Kendrick Lamar song Kris Bowers will perform at his Bridgerton prom

What if composer Kris Bowers entered the world of Bridgerton - an alternative world to early 19th century London where upper class society mingled and fell in love with modern pop A classic cover of the song - one of the songs he most wanted to hear in his concert hall. Own Ball Will Be Kendrick Lamar and Baby Keem's "Family Ties" But when it comes to the songs he actually wants to dance to, as Bridgerton gossip lady Whistledown says, it's really a completely different choice. "It could be an Al Green song or something that's a little bit old-school soul," Powers tells Bustle.

If Bridgerton's love story is the heart of the Netflix series, then music is its soul. The show became a sensation not only for its steamy sex scenes, set to instrumental covers of pop songs like Taylor Swift's "Wild Dreams," but also for its whimsical, tender soundtrack that ultimately made viewers fall in love even more The Bridgertons and their romance. conquer. No one knows this better than Powers, who scored the first two seasons and now the prequel series Queen Charlotte: The Bridgerton Story .

Powers, who has been playing piano since age 4, enjoys expanding people's musical tastes by introducing them to classical music with today's hottest hits. Growing up, the first album he bought himself was a box set of Duke Ellington's greatest hits. "It's not just his piano playing," he said. "That's how he created these worlds with big bands and orchestras." After studying jazz performance at the Juilliard School, Powers began dabbling in film and television scoring, notably for Dear White People , Al DuVernay's When They See Us and Best Picture winner Green Book , among other projects, before landing on Bridgerton .

Powers, 34, is now exploring a new side of the Bridgerton universe with Queen Charlotte . This fictional prequel takes viewers back 56 years to the tumultuous early days of Queen Charlotte and King George III's marriage, and is as romantic as the show but more intimate and moody. "A lot of it started with how these [characters] made me feel," Powers said. "With Charlotte, I wanted her subject to have the same edge and rebellious nature that she has."

Below, Powers discusses his musical idols, Bridgerton Easter eggs, and his favorite unexpected approach to songwriting.

About Queen Charlotte

When you were thinking about composing Charlotte's theme song, what kind of instruments did you have in mind?

The first thing that comes to mind is the forte piano, which has a very subtly different sound [from a traditional piano]. I thought it would be fun to play, and from a period perspective, it would be a way to tie it more into that era. [The real-life Queen Charlotte] was a harpsichordist, and I thought about using the harpsichord, but it had such a unique sound that I didn't want to go that far. The Forte piano is a good middle ground between a harpsichord and a piano.

How did you and musical director Alexandra Patsavas collaborate on the sound of Queen Charlotte ?

She and I worked hard to make the soundtrack feel more like a song. There are a few tracks, like [the track "A Feeling I've Never Been"] from when [Charlotte and George] got married. The lyrics were inspired by a black poet of the period, and the music itself was inspired by Joseph Bologne Chevalier de Saint-Georges, a black composer of the period.

On his musical idols

Who were your musical idols growing up?

Herbie Hancock is probably one of my biggest idols because he was an incredibly talented jazz pianist, but he was also the first black composer to win an Academy Award for Best Score for Midnight . For him to go from being a jazz musician to [film scoring] to being on the MTV Video Music Awards — he's my favorite person because of how versatile and highly regarded he is in different genres.

Which artists are influencing you and your work today?

John Williams was always the person I went to because he was a master not only in arranging, but in telling stories through film music. He's best at restating his theme in a very subconscious way, where the theme you hear is obviously related to something you're seeing or not even seeing, but it's not immediately obvious.

What is your favorite John Williams score?

When it comes to Jurassic Park, people always think of it. [But] ET is probably my favorite.

On Composing in the Dark

What is your favorite place to compose music?

Usually my studio. I designed it to feel very comfortable. My windows have shades and the room is black, so it's usually a dark environment. It makes me feel like it's the middle of the night all the time, and I really like that feeling. So I would say either here or on my grand piano in my living room. Often, there is no real substitute for playing the instrument.

Why do you need to look like night when you compose music?

It helps when I can turn off my phone, even during the day, and the environment makes it feel like it's the middle of the night because it feels like time is kind of suspended. When the windows are open I see the light changing during the day and have a feeling of time passing or like I am constantly aware of what time it is.

About the Bridgerton Easter Egg

Which Bridgerton theme is your favorite ?

The Lady Whistledown theme is definitely one of my favorites. I often hear my friends say, "It slaps." I really still love Simon and Daphne's theme from season one, and Queen Charlotte 's love theme is there too.

Are there any musical Easter eggs that Bridgerton fans should look out for when watching Queen Charlotte ?

If you watch the first episode, when the printing press prints Ms. Whistledown's pamphlet, there are some hints of her themes there. This will happen once or twice.

Jerrod Harris/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

About never getting too comfortable

Was there a moment when you knew you were going to be a musician?

Yeah, I've felt that way since I was little. And then when I was applying to college, I thought, well, I'm obviously going to go to a music school, and my parents were like, "Wait a minute, you should go to a regular school - have a backup plan to do something else, just in case . ” I was like, “I’m not going to do anything else.”

Was there a moment when you felt like you had succeeded?

I always had this feeling of, "This might be my last project" kind of thing. We just went to the premiere last night, and my wife told me, my dad was like, "I guess that probably means he's going to be OK - essentially he's made it." She said, "Yeah." , I think he'll be fine. "I do feel grateful for the projects I'm working on and feel like I've made it in this way, in terms of the work I've been lucky enough to do, but I've never felt that comfortable.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.