Yew Ping Soo, 29, has worked as an audio producer, sound engineer and on the music for many famous Hollywood movies, including The Lion King, Ferdinand, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, Ralph Breaks the Internet, Aquaman and Gears 5.
He has also made history as the first Malaysian to be involved in the Star Wars movie franchise in Solo: A Star Wars Story.
The lad from Ampang has also worked with renowned music engineers and composers such as Hans Zimmer, Alan Meyerson, Shawn Murphy, Stephen Lipson, John Powell and Germaine Franco.
In an exclusive interview with Bernama, Yew said his interest in music stemmed from the desire to emulate his two elder brothers, who at the time played children and folk songs beautifully on the piano.
At the age of seven, he decided he would take up the piano.
“I told my parents that I wanted to follow in my brothers’ footsteps. My brothers unfortunately stopped (learning the piano) halfway, but my parents hoped that I would continue on and complete the ABRSM (Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music) Grade 8 piano syllabus. I did, and since then, music and piano became part of my life,” he said.
Yew said he used to listen to music while doing homework and recalled how he would stop to think about how the music that came to him via a pair of tiny earphones was created.
“I wondered how music was produced, recorded and mixed. I was especially curious about how music for video games and films were recorded as they usually involved an orchestra consisting of 56 to 90 musicians. That was the moment that led me to choose (a career in) music production and engineering,” he said.
His musical talent and interest enabled him to be admitted into the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston at the age of 23.
He described his years in Berklee as one of the best experiences of his life as it allowed him to hone his skills in music and audio engineering while being surrounded by talented and professional musicians.
After graduating in 2015, he packed his bags and musical equipment and drove to Los Angeles looking for opportunities in Hollywood.
His break came at the end of 2015 when he was given a studio assistant internship at Heitor Pereira’s studio, where he helped with the production of Angry Birds and Despicable Me 3.
The internship appeared to open doors as afterwards, he was given a one-year contract to work as a score production assistant for well-known Hollywood composer John Powell.
This opportunity allowed him to be involved in the production of Ferdinand and Solo: A Star Wars Story in 2017.
“All these work experiences in my resume led me to be hired at Hans Zimmer’s production studio as an assistant engineer.
Zimmer was Yew’s childhood idol and he was understandably thrilled by the opportunity.
“Not only did I get to work on Zimmer’s projects, such as X-Men: Dark Phoenix and The Lion King, but I also had the chance to work another one of my idols as well – Alan Meyerson.
“He is one of the greatest score recording and mixing engineers in Hollywood and I was lucky enough to work on several projects under him such as Ralph Breaks the Internet, Aquaman and more,” said Yew, who is currently working on the video game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.
According to Yew, he prepares for big productions by taking a deep dive into the storyline, the music and even the studio equipment used. He also looks into the latest in music and audio technology.
Yew has pledged to share the skills honed and experiences gained from working in Hollywood, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan with the Malaysian music and film industry, so as to help develop and build it to international standards.