Born in Zimbabwe and raised in South Africa, Paul Hepker trained as a concert pianist under Adolphe Hallis. He worked as a Musical Director at the National Theatres in Pretoria and Cape Town (The Rocky Horror Show, Joseph) and has performed or recorded with a number of prominent South African and international artists such as Shirley Bassey, Miriam Makeba, Ice Cube and Vusi Mahlasela. He wrote the voter education theme “Make Your Mark” for the first democratic elections in South Africa, which gave birth to a National TV gameshow of the same name. In the mid-1990’s he toured the world as a member of Grammy-nominated band Johnny Clegg and Savuka (Juluka) before moving to Los Angeles in 1997 to pursue a career in composing for stage and screen.
A long-time member of acclaimed Los Angeles theatre company Circle X, Hepker garnered an Ovation Award, two LA Weekly Awards, and numerous nominations for his work as composer or Musical Director on productions such as Grendel, Laura Comstock’s Bag-Punching Dog, and Romeo & Juliet: Antebellum, New Orleans, 1839.
In 1999 Hepker was a Finalist in the inaugural John Lennon Songwriting Competition and has had songs featured in, and included on the soundtracks for Eye In The Sky, Tsotsi, Permanent Midnight, Soul Survivor, The Bird Can’t Fly and Into The Light.
Paul’s latest project is Official Secrets (Starring Kyra Knightley, Ralph Fiennes, Matt Smith) – his fourth collaboration with director Gavin Hood. Paul also co-composed the music for Tsotsi (which won the 2005 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film), Eye In The Sky (starring Helen Mirren, Alan Rickman) and Rendition (starring Reese Witherspoon, Jake Gyllenhaal, Meryl Streep). Along with fellow South African composer Mark Kilian, Paul scored The Bird Can’t Fly (starring Barbara Hershey). His score for Into the Light – a documentary exploring the AIDS crisis in Tanzania, featured Kenyan singer Ayub Ogada.
Paul was series composer on numerous Discovery, History and National Geographic Channel series, including Deadliest Catch, IRT Deadliest Roads, Crash Files, Impact, America’s Deadliest Season, Into the Firestorm, Raw Nature, Iditarod, Herrings – all for Original Productions – and Shark Taggers (NBC).
Paul returned to South Africa in mid-2012, where he has been involved in music production (Ard Matthews), writing music for commercials (Nedbank Private Wealth, OUTSurance, Spar, Nissan, Serengeti Beer) and film-scoring: he recently composed the music for Kite (starring Samuel L. Jackson) and Shepherds and Butchers (directed by Oliver Shmitz and starring Steve Coogan) both for visionary South African producer Anant Singh.