Go-To Composer for The CW Superheroes and So Much More
By Melissa Minners
When I first started reviewing Blake Neely’s work, I noted that he seemed to be the one artist The CW wanted to compose the musical scores for their television series based on DC Comics characters. This article was originally going to be titled Blake Neely: The Superhero’s Composer. But as I looked into the artist more, I realized that he is about so much more than his compositions for superhero-based television series. Here’s what I learned.
Born in Paris, Texas, Blake Neely showed musical promise at an early age, learning to play the piano at the age of four. His parents got him piano lessons and he began creating songs. By the age of eight, he had seen Star Wars and realized what he wanted to do in life – create music for film. Of course, that would take some time. In the meanwhile, Neely began to learn how to play other instruments, including the French Horn and the drums.
An attempt to impress the music panel at the University of Texas with his piano-playing, Neely was given yet another push toward composing. According to his website, “I received a nice letter informing me that I was not accepted into the School of Music and ‘should consider another career path.’ In hindsight, probably the best letter I ever received.” While in college, he was able to partake in an internship in the film music department at Disney Studios. After school, he worked at Disney Hollywood Records and later at Disney Music Publishing, managing the print division.
By 1996, Blake Neely began freelancing, arranging music and writing instrumental method books, while orchestrating music for composer Michael Kamen. In 2000, Neely was hired by Vangelis to orchestrate and conduct one of his works, culminating in a PBS concert which gave Neely exposure as a conductor. Shortly afterwards, he was introduced to Hans Zimmer.
Neely’s big break came in 2002 when he was hired to score the WB (eventually becoming The CW) television series Everwood. He received an Emmy nomination for the main title theme. His success with Everwood would lead to more television and film projects, including work as an additional composer on Something's Gotta Give, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, The Last Samurai, King Arthur, Catwoman, Into the West, The Da Vinci Code and King Kong. As a solo composer, Neely has amassed quite a résumé with such diverse projects as Conquest, Brothers and Sisters, David McCullough: Painting with Words, Eli Stone, Eastwick, The Pacific, Life as We Know It, Pan Am, Arrow, The Flash, Resurrection, The Mentalist, Blindspot, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow.
It would seem that Blake Neely has a knack for knowing just what is needed for each film or television series score. He never stays with one style and finds innovative ways of expressing the emotions, actions and dramatic moments of each project he works on. His ability to keep his scoring fresh is something I admire as many composers can become repetitive when working on too many things at once.
Here are just a few of the soundtracks we have reviewed for G-POP.net over the past couple of years (with the expectation that this list will continue to grow as we continue on this journey for the coming years):