Backpackers, Novelists, & DJs: The Winners of 2015’s Guild of Music Supervisors Awards 1284 words · 7 minute read

There’s more reason than just warmer temps for a Midwesterner to shove off to Los Angeles in January – recognizing your peers, colleagues, and mentors for mastering their craft tops escaping the cold any day.

On January 21, the Guild of Music Supervisors held its 6th annual awards ceremony, celebrating the best examples of music supervision in TV, film, games, and advertising of 2015 and honoring the top talents in the industry. As big fans of the Guild, we wanted to humbly contribute our own words on each award recipient, whose work is always a pleasure to experience. Congratulations everyone!


Best Music Supervision – Film Over 25 Million

Straight Outta Compton – Music Supervisor – Jojo Villanueva

Perhaps because of keyboarding for the hip-hop/jazz band Elements of the Outer Realm, which has performed at locales such as Lollapalooza, Jojo’s work is always underscored with a clear understanding of contemporary music Straight Outta Compton keeps that trend rocking.

Best Music Supervision – Film Under 25 Million

Carol – Music Supervisor – Randall Poster

Known for helping create the iconic musical identity of eight Wes Anderson films, Randall always curates a palette of music that complements the story perfectly. In Carol, Randall built the 1950s setting by working with New York-based orchestra team Vince Giordano & The Nighthawks to record modern performances of Fifties classics like “Willow Weep For Me” and “These Foolish Things.”

Best Music Supervision – Film Under 5 Million

The Diary Of A Teenage Girl – Music Supervisor – Howard Paar

Music supervisor and soundtrack producer for The Diary of A Teenage Girl, Howard Paar also recently published his first book, Once Upon A Time In LA, a rock ‘n roll noir novel released with a companion soundtrack of 70 songs. Howard crafted the soundtrack to Diary just as carefully, with selections like “Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams” by Nico heightening the experience in all the right ways.

Best Music Supervision – Documentary

The Wrecking Crew – Music supervisors – Julie Houlihan, Micki Stern, Suzanne Coffman

For his 2008 documentary The Wrecking Crew, which narrates the history of the top studio session musicians of 1960’s Los Angeles and features 100+ songs, director Tommy Tedesco brought in a three-woman dream-team of music supervisors – Julie Houlihan, Micki Stern, and Suzanne Coffman – to bring the project home.

Best Song/Recording Created For A Film

“See You Again” from Furious 7 – DJ Frank E, Charlie Puth, Wiz Khalifa and Andrew Cedar; performed by Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth – Universal Pictures

“See You Again” began as a 10-minute collaboration between Artist Publishing Group’s DJ Frank E and Charlie Puth, who were meeting for the first time and only 2 days after the latter’s arrival to L.A. So successful was the team’s collaboration, the melody was selected for the tribute song to the late Paul Walker for the film Furious 7, and Puth was even asked to sing on the track behind rapper Wiz Khalifa. Talk about a success story.


Best Music Supervision – Television Drama

Narcos (Season 1) – Music Supervisor – Liza Richardson

The musical personality of Liza Richardson can be experienced every weekend on KCRW, where she spins “cosmic rock, scenic techno soul, dub disco-punk and extra classic party explosives from around the world.” That eclectic style made for a perfect sync with Narcos, where Liza placed classic Colombian salsa like Fruko Y Sus Tesos and Mexican psychedelic rock like Los Dug Dug’s.

Best Music Supervision – Television Musical or Comedy

Empire (Season 1) – Music Supervisors – Jen Ross and Dave Jordan

Format Entertainment coworkers Jen Ross and founder Dave Jordan worked together to supervise the music for Season 1 of Empire. The show and its music made it an instant hit, as was evident when soundtrack debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s “Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums” list, making it the first TV series soundtrack to ever top the list.

Best Music Supervision – Docuseries or Reality Television

The Voice (Season 8) – Music Supervision – Clyde Lieberman and Jill Meyers

Senior Music Producer and Executive in Charge of Music for the Mark Burnett Productions company, which produces The Voice, Survivor, and Shark Tank, Clyde Lieberman’s now established career began as a backpacking traveler across Central and South America, guitar in hand. Now, he and Jill help guide the music for the 25-time Emmy-nominated show.

Best Music Supervision – Television Limited Series or Movie

Bessie – Music Supervisors – Evyen Klean and Jennifer Reeve

Neophonic Music & Media coworkers Jennifer Reeve and founder Evyen Klean teamed up to supervise the music for Bessie, an HBO TV film about blues singer Bessie Smith. The two also produced the movie’s soundtrack, Bessie: Music from the HBO Film, which features the iconic songs of the film written by Bessie Smith and performed by Queen Latifah.

Best Original Song/Recording Created for Television

“You’re So Beautiful” by Jussie Smollett by Empire (FOX) – Music Supervisors – Jen Ross and Dave Jordan

You know what they say the family that raps together stays together. Jussie Smollett, the actor who portrays Jamal Lyon in Empire, co-wrote “You’re So Beautiful” with notable producer Jim Beanz and performed the song on-screen with other cast members. The music of Empire plays such a strong role in the storyline of the show, and ensuring this highly anticipated moment went smoothly was part of the reason Format teammates Dave Jordan and Jen Ross earned their Best Original Song for this track.


Best Music Supervision – Trailers

Steve Jobs (Trailer #2) – Maura Duvall Griffin, Ali Pistoresi – Motive

Freelance music supervisors Ali Pistoresi and Maura Duval Griffin teamed up with Motive Creative to deliver the music for this trailer, the duality of which highlights the dichotomy of Steve Jobs’ life and career in a really stirring way. Powerful stuff, ladies!

Suicide Squad (Comic Con First Look Trailer) – Bobby Gumm – Trailer Park

As Vice President of Music, Bobby oversees all things music at the creative agency Trailer Park, including supervising the music to this gripping DC Comics trailer for Suicide Squad. The song is a reimagined cover of “I Started A Joke” originally by the Bee Gees, and features the vocals of Becky Hanson. Who knew the Bee Gees could be so creepy … and who knew creepy could be so good.

Video Games

Best Music Supervision in a Video Game

“Guitar Hero Live” - Brandon Young & Katie Byam – Activision

As Director of Music Affairs, Brandon Young helps determine the music direction of each Activision title, from Call of Duty to Guitar Hero. With music supervisor Katie Byam, the team sourced, cleared, and licensed all of the music for Guitar Hero Live, including songs by The Black Keys, Ed Sheeran, and more. We were so impressed with this first-person music-game, its trailer made it to our list of the top 5 most musically engaging games of E3.

Legacy Award

Guild of Music Supervisors Legacy Award

Chris Montan

Executive Music Producer for Walt Disney Animation Studios, Chris Montan has built the voice of Disney’s beloved movie franchises and soundtracks since 1984. From Pocahontas to Frozen, Chris has helped Disney garner more than 40 Musical Academy Award nominations and has delivered the company several multi-platinum soundtracks. Chris not only scored these stories with memorable music – he provided the soundtrack to an entire generation’s childhood. A legacy in this industry, and in all our hearts, indeed.

Cheers to a year lush with phenomenal examples of music in media! We raise a glass (figuratively speaking, for the moment) to 2015 and to the beautiful minds of all the music supervisors who have crafted these stunningly evocative moments.

By: Zach Miller, Music Dealers