Grant Kirkhope is a video game composer primarily known for his soundtracks at Rare, such as the Banjo-Kazooie series, Perfect Dark and Viva Piñata. He worked at the company for over a decade before relocating to Big Huge Games, taking up the title of audio director. After his application at Retro Studios got turned down, he joined Spark Unlimited in August, 2012.
After obtaining a degree in classical trumpet at The Royal Northern College of Music, Grant spent much of the 80s and early 90s writing and playing guitar for various heavy metal bands such as Syar and Maineeaxe. While touring as a trumpeter of Little Angels he opened for acts such as Van Halen, and recieved a guitar from Eddie himself. Through his work he became friends with fellow trumpeter Robin Beanland, who joined Rare in 1994 and encouraged Grant to do the same.
Rare, the Nintendo era
Grant's first work at the company was an adaption of David Wise's music for Donkey Kong Land 2, as well as a collaboration with Graeme Norgate on GoldenEye 007. It wasn't until 1998 that what many consider to be his defining work, Banjo-Kazooie, was released. While the highly melodic tunes and tongue-in-cheek quality made a memorable score, Banjo was also known for taking full advantage of dynamic music depending on what area the player was in.
One of Grant's most infamous compositions appeared in 1999, that being the DK Rap for Donkey Kong 64. Despite being a deliberate bad parody, the joke was unfortunately lost on many gamers.
Grant continued to compose for a great number of titles during the N64 era, such as Perfect Dark and Banjo-Tooie.
Rare, the Microsoft era
Being sole composer on Rare's first Xbox title, Grabbed by the Ghoulies, Grant incorporated more live instruments into his songs. Viva Piñata was the first of his soundtracks to be recorded by orchestra, as well as exploring a wide variety of genres for the game's romance dances. It remains his favourite score to date at the company.
Before resigning in July 2008, work was completed on the soundtracks for Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise and Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts.
Big Huge Games
At the end of July 2008 Grant emigrated to Baltimore, Maryland to take up position at Big Huge Games as audio director and worked on Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.