Mike Gowen Jr. lives in music, and music lives in him. It is the foundation of Mike’s being. Simple daily tasks are accompanied by a score in his mind and it’s been this way for as long as he can remember.
Mike started on piano at the age of 7. He developed a love for film score, classical, and blues music at an early age. He often jokes that he didn’t even listen to the lyrics of a song until he was in his twenties, purely focusing on the instrumentation and melodies of the music. Taking inspiration from his favorite composers: Hans Zimmer, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Thomas Newman, and Ryuichi Sakamoto, he started composing music for piano as a teenager.
Mike studied under Dr. Robert Miller, who soon became his mentor at East Stroudsburg University. At ESU, Mike wrote and performed multiple original compositions for solo piano, the only student of Dr. Miller to do so at the time. After graduating, Mike moved to New York City.
Throughout his 11 years in New York, he worked as an independent composer scoring short films, online content, and logo design animation, in addition to work as a professional guitarist in recording sessions, hired gun live gigs, and with the touring rock bands MoTHER, Vagus Nerve, and Militia Vox. His notable commercial composition collaborations include: Okta, C3 AI, Condé Nast, WIRED, and Godfrey Dadich Partners, the San Francisco-based storytelling firm.
The essence of Mike’s compositional style can be described as bridging the gap between classical technicality and minimalist modernism. Mike believes music should tell a story—whether reinforcing the theme of the visual it accompanies, or the mystique and subjectiveness that the listener interprets through audio alone. He believes first and foremost it has to sound natural, even with the use of electronic instrumentation. By blending natural instrumentation with electronic textures it unlocks new avenues of musical storytelling. That polarity—two positive opposites—drives a thrilling creative tension that yields a more diverse and innovative composition.
Mike’s intense attention to detail and astute work ethic facilitates his ability to listen and interpret what a producer wants musically for a project. This gives him the ability to accurately create the music necessary to achieve a particular vision or feeling. He thrives on collaboration and believes it is a key component to creativity and is essential to moving humanity forward in a positive direction in all facets of life.
Mike recently relocated to Nashville with his wife, Rhonda, and dog, Marshall.