Composer Series,  Interviews,  Movies/Entertainment,  Podcast Interview

Interview…Composer John Debney on Holiday Magic and the Spirit of Adventure

John Debney is a composer we’ve admired for years, and were lucky enough to speak with him in 2013 about his work on Bonnie & Clyde. This year, he’s got two projects that give him a fanciful canvas to weave his magic.

In Come Away, the fantasy drama directed by Brenda Chapman blends key elements from Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland. In this emotional ‘what if?’ story, Debney employs lush strings, tender piano, playful cellos, angelic choral work, even a full Irish band. All of those pieces blend and dance while underscoring the children’s active imaginations or, conversely, can pretty near break your heart…even in the same cue. Yes, John is that good.

Next, he spreads some Christmas cheer with his score to Netflix’s Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey. The story – an uplifting musical written and directed by David E. Talbert – teaches us that when life knocks us down, it urges us to figure it out and see our way through the doubt. There’s plenty of great messages, catchy songs (like this one!) and fantastic music to enjoy throughout the whole runtime. It’s destined to be a classic.

If there’s any composer who has a knack for scoring inspirational stories filled with fun and the joy of holiday affairs, it’s Debney. In both films, his cues are overflowing with magic, and it’s all too easy to get wrapped up in the emotions at play. Both stories are worth your time and have surprising amounts of fun.

Debney has been in Hollywood pretty much his whole life, (going all the way back to his father who was a producer at Disney), and he’s got TONS of stories about the studio and even Walt himself. We spoke to him about that and plenty more.

In fact, Walt Disney once said, “You can dream, create, design and build the most wonderful place in the world…but it requires people to make the dream a reality.” Time and again, John and the people he works with deliver that reality – both visually and sonically – and in doing so create indelible memories for film fans across the globe.

Enjoy our hour-long conversation with John Debney!


A musical adventure and a visual spectacle for the ages, Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey is a wholly fresh and spirited family holiday event. Set in the gloriously vibrant town of Cobbleton, the film follows legendary toymaker Jeronicus Jangle (Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker) whose fanciful inventions burst with whimsy and wonder. But when his trusted apprentice (Emmy winner Keegan-Michael Key) steals his most prized creation, it’s up to his equally bright and inventive granddaughter (newcomer Madalen Mills) — and a long-forgotten invention — to heal old wounds and reawaken the magic within.

JINGLE JANGLE: A CHRISTMAS JOURNEY will be in select theaters in November and on Netflix Friday, November 13, 2020.