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Alex Stewart talks ‘The Contender’ and love for composing

Alex Stewart will never forget the first time he heard his music on the television. At the time, he was just an aspiring composer, and hearing his music broadcast to his entire country was a dream come true. It was a moment where all his hard work had paid off, and he could see his bright future. Now, he hears his music all the time, and that elated feeling remains the same.


Hailing from Australia, Stewart is an internationally in-demand composer. Working on shows like Paradise Hotel, Temptation Island, The Curse of Civil War Gold, Steve Harvey’s Funderdome and many more, he has shown the world just how versatile and talented he is. At the end of the day, however, Stewart is just happy to do what he loves: making music for the masses.

“The thing I love most about approaching making music as a composer is the absolute freedom to create new things sonically. Especially now with technology, composers can make music with virtually any sound, which means there are no limits to what you can create musically. Some don't like it, but I find the seemingly endless possibilities inspiring. I can now sit at my computer and make music with completely random sounds I recorded on the street and use ideas from an endless amount of musical styles. It's also extremely amazing to hear your music performed by other people and I'm always very happy when I get the opportunity to have my pieces performed,” said Stewart.

Last year, Stewart had the opportunity to work on the revival of The Contender, a unique sports reality television show following 16 promising professional boxers who have come to Los Angeles to compete in a tournament, with the final in Las Vegas. These men will live together, train together and eventually fight each other for the chance to change their lives. As a big fan of the Rocky movies, Stewart found the show epic and inspiring and was instantly intrigued by it.

“I think the back stories of the competitors and the events of the show are both very inspirational. A lot of this show is about hard work and not giving up. Many of the people in the show talk a lot about fighting for what they want in life and not giving up till they get there. A lot of them come from underprivileged backgrounds or have faced adversity in their lives, however they are driven and brave enough to take on this brutal competition. I personally find that very motivating and I certainly apply it to my own life as a composer working hard to get the most out of this career,” he said.

Musically, the show demanded a large orchestral sound with a badass attitude, which is a style Stewart loves to compose in. This meant using drums and guitars mixed with strings and brass to create a huge, energetic sound. It also has a pretty wide range of emotions presented throughout, which is always a good thing for composers. He wrote a few sad and introspective cues, for which he applied the same instrumentation but made it slower and somber.

The music was the energy in this high energy show. There are moments that are very intense, just like the sport of boxing, and the music really brought that liveliness into the living rooms of the audience. Stewart helped to make the show truly epic.

“Like boxing, it was very high energy and therefore called for a lot of high energy music, which I love writing. I like when I can combine guitars and drums and orchestra together to create one huge, epic sound that I think captures the attitude of the show,” he said.

The Contender premiered on August 24th, 2018 on Epix and was one of the network’s biggest hits of the season. Stewart is thrilled for the show’s success, not only for his music and for the team he worked with, but so that the audience can see the hard work the contestants put in to making their boxing dreams come true.

“I personally was pretty inspired by it, and I think many others were as well, so it makes sense that it developed a fairly large following. It's a great representation of the sport of boxing as it captures the highs and lows of the sport and I hope it inspired young, aspiring boxers,” he said.

So, what’s next for this industry leading composer? Audiences around the world will have the chance to hear Stewart’s music in the upcoming Netflix original Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings later this year, and he is currently working on several projects, including the new ABC game show The Hustler, the newest season of Nickelodeon’s Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader, and a show called Building Off The Grid for Discovery. Be sure to keep an eye out for all these exciting new projects.

By Joyce Cameron
June 20th, 2019

Alex Stewart talks ‘The Contender’ and love for composing Reviewed by JaamZIN on 5:44:00 PM Rating: 5
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