I have to admit that most of the time, when I’m watching these dramas, the music, for the most part, doesn’t really grab my attention. Sure, ever so often there will be one song that I like enough to find on YouTube or buy off of iTunes, but I’ve never really paid much attention to who the composers are for all this stuff and most of the songs I couldn’t really get into.
And then Guardian happened…
Most of the dramas tend to have more mellow, almost sappy music, but this theme song caught my attention right away. Dramatic, modern, it was much more like some epic movie theme song than for a little web drama series. I found it on YouTube and that was my introduction to Chen Xue Ran (陈雪燃), the talented composer (and singer) of this song. As I started to learn more about him, I also found out that he is responsible for many other songs on quite a few of the shows and movies I’ve watched, including the currently airing Martial Universe.
After graduating from the Berklee College of Music in 2014, he’s been able to make his mark in the industry very quickly. Starting with an internship working with Hollywood composer, Andrew Gross, he was able to network and make connections and get more work. In 2017, he ended up working on Princess Agents as a composer, and got more work on other series and movies until he ended up working with Luo Gun on the entire soundtrack for Guardian. (Along with the theme song, the music for that tearjerker of an ending, titled Kunlun, is also his work.)
His C-drama and C-movie credits include being either an arranger or composer (and occasional singer) for:
Ancient Love Song
Detective Chinatown 2
The Secret of the Three Kingdoms
Tomb of the Sea
Currently based in Pasadena, California, Chen just finished work on music for Elvis Han’s upcoming series, Speed, and has more projects in the pipeline.
I’ve been able to find a lot of his work on YouTube, including his graduation concert and an interview he did about internships. He’s really done very well for himself in just four years and I’ve really enjoyed what he’s contributed to C-drama soundtracks. I look forward to seeing what he composes next.
For a taste of his work, you can check out this playlist I put together which includes my favorite song of his from Tomb of the Sea:
He has a YouTube channel.
And you can check out his professional website.