One of the challenges of today’s more limited space in print media is condensing sometimes lengthy, comprehensive interviews down to their very essence. Yet it’s always fun to talk with major musical artists about working in film, which generally involves more specific parameters than just writing or arranging a song for a record. So for a story in this week’s special issue of Variety, I had to take 20- or 30-minute interviews with Justin Timberlake, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Harvey Mason Jr., French singer Camille and Disney songwriter Glenn Slater and find a way to assemble their key thoughts into one coherent story. They talk about the current films Sing, Trolls and Moana, plus earlier 2016 films including The Little Prince and Sausage Party.
This was a challenge: Trying to anticipate what might be nominated for the song category in the 2014-15 Emmy Awards. You can never really tell what the Television Academy music branch will decide. I finally called songwriters from Empire, Galavant, Glee, Inside Amy Schumer and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt… that is, Jim Beanz, Glenn Slater, Darren Criss, Schumer herself and Jeff Richmond. Here’s the story I wrote for this week’s Variety. I’d be delighted if all of these were honored… but you can never really tell.
In early December, I visited a fun scoring session with songwriters Alan Menken and Glenn Slater for the new comedy musical series Galavant. This piece goes behind the scenes to explain how difficult it is, and all the work that goes into producing a weekly musical for TV. I love delving into the history of these things, so I mentioned ABC’s landmark That’s Life and Cop Rock series right up front.