Hayat Selim (b.1990) is an Egyptian film composer and singer-songwriter. She is the first Egyptian female composer in media music. Hayat has been an active media composer since 2015, starting off in the Egyptian media scene until she moved to London in 2017 to pursue her masters.
Hayat started her music path since childhood at the German School Deutsche Schule der Borromäerinnen (DSB) in Cairo that put a lot of stress on classical music and the arts in general. Hayat has been in choirs since childhood, started learning the piano at age nine and grew up with stage life, singing and acting. In high school Hayat started growing a passion for poetry and songwriting which led to her first steps towards composition.
Being also passionate about math and technology, in 2009 she started an undergraduate degree in Digital Media Engineering and Technology at the German University in Cairo next to continuing private studies on the piano and singing; performing in different venues in Cairo. She was one of the first members of the GUC Music Ensemble. Halfway through her studies in 2011, she started taking steps towards pursuing music professionally. She studied composition privately with Egyptian composers Ramz Sabry Samy and Khaled Shokry, as well as classical singing with Dr. Neveen Allouba and pop/musicals with Sherif El Dabaa.
In 2015 Hayat received a scholarship to MediaSoundHamburg, the international summer academy for film music, game music and sound design, a first step towards media music. Even though she was originally set out for film scoring and songwriting, her first doors in media music opened in the Egyptian indie video game industry. Her first commission was “Initia Elemental Arena”, a fantasy first person shooter PC game. In 2016 she won the 'Young Talent Award Game Music' composition competition in Hamburg, Germany, for two of her compositions from “Initia Elemental Arena”. She worked on numerous mobile games and virtual reality experiences since then and was the first go-to composer and sound designer in the Egyptian video game industry. Hayat gave several talks about the history of sound and music in video games in the biggest gaming events in Cairo, including 'Run Double Jump' and 'Global Game Jam'. In 2019 Hayat was profiled in Meagan Marie’s book “Women in Gaming: 100 Professionals of Play” celebrating women working in the gaming industry.
In 2016 Hayat received a scholarship from the Royal College of Music and the Noel Coward Foundation, supported by the Clifton Parker Award and the Henry Wood Trust to do a masters in composition for screen at the Royal College of Music in London. With this opportunity, Hayat was back on track with her pursuit of film music. She studied with Emmy nominated Maurizio Malagnini, Enrica Sciandrone and Howard Davidson.
Amongst Hayat’s work on over 15 short films in the last two years, Hayat wrote the music for 'Contact' by Hassan Reda, 'Stories My Mother Told Me' by Doreen Edemafaka and 'Parallelism' by Sukanya-Devika K Jhala that made it to numerous film festivals nationally and internationally. Her song 'Mirage' for the short film by Lena Srinivasan was nominated in the 'Best Song' category of the Jerry Goldsmith Awards 2019 where it received third place. The song was also semi-finalist in the UK Songwriting Contest 2019. Her soundtrack 'The Great Red Spot' was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 for the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11.
Hayat writes music in various genres. Her compositional interest lies most in combining classical cinematic orchestration with world music influences, voice and atmospheric backgrounds.
Next to her media music work, Hayat pursues singing and songwriting, currently working on her debut song album. Her song 'She’s All of That' premiered March 2019 at the Royal Academy of Arts celebrating International Women’s Day.
In autumn 2019 Hayat was endorsed by the Arts Council England and received a Tier 1 Exceptional Promise visa to be able to stay in the UK and continue pursuing her music career.