Growing up just minutes away from The World Stage performance space in Los Angeles, Kris Bowers was destined for a life in music. At the age of 12, he declared to his parents that jazz, touring as a jazz artist, and transitioning into film scoring was his chosen path. Fast forward two decades, and now, at 34, Bowers is an accomplished composer with Emmy and Grammy nominations, a portfolio filled with notable works for filmmakers like Ava DuVernay, Justin Simien, and Oscar-winning films such as “King Richard” and “Green Book.”
Despite being nominated for an Oscar for his short documentary, “A Concerto is a Conversation,” Bowers remains grounded and appreciative of the opportunities given by filmmakers who allowed him to explore various styles and genres. As a Black composer, he acknowledges the challenges of typecasting but credits collaborators like DuVernay for trusting him to experiment with different sound blends, showcasing his versatility.
His impressive scores range from the dynamic rhythms of “Space Jam: A New Legacy” to the whimsical reimagining of “The Haunted Mansion” and the emotionally resonant soundtrack of “When They See Us.” Bowers emphasizes that the trust and belief extended by collaborators have been pivotal in shaping his career.
Inspired by the late Kobe Bryant, with whom he collaborated on the 2015 documentary “Kobe Bryant’s Muse,” Bowers adopted a mentality of tackling challenges head-on. He admits to experiencing imposter syndrome early in his film scoring journey but took on challenging projects with the mindset of figuring it out.
In 2021, Bowers co-directed, composed, and co-starred in the Oscar-nominated short that delved into his family’s journey from the American South to Los Angeles. The film explored the theme of imposter syndrome, a recurring challenge for Bowers, and showcased his grandfather’s wisdom in dealing with self-doubt.
As Bowers reflects on his career, one standout moment was performing in front of then-President Barack Obama at the White House. While such public recognition was significant, his focus has shifted to making his family proud. Now a husband and father, Bowers finds fulfillment in providing for and impressing his wife and baby girl.
For Kris Bowers, the journey from a determined 12-year-old with jazz dreams to a celebrated composer navigating Hollywood has been marked by perseverance, versatility, and a commitment to personal growth. As he continues to ascend in the industry, his sense of accomplishment is measured by the pride he instills in his family.