Shawn Patterson is an Academy Award, Emmy and Grammy nominated Composer, Songwriter and Music Producer.
Originally hailing from Athol, Massachusetts, Patterson’s life long passion for music started with his late father, Ronald Patterson, a multi-instrumentalist musician. As a child, Shawn was exposed to television shows whose music scores (and sometimes songs) became engrained in his head: Star Trek, The Six Million Dollar Man, Lost In Space, and Starsky & Hutch. But it was his introduction to John Williams’ legendary scores of Star Wars and Superman that initiated Patterson’s profound life long journey to become a score composer and a part of cinematic storytelling through music.
In his youth, Shawn had already been studying banjo privately (later switching to guitar seeking out the best teachers in the state). With a voracious curiosity and appetite for music knowledge, Patterson attended the prestigious Berklee College of Music and soon thereafter attended the University of Massachusetts, Amherst where he was selected to study privately and perform with legendary jazz musicians Dr. Billy Taylor and Max Roach in separate ensembles. As a jazz, blues, rock guitarist and bandleader, Shawn played shows and lead various bands (including trio, duo and even solo settings) anywhere he could while writing compositions in his free time. In 1986, Patterson attended and graduated from the Grove School of Music in Studio City, California. While attending Grove, Shawn studied orchestration and arranging privately with Roger Steinman. He returned to Boston, Massachusetts to continue searching for work both as a composer and guitarist, while trying to secure writing music to picture.
Unable to secure any long-term composing work in New England, Shawn finally decided to permanently relocate to Los Angeles in 1990. He drove cross-country armed with only a few guitars, $400 dollars in his pocket and no connections in the film and television business. Shawn first took work in LA as a production assistant at an animation studio to help pay his bills and rent small project studios to create his composition demos (which were then handed out to most every film producer, director and film and television production member he ran into.) During this time, Patterson studied composition and orchestration privately with legendary Los Angeles Composer and Orchestrator, Jack Smalley. Patterson soon found success writing music for film trailers; with one piece of music he wrote being selected by Terry Gilliam for The Fisher King trailer campaign.
Patterson had continued intermittent periods of success selling his music to film trailer houses and soon, (while working as a Music Editor on the ground-breaking series, The Ren & Stimpy Show), Shawn began writing music requested by various directors including writing, arranging and producing featured big band songs in the episode, Ol Blue Nose (sang by voice over giant, Billy West.) Shawn’s music demos eventually found their way to Sony TriStar where he was hired to score his first animated series, Project GeeKeR.
Patterson resumed his studies at University of California in 2010 (music and political science) when he could squeeze in the time. While a student there, he was asked by the film department professor to guest lecture on his career in music and the art of music to picture.
Over the years, Shawn has composed score and written songs in an enormous wide range of styles for a number of award winning episodic television shows and films such as: El Tigre; The Adventures of Manny Rivera (directed by Jorge R. Gutierrez, The Book of Life), Robot Chicken (which earned him multiple ASCAP Awards), and (along with Kevin Shinick) was a principle songwriter for the Warner Brother’s hit series, Mad. During this time, Patterson began to write and create his first full-length stage musical (both book and song), “It Came From Wasilla” – a dark comedy about friendship through the delicate subjects of politics and religion.
In 2013, Patterson was approached to write a pop song for Warner Brother’s upcoming animated feature, “The Lego Movie.” Details were sparse, and he was given only a song title and some very general lyric direction. Shawn spent about six days writing the music and lyrics in his studio, bringing in a session vocalist, Sammy Allen to produce a polished demo. Once delivered, the song quickly became so engrained within the film’s production that the Lego Corporation memorialized it as their global theme parks’ official song playing it throughout the parks, property hotels and even restaurants. As a joke, Shawn also arranged a Bon Jovi-esque power ballad arrangement of his song and submitted it to the directors of the film. It landed its way at the last moment into the film’s end credits and soundtrack and Patterson was soon asked to perform this ballad version at the 30th Annual ASCAP Film & Television Music Awards. In addition to receiving the Academy Award and Grammy nominations (and multiple film festival awards) for Everything Is Awesome, Shawn also received the Critic’s Choice Award nomination.
In the summer of 2014, Patterson was asked to compose the score and songs to DreamWorks TV Animation’s The Adventures of Puss In Boots for Netflix. Patterson’s fiery flamenco infused orchestral score received critical acclaim, earning him his very first Emmy Award nomination.
In 2015, Shawn was honored with the very first Variety Artisan Award at the 30th Annual Santa Barbara Film Festival for his contribution to film.
Shawn continues on his endless quest to explore musical styles in both song and score across film, television and theater mediums.
He lives in Los Angeles with his three kids.