NOBUO UEMATSU is one of the most well-known, prolific and versatile composers working in the video game music field. He composed music for commercials before joining Square Co., Ltd. (now Square Enix Co., Ltd.) in 1986. He went on to compose music for over thirty game titles, including the award-winning FINAL FANTASY series.
Since the 1987 release of the first title in the acclaimed FINAL FANTASY series, the franchise has developed into one of the best-selling video game series across multiple platforms in the history of the interactive entertainment industry, selling over 48 million units worldwide (as of January 2004). The music from the game series has grown to such popularity that veteran composer Nobuo Uematsu was named as one of the "Innovators" in Time magazine's "Time 100: The Next Wave - Music" feature. A successful line of soundtracks and solo projects, outside of the video game industry have resulted for Uematsu as well.
Uematsu's scores range from beautiful, sweeping compositions with classical influences to brightly lit New Age pieces and hyper-percussive electronica, similar to songs by the '70s band Emerson, Lake and Palmer, one of his stated influences, along with Simon & Garfunkel and Elton John. Complementing the FINAL FANTASY series' seminally cinematic graphics and epic storylines, Uematsu's emotionally stirring pieces have changed the gaming experience, creating a venue for classical music to resonate with the next generation, as well as setting new standards for video game music.
Taking Uematsu's creations to the next level, his works are now becoming realized in live performances. The first FINAL FANTASY symphony concert was held in Japan in February of 2002, performed by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. The sold-out concert led to a six-city, seven-show concert series titled "Tour de Japon - music from FINAL FANTASY -" which will be held this coming March and April throughout Japan. The Czech National Symphony Orchestra also performed some of Uematsu's compositions in the Symphonic Game Music Concert held in Leipzig, Germany in 2002.
In February 2003, Uematsu formed a group called "The Black Mages," producing a self-titled album composed of FINAL FANTASY battle music arranged in rock style. Uematsu himself performs as the keyboardist.
Uematsu composed and produced the FINAL FANTASY VIII theme song, "Eyes on Me," which featured Hong Kong pop diva Faye Wong and sold a record 400,000 copies. The song won "Song of the Year (Western Music)" at the 14th Annual Japan Gold Disc Awards in 1999 - it was the first time music from a video game won that honor.
Born in Kouchi City, Japan on March 21, 1959, Uematsu attended the University of Kanagawa. Despite his achievements, Uematsu prefers a down-to-earth and personable approach, staying in touch with his fans through columns, listening to Irish music, watching Japanese pro wrestling, making beer, and learning how to play the fiddle. Currently he resides in Japan with his wife Reiko and his dog Pao.