“If a bomb was dropped here, there would be no more sync business.” So cracks Kevin Weaver EVP, the Atlantic Records Group, about the crowd thronging the patio at the outpost of high-end Japanese restaurant Katsuya located in the shadow of Los Angeles’ Staples Center.
It’s just a couple hours before the 2014 Grammy Awards kicks off inside Staples, and a who’s who of the biggest players in licensing, sync, music supervision and publishing have come together at the third annual gathering here hosted by power trio Kevin Weaver, top music supervisor (with "Glee" to his credit)/Black Magnetic label and publishing founder PJ Bloom, and Ron Broitman, EVP, Head of Synch for Warner/Chappell and Rhino.
According to Maureen Crowe – president of the Guild of Music Supervisors – the event started following the inaugural Guild of Music Supervisors Awards in 2004 held at a nearby downtown L.A. restaurant. “It’s a brunch on the Sunday morning of the Grammys,” Crowe says. “Coming out of that, people gathered here, and PJ and the guys built on that.”
Maureen Crowe, president of the Guild of Music Supervisors, on the Katsuya patio. (Photo: Matt Diehl)
“We finished up at the awards around 11:00 o’ clock, and after many mimosas and bellinis were revved up and had nowhere to go, so we wandered over to the Katsuya at Staples,” Crowe continues. “We decided to grab some couch space, and more cocktails, and watch the New York feed of the ceremony. It was so much fun, we decided to do it again – and again.”
Those munching on tuna nigiri and vegetarian spring rolls at the fiesta include Bruno Mars’ Smeezington partner/co-songwriter Philip Lawrence, Pulse Recording’s Josh Abraham (supporting nominated clients Bonnie McKee, Luke Laird, and Tony Maserati), Aaron Scully of New Line, Chris Jackson and Scott McDaniel representing NBC-Universal, EA Sports’ Raphaella Lima, music-tech guru Les Borsai, music supervision power couple Season Kent and Kier Lehman, Relativity Media music prez Bob Bowen, Fox’s Danielle Diego, music supervisor Robin Urdang, Universal’s Brian Lambert, and Lava CEO Jason Flom. “I came out here to hang out with Kevin Weaver and I wound up getting so much business done, I'm going to retire after this!” Flom notes with a laugh. “It's the best party of the weekend.”
Bloom, Broitman, and Weaver’s Katsuya party also provides a rare chance for the sync community and friends to discuss their current and upcoming projects.
“The most exciting thing for me is what’s happening with A Great Big World,” Bloom says. “I signed them in January, and a year later we're about to go triple platinum with their single 'Say Something.' Last night I was at the Clive party and the band performed – which I would say is a benchmark of a successful act! I’ve also just signed a group, New Hollow, their song “She Ain’t You” was the 2013 “Breakout Song of the Year” on Sirius ‘The Pulse." And The Last International coming out on Epic are a fantastic new rock band with Brad Wilk of Rage Against The Machine on drums. 2014 is going to be a fantastic year for Black Magnetic.”
New Hollow and their song “She Ain’t You” were the 2013 “Breakout Song of the Year” on Sirius ‘The Pulse’.
On the music supervision side, Bloom also is preparing for the final season of "Glee:" “No music driven television series will ever match the success we had - especially not at retail. It's a moment in pop-culture history, and I’m so thrilled to have been a part of it.”
The Future's So Bright: Chris Jackson and Scott McDaniel repping NBC-Universal at 3rd annual Katsuya Grammy fiesta. (photo: Matt Diehl)
Chris Jackson notes that 2014 portends an expanded playing field for NBC-Uni’s music-driven initiatives. “From the Olympics to what's happening on the broadcast channel to cable and sports, it feels like there's a lot more opportunity, and we're getting more efficient about recognizing that,” Jackson says. “As well, E! is moving into scripted, and things are finally working together. Scott has done an amazing job bringing in new and emerging artists like Imagine Dragons and giving them placements. And we worked with Kevin and Ron on the E! Red Carpet campaign, which features songs from Atlantic artists like Janelle Monáe and Fitz and the Tantrums across the whole red carpet season.”
Meanwhile, Bob Bowen is attending the Grammys to support the nomination for Best Original Song for Visual Media for the song “We Both Know It,” written and performed by Colbie Caillat and Gavin de Graw for the Relativity 2013 film production "Safe Haven." “It's our first Grammy nom as a music department and film studio, so it’s a complete honor,” Bowen says. “And in February, we have the great Kevin Costner action film "Three Days to Kill" with a pop and classic rock driven soundtrack. Also coming up is "Earth To Echo" – an amazing film with a great score by Joe Trapanese, who’s worked on film music with M83 and Daft Punk, as well as songs from up-and-coming acts like the Mowglis.”
Relativity music major domo Bob Bowen. (Photo: Matt Diehl)
Also on the soundtrack front, Fox’s Danielle Diego and Atlantic’s Weaver are partnering up for the movie music for "Rio 2" – the sequel to 2011’s animation smash "Rio." “It’s a history and celebration of the music from Rio to the Amazon,” Diego says. “Sergio Mendes executive produced again. We’ve got Brazilian artists like Carlinhos Brown and Milton Nascimento as well as people like Bruno Mars and Janelle Monáe, who wrote the song that opens the movie. Will.I.Am is also contributing, and Philip Lawrence wrote a beautiful song, too.”
Right now, however, Lawrence is celebrating noms for Bruno Mars (who will go on to win for Best Pop Vocal Album) by hanging with his dapper father, Philip Lawrence Sr., on the Katsuya outdoor couches. “Kevin Weaver said I need to come and kick it with the peeps, and PJ is awesome: I'm a big fan of "Glee," and the show was really good to us – much love,” Lawrence says, enjoying a little R&R before heading into rehearsals for Mars’ Super Bowl half-time performance next week, followed by more dates in Mars’ ongoing world tour.
Philip Lawrence (right), a Smeezington and Bruno Mars consigliere with his proud dad, Philip Lawrence, Sr. (Photo: Matt Diehl)
“I'm so excited, man, and it's such an honor,” Lawrence continues. “I remember dreaming about this moment. This year is different for us, though. The first few years we were exposed to the Grammys, we were always performing, so to be on the other side now – without that stress and strangeness – is a new experience. I can kick my feet up this time! Win or lose, I'm chilling and having good time, loading up on Pellegrino. Someone told me I could get a little sushi and come to the Grammys - that's a winning combination for me. Give me some of that raw fish with a raw win, baby!”