HUSTON, Texas – Germain Franco went down in history with her nomination for Best Original Music for Disney’s “Encanto.” She spoke to ABC13 from her home in Los Angeles, where she works as a composer. Franco, who graduated from Rice University in 1984, proudly spoke about her alma mater.

Win or lose, Franco has already made history at the Academy Awards, becoming the first Latin American and the only 6th woman in Oscar history to be nominated for Best Original Music. Her work on the Disney film “Encanto” deserved an award.

Franco said: “Being the first Latin American, the first colored woman to be nominated, I feel like we, you know, I’m proud to represent our Latinos and Hispanics.”

She further explained how much this moment means not only to her but to all women.

“We are here and we have a vision, we have a voice, and being part of the Academy is very important,” Franco said.

Franco grew up in El Paso before moving to a school in Houston. Time at Rice University helped her along the way, as she immersed herself in music for 12 hours a day, practicing to hone her talent. Also here she learned to play in an orchestra.

Franco said: “I was arranging, orchestrating and started writing for my own band. While I was in Rice, I performed in many orchestral ensembles and was in the Marching Owl Band. ”
She tells us that she started making music at a very young age and loved to play percussion. Eventually, she would graduate from Rice and continue her musical path that led her to Los Angeles. She is working on a number of projects as a film composer or “storyteller” as she describes her role.

“So we have to interpret the script, the scene and what the director’s intent is, the characters, the emotions, and then somehow transfer that to the music,” she explained. “Basically, include yourself in the story and imagine what the hero feels.”

Franco did just that for “Encanto”. It’s a film that honors Latin culture, but like everything else, COVID created big problems while making the film. Instead of going to Colombia, where the film’s action takes place, Franco says she had to read several books and conduct research to gain inspiration to create the sights and sounds of the Latin American country. She says a certain instrument called marimba de chonta has even arrived in the US.

“Marimba is heard all over the world and originated in Africa, but those in Guatemala and Mexico are very different from the Colombian marimba. Basically, I wanted that sound,” Franco explained. “There’s a Colombian harp called arpa llanera, and it’s music from the plains that at one point was Colombia and Venezuela. They were one country, so it’s called joropo music.”

Franco adds that apart from her work on the film, it was nice for her ears to see how many people around the world see themselves as heroes on the big screen. Franco herself found common ground with the character Mirabelle.

RELATED: A 2-year-old’s reaction to the fact that he “saw himself” in the character “Encanto” sends a strong message

“She’s kind of stupid and botanical, and I myself was a botanist in the group,” she said. “She doesn’t give up. She’s very stubborn and that’s important in life. Whatever field you’re in, you need to learn to fail and get up and then get up and try again.”

This is her secret to success, she says, as a groundbreaking film composer who had a golden night.

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