From a musical background, with three of his uncles being Hollywood movie composers, Randy Newman spent most of his childhood living in New Orleans, absorbing the city's rich musical culture. Strongly influenced by Ray Charles, Newman released his first single 'Golden Gridiron Boy' in 1961 when he was 18 and his rare ability as an imaginative songwriter and sharp lyricist resulted in many other artists - including Gene Pitney, The O'Jays, Irma Thomas and Cilla Black - recording his songs whilst Alan Price had a major hit with 'Simon Smith & His Amazing Dancing Bear'. Newman's self-titled debut album in 1968 flopped but still included his classic song 'I Think It's Going to Rain Today' (later covered by Nina Simone), and in 1970 Harry Nilsson recorded an entire album of Newman songs. Other Newman standards soon followed with 'Leave Your Hat On', 'Rednecks' and 'I Love LA' and in 1977 he had a surprise hit with the comedic 'Short People' from the album 'Little Criminals'. From the 1980s he concentrated more on writing music for movies like 'James and the Giant Peach', the 'Toy Story' franchise, 'Monsters, Inc.', 'A Bug's Life' and 'Cars' with his score for 'Pleasantville' being nominated for an Academy Award. He went on to win two Academy Awards, six Grammy Awards, three Primetime Emmy Awards and also the Max Steiner Film Music Achievement Award. In 2017 he released his much-anticipated eleventh album, 'Dark Matter', which, although not charting well, was well-received among critics and fans with the former acknowleding his continued ambition.