"I feel very blessed that the thing that I love to do most in life also happens to be the thing that I am best at and am fortunate enough to make my living doing.”

CBU Collinsworth School of Performing Arts alum has established his musical vision through scores for Netflix, Roku and Al Jazeera.

A Bachelor of Music (B.M.) in Theory and Composition teaches you about the structure of music. This foundation gives way to numerous creative possibilities. For 2008 graduate Greg Johnson, being asked to score a seven-minute teaser for a Qatari filmmaker’s work slated for the Tribeca Film Festival catalyzed his current career and has set him on a path toward success involving scoring and recording.

Today, his résumé includes scoring credits for Netflix (“The Sound of Magic”), Roku (“The Pact”) and Al Jazeera (“About Cinema”), as well as Katara Studios ("Medinah" and “Orca”) in Qatar.

CBU’s Roundtable magazine interviewed him about his projects for the Fall 2022 issue.

How He Got Involved With Music

At age 11, Johnson saw his sister's friend playing guitar and, so enthralled by what she was able to do, quit sports to pick up the instrument. This ultimately started him on a path to CBU’s Collinsworth School of Performing Arts, where he majored in Theory and Composition, now called Composition for Stage and Screen.

“It just seemed like the coolest thing in the world to me,” Johnson said. “I started playing and learning songs on the radio. I spent all my free time obsessed over playing the guitar and writing songs with my friends.”

How CBU Helped His Career

Throughout all programs, CBU emphasizes the importance of collaborative, hands-on learning, with the goal of uncovering your vocation in God’s kingdom. This environment broadened Johnson’s perspective of music-making.

“Being able to communicate with other instrumentalists in other genres, having a common language that I could speak to and get my ideas across helped tremendously, especially early in my career,” Johnson said. “Later in my career, as I started to work in different countries, all the theory knowledge helped me analytically to be able to think about how their music differs from our music and how to meld the two together.”

After graduating CBU, Johnson set his sights on making music and spent seven months in Germany with his band, On Being Human, to record their album To Light the Coals of Hearts.

His Career Today

The Qatari filmmaker Johnson collaborated with back in 2009 is now CEO of Katara Studios, and he recommended Johnson to compose the music for the 2022 Qatar World Cup Final Draw, the first official event of the FIFA World Cup.

Alongside projects like this, Johnson continues to compose scores, play with his band and produce and co-write for other artists, working out of his backyard studio in Southern California. He’ll occasionally bring other CBU graduates into the fold or offer his input on their projects.

“I feel very blessed that the thing that I love to do most in life also happens to be the thing that I am best at and am fortunate enough to make my living doing,” he explained. “I've managed to find my own little spot where I can create fun and interesting music with the friends I've made along the way.”

In mentioning his long-term goals to uplift other aspiring composers and performers, he said, “If I can ever inspire a young musician in the same way I was inspired when I first heard [composers] Danny Elfman or Hans Zimmer, that would be endlessly rewarding for me.”

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Email: alumni@calbaptist.edu
Phone: (951) 343-4439