Rhian Sheehan

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Rhian Sheehan
ResidenceWellington, New Zealand
OccupationComposer, producer
Years active2001–present

Rhian Sheehan is a New Zealand composer and producer born in Nelson and now based in Wellington. Known for his fusing of orchestral chamber music & piano, with ambient electronic & post-rock cinematic atmospheres, he has released 6 solo albums. He is also known as a screen composer, having written music for film, TV, games, exhibitions, advertising, roller coaster rides, and planetarium dome shows.


Sheehan released his debut album Paradigm Shift in 2001.[1] The album was released in the UK almost two years later in 2003, and received praise from music critics. Sheehan was named "The Next Big Thing" in 2004 by U.K's Future Music Magazine. He has since released 5 albums and two EPs. His 2009 albums Standing in Silence, 2013's Stories From Elsewhere & 2018's "A Quiet Divide", step away from his earlier ‘electronica' work into more of a shoegaze, post-rock ambient, chamber music direction. Eminent US reviewer John Diliberto (host of Echoes) called Stories from Elsewhere "a modern ambient chamber music masterpiece of quietly epic dimensions". [1]

Sheehan's work has featured on variety of CD compilations, most notably the multi-platinum selling Cafe del Mar[2] CD compilations (vol 10[3] & 11[4]). Sheehan's music has been heard on BBC's Top Gear, as well as The Discovery Channel, the National Geographic channel, and the HBO series Silicon Valley (TV series). His music has also been used in a variety of advertising, having written music for Google, Facebook, Nike and GoPro commercials. In 2009 he composed the soundtrack to the British National Space Centre's We Are Astronomers, a 360° Full Dome Film (narrated by David Tennant), and has been seen by an estimated one million people. In 2009 Sheehan composed the score to the 13-part prime-time TV drama series The Cult,[5] (for which he was awarded a Qantas Film & TV Award for best original score) and the Emmy Award winning web-series Reservoir Hill. In 2012 Sheehan wrote the score for the UK 3D Planetarium documentary film "We Are Aliens" (narrated by Rupert Grint).

In July 2012 Japan's Preco Records released his most recent albums "Standing in Silence" & "Seven Tales of The North Wind" together as a limited edition double box-set that includes bonus material, including the remix of "Borrowing The Past" by American post-rock ambient luminaries "Hammock (band)".

In March 2013 American label Darla Records released Stories From Elsewhere. The album was also released in Japan by Preco Records, and in New Zealand and Australia by LOOP Recordings.

In October 2013 Sheehan completed writing the soundtrack to the US and UK produced Planetarium Fulldome Film Back To The Moon For Good. Commissioned by XPRIZE, The film is narrated by Tim Allen (Toy Story). The 25-minute digital dome film highlights the history of exploring the moon and provides an insider's look at the teams vying for the $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE, the largest incentivized prize in history. The film was produced by the UK National Space Centre, XPRIZE, and Robert K. Weiss (The Blues Brothers, Naked Gun).[6] The show is one of the most popular and watched Planetarium shows ever made; having screened in over 450 Planetariums across the world.[7]

In 2014 Sheehan contributed string arrangements for Jakob (band)'s album Sines (album). The album won the Taite Music Prize in 2015.[8]

In July 2015 Sheehan completed writing and producing the orchestral soundtrack for the UK produced 3D Planetarium Fulldome Film "We Are Stars" (narrated by Andy Serkis), for which Sheehan was awarded "Best Soundtrack" at The 2015 Fiske Fulldome Film Festival.[9]

In August 2015 Sheehan released his first live album "Rhian Sheehan - Live at The Wellington Opera House"[10]

In December 2016 Sheehan completed scoring the soundtrack for Weta Workshop's new Dr. Grordbort's exhibition.

The 2017 debut album SweetSexySavage, by American R&B artist Kehlani features a sample of the Rhian Sheehan track "Waiting" (co-written with Lotus Hartley). The sample is used as the backbone to the track "Not Used To It" (The album debuted at No.1 on the Billboard R&B chart, and reached No.3 on Billboard Top 200) [11]).

In October 2018 Sheehan completed scoring the music for Magic Leap & Weta Workshop's (Peter Jackson and Richard Taylor's award-winning special effects and prop company) 3D mixed-reality game, Dr. Grordbort's Invaders. The steampunk inspired robot shooter game was written & directed by Greg Broadmore, and features the voices of Stephen Fry, Lucy Lawless, and Rhys Darby.[2]

On October 12, 2018 Loop Recordings & Kobalt Music released Sheehan's album "A Quiet Divide". Releasing the album alongside a 6 date audiovisual live tour around New Zealand, the album reached no.2 on the NZ Top 20.[12])

Album Discography[edit]

  • Paradigm Shift (2001)[13]
  • Tiny Blue Biosphere (2004)[14]
  • Music for Nature Documentaries – remix album (2004)[15]
  • New Zealand Landscapes – Book/CD (2008)
  • Standing in Silence (2009)[16]
  • Seven Tales of The North Wind - 7 track EP (2011)[17]
  • Stories From Elsewhere (2013)[18]
  • Live at The Wellington Opera House (2015)
  • We Are Stars - Original Score (2016)
  • Belief: The Possession Of Janet Moses - Original Score (2017)
  • A Quiet Divide (2018)

Compilations featured on[edit]

  • Café del Mar Vol.10 (Spain)
  • Café del Mar Vol.11 (Spain)
  • Barramundi, Vol. 4: Together (France)
  • Pacific Hotel (France)
  • The Sound of Dub (Germany)
  • Turtle Bay Country Club presents - Love Factory (Germany)
  • LOOP Select 05 (Australia)
  • Love Parade (Germany)
  • Trance Forward (UK)
  • Zen 4 (AUS)
  • Lazy Sunday Vol 5 (NZ)
  • LOOP Select 01 (NZ)
  • Radio Active 25 Silver selections (NZ)
  • Alpine Unity - Passenger (NZ)
  • The Telecom CD (NZ)
  • LOOP Select 03 (NZ)
  • LOOP Select 06 (NZ)
  • Green Room 4 – Hope (NZ)
  • Various - Nuclear Free Nation (NZ)
  • Eco Zen 2 - VA (Aus)
  • Bridging The Pacific Vol 1 - VA (AUS)
  • Festivus - VA (AUS)
  • Silent Ballet - Volume XI: Wenn ich ein Eisbär wäre (US)
  • LOOP Select - KONO 02 (NZ)
  • For Nihon (US) - V/A
  • Disquiet Vol.2 (US) - V/A
  • Ministry Of Sound Hed Kandi: Winter Chill - V/A (UK)
  • Little Darla Has A Treat For You, Vol. 28 - V/A (US)
  • A Strangely Isolated Place - Full Circle - V/A (US)

Also appears on the albums[edit]

  • Kehlani - SweetSexySavage (2017)
  • Thomas Oliver - Floating in the Darkness (2017)
  • Applescal – For (2015)
  • Jakob – Sines (2014)
  • Hammock (band) – EP's, Singles and Remixes (2013)
  • Helios – Remixed (2012)
  • The Blush Response – Love Electric (2011)
  • Raashi Malik – Self-titled EP (2010)
  • Rosy Tin Teacaddy – The Homeward Stretch (2009)
  • Rhombus – Onwards (Remixes & Archives) (2008)
  • Richard Nunns & Hirini Melbourne - Te Ku Te Whe Remixed (2006)
  • Antix – Twin Coast Discovery Remixes (2006)
  • Antix – Twin Coast Discovery (2005)
  • Module – Remarkable Engines (2006)
  • The Nomad – Step 4th (2003)
  • The Black Seeds – Pushed (2002)

Awards and nominations[edit]

  • Winner "Best Soundtrack" Festival de Cortometrajes de Requena (Spain) for "The Mauritania Railway: Backbone of the Sahara" (2018)
  • Finalist "Best Score" Revolution Me Film Festival (New York) for "Los Angeles 1991"(2016)
  • Winner "Best Soundtrack" Fiske Fulldome Film Festival (2015)
  • Winner "Best Original Score" Qantas Film and Television Awards (2010)
  • Finalist "Best Live Performance" Wellingtonista Awards (2009)
  • Finalist "Best Animated Video" Animate Festival 2009 official selection (Director) for "Standing in Silence Pt3" (2009)
  • Finalist "Best Electronic Album" at the bNet New Zealand Music Awards (2005)
  • Finalist "Most Outstanding Musician" at the bNet New Zealand Music Awards (2005)
  • Winner "Best Animated Video" Young Guns International Video Awards (2004)
  • Runner up "Best Video" Handle the Jandal Music Video Awards for "An Afternoon on the Moon" (2003)
  • Winner "Best Video" Handle the Jandal Music Video Awards for "Waiting" (2002)
  • Finalist "Best Electronica Album" at the bNet New Zealand Music Awards (2002)
  • Finalist "Best Electronica Album" at the New Zealand Music Awards (2002)

Film & TV Soundtrack credits[edit]

  • CapCom Go! The Apollo Story – 3D Planetarium Dome show (UK 2019)
  • Dr. Grordbort's Invaders - Magic Leap Mixed-reality game (US 2018)
  • The Mauritania railway - Backbone of the Sahara - Documentary (US 2017)
  • The World In Your Window - short film (NZ 2016)
  • We Are Stars - 3D Planetarium Dome Film (UK 2015)
  • Belief: The Possession Of Janet Moses - Feature Film Documentary (NZ 2015)
  • The Day That Changed My Life - Documentary (NZ 2015)
  • Los Angeles 1991 - Short film (US 2015)
  • Dinner with Friends with Brett Gelman and Friends - Adult Swim Special (US 2014) [song featured: Chime Travel
  • Similo - Short film (Spain 2014)
  • Back To The Moon For Good - Planetarium Dome Film (US 2013)
  • Holding The Sun - Short film (NZ 2013)
  • Naked Castaway – The Discovery Channel (US 2013)
  • We Are Aliens - 3D Planetarium Dome Film (UK 2012)
  • Cell, Cell, Cell - 3D Planetarium Dome Film (UK 2012)
  • Siege - Film (NZ 2012)
  • Geoff Duke - In Pursuit of Perfection – Documentary (UK 2012)
  • Abiogenesis – Short film (NZ 2011)
  • In Safe Hands – Short film (NZ 2011)
  • The Banker, The Escorts and The $18 Million - Documentary (NZ 2011)
  • Day Trip – short film (NZ 2010)
  • Journey of Contrasts - 3D Planetarium Dome Film (UK 2010)
  • Top Gear - Great Adventures 3 (UK 2010)
  • Reservoir Hill – Series 2 (2010)
  • Reservoir Hill – Series 1 (2009)
  • We Are Astronomers – Planetarium Dome Film (UK 2009)
  • The Cult – 13-part TV series (2009)[3]
  • Huloo - Documentary (NZ 2008)
  • Welcome home – Short film (NZ 2006)
  • The Sunshine Man – Short film (NZ 2005)

Other information[edit]

Rhian is the nephew of New Zealand photographer Laurence Aberhart and the son of travel and landscape photographer/publisher Grant Sheehan. A photo Rhian took while traveling in India is the cover image of his 2009 album Standing in Silence.

Rhian Sheehan appears in the final scene of James Cameron's film Avatar as a military engineer (dressed in red). The scene was filmed in Miramar, Wellington, New Zealand, in the same suburb Rhian lives.[19]

He is married to musician Raashi Malik. Together they have 3 children.


External links[edit]