Emmy Music Nominations Show Changing Role Of Music Director

As music becomes more and more an integral part of the storytelling process, thanks to series such as “Pose” and “Bridgerton”, the role of the music director has changed.

“I see music being used in a way you’ve never seen before,” says Harvey Mason Jr. He landed two nominations this year for “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist”, earning a nod to musical direction as well. than to the original music and lyrics. . Mason, who also runs the Recording Academy and has collaborated with Brandy and Destiny’s Child, says the need for a music director has become more evident.

This was particularly the case during the COVID pandemic. “The way things were produced changed the role of a music director,” he says. “We were doing things remotely, using different software and applications. We really had to adapt. “

This resulted in more interactions with showrunners, directors and talent to ensure “that their vision shines through the music,” he adds. Such a collaboration “didn’t happen as much before – the director wasn’t speaking to an executive music producer or music director. They were talking to someone else and we would get the message across the chain.

What was traditionally considered to be a role involving the directing or arranging of a group has not disappeared, however. Rickey Minor sits on the Television Academy Board of Trustees representing music, and is vying for a Music Director nomination for “Celebrating America: An Inauguration Night Special”.

“It was about setting the schedules and working with musicians, studios and recording engineers and making sure everything is where it needs to be,” Minor says of his work on the special. Its checkboxes: when, what, how, where and how much? These factors remain constant.

It is a very different role from that played by Aron Forbes, longtime collaborator of Billie Eilish, who got a nomination for the musical direction of the documentary “Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry”. He sees the role of a music director in his field, working on a documentary instead of an awards show or a live special, as being “an advocate of the artist”.

Following the superstar as she recorded her album and took it on the road, Forbes, who worked closely with documentary editors Greg Finton and Lindsay Utz, put on 26 performances for the documentary. “Who knows music better than all the years I’ve spent with it?” ” he says. “Musical direction is all about coming together with the director to uplift and enhance the music and the artist.”

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