This year’s winners of the third South African Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) Awards: Book, Creative Collection and Digital Contribution 2018, hosted by the National Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS), include Kyle Shepherd for best musical composition for Noem My Skollie. Kyle Shepherd is arguably one of South Africa’s leading progressive pianists, composers and band leaders of his generation.

Internationally recognized for his distinctive compositional style & performances, Shepherd has made a huge impression on debut as a film score composer for the critically-acclaimed film, Noem My Skollie / Call Me Thief – South Africa’s official entry to the 2017 Academy Awards – for which he has earned a nomination for the 2017 South African Film & Television Award [SAFTA] for Best Achievement in an Original Music Score in a Feature Film. Shepherd’s music also features prominently in rising independent film-maker Nadine Cloete’s documentary, Action Kommandant, based on the untold story of the young South African revolutionary freedom fighter, Ashley Kriel.

For more information about Kyle, visit

We recently caught up with Kyle, who recently chose Atlantic Studios to setup a space to compose:

  1. What inspired the musical composition for Noem my Skollie?
    The film itself. John w Fredericks story is so unique and inspiring. 
  2. Who are your music icons / influencers?
    I have many but mostly jazz and classical music and musicians. 
  3. So, what’s next?
    I still have a performing career as a pianist so that’s ongoing. I just recently came back from a recording and concert tour in Switzerland and Germany. As a composer, however, I am preparing to do a series with gambit films and in talks to compose music for another feature film later the year. I’m really happy to have my studio based at Atlantic Film Studios as of the last 2 months. There’s an energy here that I like.
  4. What personal advice would you give to someone wanting to pursue this career?
    Be prepared for lots of hard work and not always for the remuneration your work may deserve, at first…but with passion and commitment you will see it through as you navigate your way through disappointments and successes, to a point where it is an actual career. 
  5. Tell us something not many people know about you?
    I used to have a serious obsession with online gaming. To the point I had to stop myself. Haha.