Mike Sempert

Assistant Professor
Affiliated Departments

For media inquiries, please contact Media Relations

Michael Sempert's music is equal parts heart and craft, lifeblood and elegant design. He has composed original scores for award-winning indie films including Love in Dangerous Times, Roads to Olympia, and Sex Weather. His collaboration with Austin, Texas–based filmmakers on the indie feature films A Room Full of Nothing and Homestate yielded original film scores rooted in cosmic American music. His scoring work with auteur filmmaker Jon Garcia draws from analog, synth-based ambient music.

Sempert has scored TV movies Bixler High Private Eye (Nickelodeon) and The Kid Who Only Hit Homers. His original songs have been licensed for television by ABC's Grey's Anatomy, Netflix's Bloodline, and many more. In 2015, he and composer Peter Bayne cofounded West Channel, a commercial music house whose clients include Electrolux, Disney Jr., Visa, and the nonprofits Change Heroes, Honor Flight, and the UN Foundation.

Sempert graduated from the double-degree program at Tufts University and New England Conservatory of Music in his home town of Boston with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Music in jazz composition. While living in the Bay Area, California, Sempert led the band Birds & Batteries, writing and producing five critically acclaimed albums and performing hundreds of shows around the U.S. His first solo album, Mid Dream (2014), included the song "Finest Line," which was licensed for TV, as well as viral videos accruing over 22 million views on YouTube. In 2015, he released an album of instrumental electronic music under the moniker of Volcanic Legacy, with companion video remixes of BBC's Planet Earth. His second solo album, Tend the Flame, was released in 2017 and features the single “Distance,” which has been licensed by multiple TV shows and accrued over half a million plays on Spotify. Sempert’s third solo album, Reunion of Sparks, was released on Infinity Maps in 2019. Due in 2022, his second LP as Volcanic Legacy, Foolish Magic, is influenced by the music of Earth Wind & Fire, the Bee Gees, Milton Nascimento, and Zapp.

Career Highlights
  • Wrote and produced 10 albums of original songs.
  • Lead singer and songwriter for nationally touring band, Birds & Batteries, featured in Pitchfork magazine and performed at the South by Southwest music festival
  • Original songs licensed for TV by shows such as Grey's Anatomy, Bloodline, Gossip Girl, and others
  • Cofounder of West Channel, a commercial music house whose clients include Nike, Google, Netflix, Disney, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Over a million streams on Spotify
  • Composer of original scores for Nickelodeon TV movie Bixler High Private Eye and over a dozen award-winning independent films
In Their Own Words

"I want my students to feel energized and inspired by our classes together. My goal is to help students strengthen the inner connection they feel to the music within themselves."

I've been very fortunate to have an ongoing music career with many chapters, from leading a band performing my own songs all over the country to scoring films and licensing my music for TV. Additionally, I co-own a music company called West Channel that creates and licenses music for commercials. I've found a fruitful balance between art and livelihood that's enabled me to be prolific, find self-expression, and pay the bills. The ability to be both an artist and a businessperson was a slow build for me over many years. I'm happy to be able to bring this real-world experience into the classroom, along with a general philosophy of open-mindedness, curiosity, and a genuine love for music."