of small Indies and did soundtracks for a couple other projects (animated and a podcast). Most recently, I’ve been completing work on a CD that includes 8 of my orchestral works. It will be complete in December 2017, titled “Now, Voyager”.

A Little Help from Phil to Boost the Portfolio

I’ve been with Music Gateway for a couple years. I was having trouble getting my music accepted here and elsewhere because of the mixing/mastering.  I’m only the composer, and no expert in sound engineering.  So, I posted a project, searching for a Sound Engineer.  I was fortunate to find Phil LaCosta, in the UK.  Not only has he had some major successes in his career, he has been an excellent match for the music I write, and we have a really great professional relationship, even with the Atlantic Ocean in the middle. I’ve created a playlist on MG with the newly mixed and mastered recordings, and I continue to build on this list, and submit all to the Sync Portal.

“if you are having issues with an area of expertise that you are lacking, find someone who has those skills to work for you.  It’s been a fantastic experience for me.”


What Lays Ahead

My plan is to continue to produce high quality compositions, and find homes for them.  Once the current CD is released, I’ll begin the next one. I also continue to look for further opportunities for collaboration.  


Don’t Let the Competition Intimidate You!

The only advice I am currently qualified to give is to continue your work, even knowing the ridiculous level of competition for getting paid work. For me, it’s all about remembering why I do it – the money, fame, whatever, have never been my goals. My goal is to continue to develop into a better composer and to share my work with the world however it works out.  Always focusing on the love of the work itself makes it so that every day I am working on music is a wonderful, explorative, and even playful experience.

Finally, if you are having issues with an area of expertise that you are lacking, find someone who has those skills to work for you.  It’s been a fantastic experience for me.

Are you a composer who just can’t get your head around using Logic or ProTools? Find the right person to mix and master your material!

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