Roahn Hylton, known as "First Born", is a hip-hop, R&B, and pop music producer/composer from Houston, Texas. He attended Oral Roberts University where he was lead engineer at their Conservatory of Music before moving to Los Angeles, CA. Some notable credits include being series composer for 2019's Kevin Hart Don't F**k This Up, series composer for 2019's Free Meek, producer for Nicki Minaj's Gunshots, and composer for 2018's YouTube Red Docu-Series Best Shot, which was produced by Lebron James.
When did the journey start for you?
I've been making music for as long as I can remember. I started making beats as a teenager when I had dreams of being a rapper lol. In college, I took it a bit more seriously and eventually was head engineer at our conservatory. From there I knew I wanted to have a real career in the business so I moved to Atlanta and used my engineering skills to get myself in the important rooms. Eventually, after playing my music for everyone I could some A&Rs, artists, and managers took notice and in 2010 I got my first big single with Nicki Minaj's "Super Bass." From there I moved to Los Angeles and haven't stopped working since.
Who are some composers/artists you pull inspiration from?
The first composer I really studied in terms of craft was Ennio Morricone. In college, we were tasked with deconstructing melodies from scenes in various classic movies. At the time I hated Westerns, so of course my instructor picked a scene from A Fistful of Dollars that would challenge my taste. Needless to say, I became obsessed. R.I.P. to the legend.
My current favorites are Ben Salisbury and Geoff Barrow. Loved what they did in Annihilation and recently in Hanna as well as Devs.
What's the strangest method you've used to get the perfect sound?
In college, I needed some male voices for a choir sound I was looking for. At the time I didn't have the sounds or samples I needed so I enlisted eight of my friends from the men's basketball team and directed them. Surprisingly it wasn't terrible, but let's just say auto-tune was my best friend that session.
Which instrument(s) do you have the most fun playing?
I'm classically trained on viola but I start and finish melody ideas on piano. These days, however, I mostly play pro tools!!
Other than your studio, where does inspiration most often strike?
I'm most inspired by being in nature. Ironically the quieter the space, the louder my imagination!!
What are two things you're most proud of? One musical/professional, one personal. No humility allowed.
In 2015 I was pretty frustrated with the recorded music business so much so that I was one phone call from stepping away altogether. A year later after a great trip to Israel and meeting Jacob Yoffee, I got a new wave of inspiration. This pushed me to pivot my focus from the recorded music business as a producer to composing full-time. Seven series, a few national campaigns, and a couple of Emmy considerations later, I'm still here and working as hard as ever. I'm particularly proud of this because any professional in the music biz knows how difficult it is to have any success. To be able to have a decade-long career as a multi-platinum Grammy-nominated producer and pivot to have a successful career as a composer has taught me to have unwavering confidence in myself. Also, to follow inspiration wherever it leads no matter how steep the learning curve. In the end, I'm grateful to be able to live a life surrounded by creativity.
What's your favorite score of the year?
Uncut Gems was technically released in 2019 but I LOVED the score.