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Thinking In Sound: Jade Miranda on Making Magic Happen



playdis' Jade shares her musical diet and explores how the usage and role of music in advertising has changed in the last decade

Thinking In Sound: Jade Miranda on Making Magic Happen

Born in Rio de Janeiro, Jade pursued a degree in history with the intention to specialize in music history.

After finding online that the director Phil Cox was raising funds for the featured documentary Betty - They Say I’m Different about funk pioneer Betty Davis, one of her music idols, she helped bring more visibility to it and started giving music ideas for the documentary, becoming a consultant to the film and naturally finding her path into music supervision.

Jade moved to Berlin to keep pursuing her dream job and at playdis helps translating music ideas between clients and composers, managing projects, as well as doing creative search and sync.

LBB> When you’re working on a new brief or project, what’s your typical starting point? How do you break it down and how do you like to generate your ideas or response?

Jade> It depends on the project and the stage in which I get involved. As I usually work with directors, sometimes I get to be involved pretty early on and help with the whole music concept, analyzing the film and exchanging suggestions already on the first chat. Then it’s more of a natural process and brainstorming from both sides as a first stage.

In general, the team at playdis and I have a pretty targeted approach to projects and have specific questions for each project to help us understand what is wanted and needed for the piece. I love gathering as much relevant information as possible and going deep into it, like understanding a historical event.

After that I dig into a creative search and it also varies if it’s a composition or license. For sync it is more straightforward and I show songs that I think could work, as well as some outside the box ideas. When it comes to bespoke I present tracks and ideas that could serve as inspiration for directions in each music aspect and to lead us to the goal of having a unique piece of music that can serve the film and also stand on its own as a real song.

LBB> Music and sound are in some ways the most collaborative and interactive forms of creativity - what are your thoughts on this? Do you prefer to work solo or with a gang - and what are some of your most memorable professional collaborations?

Jade> I am a firm believer that team work is dream work, especially as a music supervisor. From understanding a script to pitching ideas and going into the production phase or clearance process I love to work alongside my colleagues and ideally alongside the director, composers and the creatives, having their input and this beautiful exchange of ideas.

I love healthy debates and discussions, maybe it comes from my History background but I think it’s super important for my field. As a music supervisor you have to learn how to leave your ego and introvertness outside the door and have diplomatic back and forth conversations along the process.

Having autonomy or creative freedom is great of course and I enjoy it when I have, but I get very inspired through collaboration and challenges: comprehending what is needed/wanted, hearing a suggestion and showing something that I think could work better (or having them showing me something they think could work better) and fine tuning a WIP track together. I think respect and appreciation for each other’s craft is necessary, but non musicians can bring valid input with different perspectives.

LBB> What’s the most satisfying part of your job and why?

Jade> Seeing the magic happening in real time and how music helps translating, supporting or telling a story will always amaze me and give me chills, either with an original song or bespoke song. I also love being this middle person between the client and the composer for productions, helping navigate the music language and making sure everything goes smoothly and the music is what is requested/needed for the project.

I honestly enjoy each stage of my job. Dissecting what is requested and refining the music brief given to us is always exciting and so is looking into songs to license for the project or digging the rights holders and doing clearance. I also love looking into songs to serve as a direction and having feedback rounds with composers, fine tuning a song and organically merging it to the film.

LBB> As the advertising industry changes, how do you think the role of music and sound is changing with it?

Jade> The usage and role of music in advertising has changed a lot over the decades. From the jingle era to the boom of sync, from the usage of hits to the tendency to license songs from up-and-coming artists and to collaborate and partner with them, in which companies like Apple and Levi’s played a big part redefining music’s role in the brand narrative.

More recently, I think there has been a predilection to have bespoke music in advertising that sounds like proper real songs and from the decade that they address. On one hand we see more and more commissioned songs done by established artists - a refreshing tendency, bringing more authenticity to the field and it is something that we are particularly interested in at the company, working with composers and producers that are also part of the music scene and bring this original quality to it.

On the other hand, platforms such as TikTok have also allowed emerging talents to have trending songs and partner with brands, becoming a major tool for the music industry as well. We can see that it’s not about big stars per se, but about this feeling of authenticity and I’m all for it and love to guide musicians into the pace of advertising, nuances and fine tuning a song together.

LBB> Who are your musical or audio heroes and why?

Jade> That’s a hard one! I have quite a few musical heroes and heroines, but I am a big fan of drums. I remember spending my first ever salary from a school internship with a couple of drum lessons with one of my favorite Brazilian drummers: Mario Negrao Borgonov.

I have a list of favorite drummers such as Elvin Jones, Gene Krupa and Keith Moon. I also have always been fascinated by creative, versatile and multi talented drummers such as Questlove. He is so good at everything he does and such a music geek, a bit of a music historian. Excellent drummer, producer, DJ, writer and even film director. Huge inspiration and a dream work collaboration of mine!

I also love Buddy Miles for the same reason: great drummer, singer and inventive musician that played with Hendrix but also had a solo career releasing his own great rock fusion records.

LBB> When you’re working on something that isn’t directly sound design or music (lets say going through client briefs or answering emails) - are you the sort of person who needs music and noise in the background or is that completely distracting to you? What are your thoughts on ‘background’ sound and music as you work?

Jade> When I’m not working with music I am usually listening to music (and going to concerts!). However, to read treatments and to dissect briefs I prefer silence or discussing the project with the team at playdis.

I also believe it’s good for the ears to give them a break from time to time.

LBB> On a typical day, what does your ‘listening diet’ look like?

Jade> It’s a full course meal kind of diet all day. I love to start my day listening to podcasts about news, music topics and other subjects and usually listen to a specific one when I am commuting to discover songs. Then, I either jump into a project or dedicate some hours to listening to new music.

My best friends and I also have a Whatsapp group to discuss new releases. It’s a bit nerdy! I love the process of looking for new music myself, using multiple sources, but I also like to keep up-to-date with submissions we receive from publishers, labels and artists.

Do you have a collection of music/sounds and what shape does it take (are you a vinyl nerd, do you have hard drives full of random bird sounds, are you a hyper-organised spotify-er…)?

Jade> I still prefer vinyls over other formats and have a small collection that is getting bigger and bigger every day, but I am also a hyper organized spotify user with folders sorted by genres, decades, moods and so on.

LBB> Outside of the music and sound world, what sort of art or topics really excite you and do you ever relate that back to music (e.g. history buffs who love music that can help you travel through time, gamers who love interactive sound design… I mean it really could be anything!!)

Jade> I am a very curious person and interested in several topics such as sociology, poetry and psychology, but when it comes to history and films I do tend to relate that back to music a lot. I once wanted to be a music historian, after all.

With films and TV shows the soundtrack is usually what I pay attention to at first and tend to analyze. I get a little obsessed and eventually can get myself back into the actual film, but it is a process…

LBB> Let’s talk travel! It’s often cited as one of the most creatively inspiring things you can do - I’d love to know what are the most exciting or inspiring experiences you’ve had when it comes to sound and music on your travels?

Jade> One of my favorite moments involving music and travel was when I went to a city and country I hadn’t been to before for a film shoot for the first time in my life. I went there to have a final music meeting about one of the songs produced before the shoot, gathering feedback in person from everyone and to help guide the singer for vocal style, as well as to supervise the lip sync on camera.

As music companies we do not get to be in film sets often unless we need to supervise something on camera. However, I think a lot of us could benefit more from doing that and spending more time with projects and the creatives involved in it and this experience was impactful for me.

Seeing everything from the script and creative vision turning into reality was magical and there was so much adrenaline involved. On the set you have to hyper-focus a lot and make sure it all goes right and everyone is so involved and excited. It’s a different type of energy from the one you have when focusing on work from your desk. It’s a constant adrenaline rush that is hard to put into words…

The shoot was in Kyiv and from this trip I also remember getting to know more of the town and its music scenes and talking to lovely people that are also passionate about music and art in general. It felt so vibrating and every time I think about it, as much as for me it is a good memory, I also feel a pressure on my heart thinking about how difficult and different things are over there right now and about those people.

I hope this madness gets to an end and that they can recover from it. In the meantime, we have to help as much as we can. I noticed how our industry here in Berlin has embraced so many creative people from there and hopefully this is happening in other cities too.

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playdis, Wed, 05 Oct 2022 09:15:12 GMT