A native of London, Powell was an accomplished violinist as a child, wrote music for commercials out of school, and assisted composer Patrick Doyle in the early 1990s. He moved to the U.S. in 1997, co-wrote the score for Antz, and quickly became one of the most desirable, versatile, and exciting composers in town.
John Powell was catapulted into the realm of A-list composers by displaying an entirely original voice with his oft-referenced scores to the Matt Damon Bourne trilogy. He has become the go-to writer for family animated films, scoring such hits as Shrek, Chicken Run, Ice Age (2 & 3), Bolt, Rio, Happy Feet (1 & 2) and Kung Fu Panda (1 & 2). His pulsating action music has provided the fuel for Hancock, Green Zone, Stop Loss, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and The Italian Job. His music has also sweetened the romance of Two Weeks Notice and P.S. I Love You, empowered X-Men: The Last Stand, lent tenderness to I Am Sam and gripping drama to United 93. His infectious score for How to Train Your Dragon earned him his first Academy Award nomination. Powell has also lent his voice to the score of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, Ice Age 4: Continental Drift, Rio 2, directed by Carlos Saldanha, and the critically acclaimed DreamWorks’ film How To Train Your Dragon 2. His work can be found in Warner Bros.’ Pan starring Hugh Jackman, Universal Pictures’ action-thriller Jason Bourne starring Matt Damon, Fox’s Oscar-nominated animated feature Ferdinand and Disney’s Solo: A Star Wars Story, directed by Ron Howard. Powell’s recent work includes DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World directed by Dean DeBlois and the 20th Century Studios’ family adventure feature The Call of the Wild starring Harrison Ford.
Public Choice Award 2019: How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (by John Powell)