Working at the forefront of a new wave of emerging artists, Ivor Novello 2020 nominee and RTS and BIFA nominated composer, Nainita Desai is a BAFTA Breakthrough Brit, and the IFMCA Breakthrough Composer of 2020. She has scored countless BAFTA, Oscar, Emmy acclaimed productions. The PRS placed Desai at No 2 in their Top 10 female writers whose work was most used in Film & TV through 2018. She has also been awarded Best Original Music at the Music+Sound Awards 2019 and Naturvision Film Festival 2019.
Nainita’s most recent feature releases include Oscar 2020 nominated and BAFTA, Cannes, BIFA, SXSW winning feature doc For Sama which was also nominated for Best Music at the BIFAs 2019. Other recent projects include BBC drama Unprecedented – a series of 14 short plays all conceived, acted and filmed using Zoom, Untamed Romania, the most successful Romanian non-fiction film of 2018, WW2 period drama Enemy Within, psychological horror Darkness Visible [BFI], and Interactive game / video game Telling Lies one of the top critically acclaimed releases of 2019 by Annapurna Interactive including Scala Radio’s Top 5 Video Game Scores of the Year and Music+Sound Award winning Title track.
Her current projects include feature film The Reason I Jump (Sundance World Cinema Doc Audience Award winner), upcoming Netflix original series Bad Boy Billionaires and Netflix feature doc American Murder (exec: James Marsh) and innovative Quibi | BBC Studios series Fierce Queens.
Other recent projects include the RTS musically acclaimed series Extraordinary Rituals, the BBC NHU follow up to the multi-BAFTA winning series Human Planet, and the title theme for the prestigious BBC Royal Wedding Meghan and Harry.
Working in a wide range of musical genres, Nainita moves seamlessly between working with orchestras including the London Contemporary Orchestra (Phantom Thread, There Will Be Blood) and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, to ethnic-influenced music utilising her collection of custom made instruments from around the world, incorporating electronics, found sound and experimental sound design as well as song-writing, which has led to collaborations with artists including Eivor (The Last Kingdom) and writing documentary musicals for the BBC including the acclaimed Mumbai High – The Musical. Upcoming classical commissions include BBC Radio 3 Postcards from Composers and Voces8, Decca Classics new album.
Nainita was born and brought up in London to Indian parents and her eclectic musical upbringing as a child led her to studying the sitar, piano, guitar, tabla, singing and violin. She obtained a degree in Mathematics before attending the NFTS specializing in sound design. As a sound designer, Nainita’s career began on feature films for Bertolucci (Little Buddha) and Werner Herzog (Lessons of Darkness) including Backbeat (Dir: Ian Softley), Lessons of Darkness (Dir: Werner Herzog), August (Dir: Anthony Hopkins), and Hackers (Angelina Jolie).
Her passion for music technology then led to her working in music engineering working with many top artistes and bands ranging from The Damned to Tori Amos. which led to work with Peter Gabriel during the legendary Real World Recording Week sessions, and working with the top world music artists including Billy Cobham, Daniel Lanois, Jane Sibbery, Nigel Kennedy, Sinead O’Connor, Ravi Shankar.
Nainita’s musical foundations are rooted in world music, which informs her experimental, multi-instrumental and creatively diverse approach. This, coupled with experience with sound design and technical innovation, fuels Nainita’s powerful and immersive scores. Her creative process involves deeply-researched collaborations to find those voices that are not usually heard, and sounds that are truly unique.
Nainita sits on the CAG Committee at the PRS and is on the media committee at Ivors Academy. She is also a full voting member of AMPAS, BAFTA, WFTV, GANG, the Alliance of Women Film Composers and frequently sits on juries for the Emmys, BAFTAs, RTS and other major industry awards.
Nainita is also in demand internationally, giving master-classes and interviews about her work ranging from Cannes Film Festival 2019, LA Comic Con USA, Rio de Janeiro Brazil ASA Women in Music Conference, NOPO in Oslo, Kiev Ukraine and India for the British Council, Glasgow FF, Sheffield Doc Fest, Soundtrack Cologne, Moshita Music Conference South Africa, Sundance 2020, WOMEX in Copenhagen amongst numerous festivals and events around the UK.