Music Supervisor Ciara Elwis – Spotify for Artists

When you captivated and stunned viewers with Michael Coyle’s I May Destroy in the summer of 2020, the series was praised for its outstanding performances (especially Coyle’s Star-Turn, series creator, co-director and lead actress) and the world created for the lively Coyle character. , Arbela, a writer who has survived and underwent a traumatic sexual assault in East London. It was duly acclaimed for its soundtrack, which is a mix of Nicki Minaj, Daft Punk, Janelle Moni, Rosalia and many more, including modern jazz of English acting such as The Comet Is Coming and Sons of Comet.

Coyle has an incredible ear, and a lot of songwriting was written – the karaoke at the premiere of the series was Arabella with Minaj’s “Trafal Butter” – but not from a pair of Ciara Elvis and Matt Bifa, an intelligent music supervisor from London. Water-Adele. Elvis has always focused on finding the right tune to go back to his college days: While studying at the University of Edinburgh, he got his first musical gig when he signed on to become Spotify brand manager at the University of Edinburgh. By

Since graduating, he has programmed soundtracks for The Duchess, This Way Up, Afterlife, and other film and TV projects through his work with Air-Adele, but I Can Destroy You is a particularly challenging, and compelling, endeavor: Show No Score Was not, which gave Elvis and Bifa enough opportunity to draw pictures from Coyle’s rich source material and support the story with a soundtrack that both sounded like a perfect fit for Arbela’s airpods and a vehicle for his story. Below, Elvis unpacks his process and plays a key role in his job as a music supervisor.

Your career in the music industry started with a gig with Spotify, do you see a connection between your previous playlisting work and music supervision?

100 percent. It’s something I still do on a daily basis for work, so 100 percent, it’s connected. What we do is basically organize ideas around a theme; Our theme is this specific visual for which we have found ideas. It’s probably more fluid with the genre than many playlists, it’s still a very similar concept, and of course something I first started working on when I was doing Edinburgh [Spotify] Jobs I put it all together, but it was a lot of research-based stuff for me because it wasn’t something I was already listening to. It’s similar to what I do now, it’s a different approach to what kind of music you’re putting in.

If you defined a nut and bolt for music supervision, what would it be?

I would say that we are responsible for all the music that goes into movies or TV, but it is a curated role rather than a creation role. We do not compose; We do not write any of these songs. We curate the music that we have there, and with the help of producers and directors we create a world that they want us to create for them … I think a big part of the job that people don’t understand is how much the track is. Regardless of what may sound good, we can make sure that it enters: you can’t just blindly pitch things without knowing who owns it. A set process should occur when you find the perfect song to make sure you don’t sue if you use it to do so.

In some cases, you really have a bright world, as I destroyed with you. I liked something about how it painted a portrait of East London and how true the soundtrack was to me. Did I make you a dream project, on that front?

The way the music was communicated was quite different from the other things we did, which is always really interesting. With that, it’s East London, very curated for the whole scene, but the reason is that we were very close to what Michela said and not exactly. This does not mean that he has heard a song before, but it does mean that every song, we will try and see if it fits this world we are trying to create. With this project, we were playing against the classic thing of making people feel in a certain way by playing a melancholy song, or highlighting an exciting moment with a piece of underscoreing. A lot of the time the music plays the characters instead, and often plays the opposite of what you see on the screen, which I think is much more challenging to communicate in some way – it can be anything, but not everything. It was wide open, but only a few things seemed authentic. There was a lot of conversation between us and Michael, and the editor and director, about why a certain music might be right for a series. It’s also a dream of such an art from our point of view, which relies heavily on music without a score, because every single musical instrument was something we had to clean or source, where you would usually have a score. As much as there are some incredible scores and I like working with composers, looking at things differently and an interesting approach like this, “Okay, we’re responsible for everything here, and we just can’t be lazy and say, oh, it’s a bit exciting. You have to think, when you’re tearing music to pieces, be more careful about what each single bit of music is doing.

Now what role does playlisting play in musical discovery for you? Has Spotify helped you find new things?

I use Discover Weekly. It’s pretty helpful for work because when I’m listening to new things I hear a lot of things for work on Spotify, but then it would be, “You heard XYZ recently, we found C that you might find interesting,” and sometimes it’s something really great. Will pick gems, which is always really good. Another thing I do occasionally, especially for party playlists and things like that, is watching other people’s playlists on Spotify. If you ask any of the five what their definition of a bunker is, everyone will probably have a different answer, so I always find it quite interesting – almost I watch character taste playlists. If we say, “What will this character hear?” Then I’ll listen to loads of other people’s playlists on Spotify, just typing something generic, so you usually bring loads of people’s playlists that come to the public, like what little others like Moses like to hear. It’s always really interesting, even if it gives you an idea of ​​a song you’ve already heard. I think how other people view music, and how other people interpret music for a show is clearly really important to what we do.

What does an artist need to do to ensure their music is as accessible as possible for a music visitor?

A lot of people have sync agents, which is a huge issue right now. In the states and in the UK we work with many companies that only make music for labels and publishers. If they are already represented, this is something that their labels or publishers can see. Many times, labels and publishers also have their own sync arm, so it is their responsibility to communicate with us. I must get 25 email labels or publishers with music every day, and I listen to that music when I get close to it. If you’ve got a supervisor’s email address, I’d recommend sending them 100% to yourself. Maybe you’re doing something new and interesting on a monthly basis, especially genres, vague genres, maybe there’s a little bit about music. One of the main things I do when I’m looking for something specific is to search my emails and let anyone like, “I wrote this song about X.” They will come in search of me. It is always worth doing. But a big one I would recommend to sync agents; If not, you can contact people directly. I find things all the time on Instagram. Some great things come there. I am open to listening all the time regardless of where it is being sent from. I think it’s best for you to get new music in front of the caretaker, especially if you send a nice, polite, interested email … I want to say another thing that is very annoying, but very important: ownership of rights. If you are writing a song with someone, decide what the publication is going to be right now. If I find a song on Spotify I really like it and I go and check the rights. If it gets 70% copyright control (which means Copyright Maintained by the author and not delivered to a third party publisher (meaning the song has no publisher), I’m not just going to pitch it. So it’s very important that you choose who owns the rights and register them with the publisher, or disclose them to yourself as soon as possible … It always happens: I find something that I really, really love, and then it There will be copyright control, and then, I think it’s really important to have your contact details. If you’re an artist, an email that you check regularly on Instagram is really, really important, because I contacted people via Instagram for I May Destroy You, and none of them came back, and then their music didn’t go to the show. . I know it’s pretty annoying, but from our point of view, finding people’s music on TV shows is really important to us.

When it comes to working with different directors and writers, is it rare for someone like Michela to really invest in music, or be knowledgeable in music?

I would say it’s probably 50/50. Sometimes we are really left to our own devices; Sometimes people have ideas or thoughts about their favorite music. It could be that the director wants one thing, the producer wants another, the editor has a different idea, and then one of the many parts of our job is to discuss between different groups and try to find something that will tick everyone’s box – Which is obviously a big job struggle, I would say, trying to get three different ideas of what music should be and put them into something that everyone can agree on. Michela was obviously really involved, but I think it was because it was her personal story, so a lot of music had to flow from her, because a lot of music was scripted, and it was part of the show from the beginning. From our point of view, it’s always a great thing when people are really involved with the choice of musical instruments. It leads us to be better, to be honest. He would come up with something, and our job would be to stop and find something that was exactly what he wanted. We want to introduce the editor and director and even Michael to my music which they have never heard before we love. That was a big problem.

What do you think is the most common misconception about music supervision? Anything that musicians come to you for, or labels that you don’t seem to understand about what you do and how you manage these projects?

I think probably the main thing is that we don’t hold all the cards. We’re basically power assistants … I think artists have this misconception that we all make decisions, and if we like their songs, they’ll automatically get a sync. I mean in this case, but it’s not exactly. There are many reasons why an amazing song will never sync. Sometimes it may not be what the producer wants, it may not be what the director wants in terms of melody, but it may be something about the way the song is blended. One of the things we deal with a lot is having music that has a similar pitch to the voice: it’s a real problem because it’s so hard – you can’t talk to a person on TV about a song, because they’re going to rub against each other. Even such small things, there may be really, really good reasons why the song isn’t rolling, and we can’t make all those decisions.

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