Nobuo Uematsu was born on March 21st, 1959 in Kouchi City, Japan. At about eleven he began to teach himself to play piano like his older sister. Uematsu went to college but did not pursue a degree in music. While at school he met his future wife, Reiko. After Uematsu he kept his hobby of music alive by writing jingles for local television commercials and working at a music rental shop. One day, in 1986, Uematsu was asked to consider composing music for Square. He agreed to the job and began making music for them on the side, still keeping his job at the music rental shop in Sugoshiyoshi. However, it wasn't long before Uematsu's co-worker at Square, Hironobu Sakaguchi (of Final Fantasy fame), asked him to compose music for his games, and Uematsu began working for Square full time.
Uematsu was hired by Bits Laboratory (under contract from Square) to do music for their title King's Knight. Bits Laboratory is known for creating the legendary terrible NES Ghostbusters. He later composed the music for their title "Hanjuku Hero". During his time at Square, Uematsu composed soundtracks for over 30 games, including his help on Chrono Trigger after Yasunori Mitsuda became ill. He is best known for the epic orchestrated soundtracks he scored for the Final Fantasy series.
In 2003, Uematsu formed a rock group called The Black Mages, a collection of both video game musicians and traditional musicians to put a new take on his Final Fantasy tunes. The Black Mages released three albums and performed several live concerts, but they disbanded in 2010. In 2004, about a year after the merger of Square and Enix, Uematsu quit citing his inability to find comfort since the company moved to the Shinjuku ward. After quitting, Uematsu formed his own company Smile Please, a music studio, and the company Dog Ear Records, a production studio. With his own studios to work in, Uematsu was able to concentrate on his music more fully and continue to compose soundtracks for Square-Enix, but also other companies as well, like Mistwalker.
Uematsu's work is quite eclectic ranging from classical orchestrated pieces to modern techno tracks, and also including jazz, Celtic, rock, and blues. He cites the pop-rock music of Elton John as his biggest influence, in addition to The Beatles, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Simon & Garfunkel, Pink Floyd, and King Crimson. His more traditional influences come from Tchaikovsky, which he uses for his orchestration. He has even been called the "John Williams of the video game world" by some of his colleagues. Outside of pop and classical music, Uematsu enjoys Irish and Celtic music as well. His favorite work to date is the Final Fantasy IX soundtrack.
Uematsu currently resides in Tokyo with his wife and their Beagle, Pao. They also have a summer cabin in Yamanakako, Yamanashi.
For the most of his earlier material, Nobuo used instruments from the Roland SC-55 and SC-88.
Note: Most sites list Nakayama Miho: Tokimeki High School for the Disk System in Nobuo Uematsu's works. However, his name does not appear in either the hidden credits screen or the staff roll at the end of the game and instead, other composers are listed. Nobuo has also not verified composing the game's music. Therefore, the game will not be listed on his page.
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