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Inspirational Female Founder Spotlight: Aleah Morrison-Basu

Aleah Morrison-Basu is a Composer, Executive Producer and  Co-owner of Zelig Sound. They provide original composition and sound design for films, TV, branding and games.

Can you tell us a little about your background and the company?

I’ve been a musician since a young age studying classical piano, clarinet and dance. I started composing in my teens – instrumental and singer / songwriter compositions.  My earlier career I was also a performer (singer and recitalist on the piano and cello) and a radio presenter. I was lecturing and studying a masters in Composition when the company started. Initially the start of the company was very organic. Matt Wilcock (co-founder) and I were living in Manchester. We were both composing for various personal projects. Then a neighbour asked if we could compose the music and sound design for a video of his. We did that and then he asked us to work on more introducing us to other people in his company. One of the projects was designing all the sound including music for the Chopin museum in Warsaw. Matt then pitched for the audio on the BAFTA’s and won it. That was a key turning point in the launch of the company. 

How did the idea come to you for the company?

It wasn’t a ‘we’re going to start a company’ type of light bulb moment. We had started composing music for various projects and Matt came up with the idea and name of Zelig so we started working under that name. 

How did you achieve awareness?

Through a lot of cold calling initially but then people started hearing our work and liked what we were doing so we gradually grew a following and a sound that was unique to us. We also did a lot of personal projects which raised awareness of us as individual composers. We used twitter back in the day as well as Facebook. After 7 years of hard graft we had started to build a name for ourselves and people started coming to us. Now it’s more Instagram / LinkedIn / YouTube. 

How have you been able to gain funding and grow?

We have never needed to gain funding because we have been frugal from the start. We self-funded the company with my lecturing career in the very early stage. We have only grown the company when we’ve been able to afford it. We probably could have grown more quickly but we needed time to warm to the idea of running a company beyond just the two of us. At the end of the day we were creative, we were composers so the business acumen is a skill that’s had to develop over the years. 

What are the key successes?

Winning the initial BAFTA pitch. Creating the new sonics for BBC and Amazon Prime. We helped shape Microsoft’s tone of voice with 50 (and counting) films for Microsoft Design. We redefined gaming for Logitech G with 12+ films (and counting). We helped Amazon Prime Video find their voice in Europe with music supervision. Helped define Google Design’s music and sound tone. We’ve helped launch TV channels, car models and game franchises to name a few.

What were/are the challenges and how have you overcome these?

Getting a step into the industry. Really winning the job for the BAFTA sound was a stepping point for us. We then had a credit to shout about which people would respond to. 

What are your plans now/for the future?

To keep producing awesome work at the highest possible quality. To keep our clients happy, engaged and excited about working with us. To continue to push boundaries and create audio that’s unlike anything you’ve ever heard before. For all our brilliant in-house team to continue enjoying composing and creating stunning audio. 

What would you like to share with others to encourage them to start their own entrepreneurship journey?

In my opinion, the key is a lot of hard work and sacrifices to overall lifestyle and social life. Totally immersing yourself in your work and building a confidence and passion for what you do is key in propelling you into a good position to start a business. Nothing will come to you. You have to go and get it. 

Can you share your top tips for entrepreneurial success?

Never think what you want will just come to you. We only deserve what we push for in life. Believe in yourself. Be 100% committed and passionate about what you’re creating. 

Who are the 5 people who inspire you the most and why?

My business partner, Matt Wilcock. He’s a force to be seconded with and I’ve learnt a lot from him over the years. Any mother with children, especially young, who is running their own business and trying to balance both work and home life to ensure she’s the best business owner she can be and the best mother she can be.

What are your favourite inspirational /motivational quotes?

Life is happening for you not to you 

You don’t need the outer world to define you. You need to be greater than your environment 

If you want to improve be content to be thought foolish and stupid 

Being imaginative is having ideas; being creative is converting ideas into production 

People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel 

Creativity itself doesn’t care about results – the only thing it craves is the process. Learn to love the process and let whatever happens next happen, without fussing too much about it. Work like a monk or mule or some other representative metaphor for diligence. Love the work. Destiny will do what it wants with you. 

Solitude is often spoke of as a strength. 

If you think you’re too small to make a difference try sleeping with a mosquito 

What are your Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn social handles and also website links so our readers can connect with you?  


Instagram @zeligsound