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Music Supervisor Alexandra Patsavas

Music Supervisor Alexandra Patsavas It’s a pitch black night, on a lonely road where all you can see is a flaming car.  Somewhere right in front of you, Ryan...

Music Supervisor Alexandra Patsavas

It’s a pitch black night, on a lonely road where all you can see is a flaming car.  Somewhere right in front of you, Ryan is carrying an unconscious Marissa away from the fire and it strikes you that she’s going to die;you hear the sorrow and regretfulness in the melancholic lyrics and tunes of Jeff Buckley’s song Hallelujah and out come the tears.  The scene has struck a chord within you and the music has enhanced your perception of what happened, while you, the viewer, are relating to the experience, understanding the shock, the pain and the inability to escape the general truths of life.  This is sadness to its core.  The full half of the glass? Alexandra Patsavas has done her job.Music supervision is not exactly a celebrity nursery- the outlets where the music ends up being used and the artists behind it are very much in the public eye and many of them are touched by fame, but the music supervisors themselves sometimes remain on the obscure side and are not so widely known by the masses.  This is very much not the case with Alexandra Patsavas. By now a legendary name in her field, to connoisseurs and just plain TV show fans alike, Alexandra is the closest this business has to royalty or superstar status.  From Roswell through Fast lane, Boston Public or Criminal Minds, all the way to Grey’s Anatomy, Supernatural, Gossip Girl and even the frenzy-triggering Twilight, this particular music supervisor has turned everything along the way into pure music placement perfection.
Alexandra Patsavas’ Passion for Music and the Art of Music Supervision

A self-entitled kid of “the first MTV generation”(Chris Carle, Music of The O.C.: Interview With Music Supervisor Alexandra Patsavas), after having been raised in an eclectic musical environment with genres ranging from opera to rock, music supervisor Patsavas discovered her more-than-passionate interest in music when she was in high school and has since been equally or more attached to this art. The roots of her music placement career go back to the times when she worked with low-budget veteran movie producer Roger Corman, after having been involved in the music supervision department of more than sixty TV series and movies.  The next obvious step was launching her very own music supervision agency, Chop Shop Music Supervision, in 1999.From here onwards, Alexandra started paving her way towards success.  For Roswell, she emphasized the show’s eerie mood with the works of names such as Cheryl Crow or Foo Fighters, but also with the then newcomers Dido, Nelly Furtado or Coldplay. She began focusing extensively upon collaborations with TV show producers and, in the years to come, mid-level, publicly-acclaimed titles such as Boston Public, Tru Calling or 1-800-Missing all benefited from her impressive expertise and good taste in music.

The World Tunes Into What Alexandra Patsavas Is Listening To

Then came the big break that would make her personal music preferences influence a whole world’s playlist. In 2003, producer Joel Schwarz was introduced to the prolific music supervisor via the before mentioned Roger Corman, and Alexandra Patsavas became in charge of the music placement for a new show, The OC. A TV series that promised a new spin-off on the classical “lives of the rich and famous” theme, The OC was about teens, with teens and aimed at teens. Generation clashes, romantic dilemmas and identity crises, all of these were portrayed from the point of view of the new generation of youngsters, who favored a new generation of music. Throughout its episodes, indie bands and singers like The Killers, Death Cab for Cutie and Imogen Heap gained reputation and kept fans thrilled about the hip and undiscovered beats of this new rock so much so, that five soundtrack albums containing the songs that music supervisor Patsavas had selected and matched were released as follow-ups; the music was actually starting to exceed the fame of the show and everyone was curious as to what miraculous song a fresh episode would bring.

The music supervisor and quasi-trendsetter continued to pursue her treasure hunt for the hit show Grey’s Anatomy, this time with the aid of an entire playlist of more refined and profound indie artists, that included Roisin Murphy, KT Tunstall, Snow Patrol or John Legend. For her specifically tailored compilations, music supervisor Alexandra received an Emmy nomination, as further proof that she is the utmost music supervisor of our times. An already self-made A-lister in the indie rock area, music supervisor Patsavas went on to try her hand in the more commercial music registry by assembling the music cues for the trendy TV show Gossip Girl.

The fact that it approached a more popular and fashionable aspect of adolescence than The OC meant that the music had to comply with such standards, so the songs she picked out were the products of chart-topping musicians, such as Fergie, whose single Glamourous stood out as the catch tune of the promotional video. Again produced by the same Joel Schwartz with whom she collaborated for the Orange County inspired series, but depicting the “fabulous-ness” and drama of high-class New York youngsters, this series glammed it up with the contribution of Nicole Scherzinger, Rihanna, Justin Timberlake, Timbaland, Amy Winehouse or Lady Gaga, all of which are mainstream pop celebrities. The ratings of CW’s show demonstrate music supervisor Patsvas’ astuteness in fitting diverse sounds into intricate plot moments to enhance the sensation.

Music Supervisor Alexandra Patsavas’ Talents Stretch Across Multiple Media

In case you might make the mistake of thinking that her outstanding talents are limited to television alone, you should know that this music supervisor’s professionalism and seemingly natural-born instinct to spot inspiring songs have  been highly coveted assets in the movie industry as well. The movie we all yearned to see this year, the adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight, has almost been outshined by its deeply theatrical, romantic soundtrack – a collage of Paramore, Iron & Wine, some Muse and some ballads, which landed the number one position in the Billboard Album Chart immediately after its release.

What record label released it? Chop Shop Records, of course. Why does that sound familiar? Because it is the same name as Chop Shop Music Supervision, as they are both the initiatives of music supervisor Alexandra Patasvas. In 2007, once she launched this record label, her placing songs in movies and TV got upgraded to signing record deals with the artists of her choice. The Republic Tigers, Anya Marine and many other especially indie rock epitomizing singers and bands have found shelter under the ingenious umbrella of music supervisor Patsavas’s company, some uncovered in her complex music placement and copyright negotiations workings, others through the almost 500 CD’s she receives every week. With a sweet tooth for alternative and independent musicians, her label is bound to become a favorite among underground potential artists looking for music licensing.

If you’re wondering why you should thank Alexandra for existing and for doing what she does best, than the answer is simple: she is the trigger behind the commercial and public breakthrough of acts such as The Fray, Snow Patrol, Death Cab for Cutie, The Killers, Tegan & Sara, Brandi Carlile, Imogen Heap, or The Subways. She is the one responsible for shedding some light upon these hidden gems and for putting their names in your iPod playlist. Her reputation and constantly increasing influence are so renowned that it is even rumoured that Coldplay asked her to pitch their song Fix You for The OC soundtrack; top-notch music heavyweights want a taste of that Patsavas magic touch which makes an artist’s career expand beyond belief.

Music supervision is Alexandra’s dream job, but it’s not an effortless one. Licensing issues, thousands of samples, requirements of producers and directors and varied contexts for which to find adequate music make it all the more challenging, but underneath these inherent hurdles lies something quintessential: she truly has a gift for music placement. Any band in its right mind is craving for some of her attention, as that is a sure way towards rocketing to the top. It’s somehow like every song she picks speaks to the audience in a special, close-knit way, making you feel not only what the characters feel, but that the music is one of the actors.

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