You are the only person who will advocate for YOU. Be specific in asking for what you want and need, and you might be surprised at what you get in return.
As a part of our series about Inspirational Women In Hollywood, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Meghan Currier.
Meghan Currier is a music supervisor for film, television and advertising. Since 2011, she has worked closely with celebrated music supervisor Randall Poster on some of the industry’s most creative and magnetic films and television shows including JOKER, THE IRISHMAN, ISLE OF DOGS, THE WOLF OF WALLSTREET, SKYFALL, BOYHOOD, THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, and HBO’s BOARDWALK EMPIRE, and VINYL.
Currier’s recent music supervision credits include HBO’s HOW TO WITH JOHN WILSON, Amazon’s THEM, MY PSYCHEDELIC LOVE STORY, HBO’s HIGH MAINTENANCE, WAVES, TIGER KING, PROJECT POWER, LITTLE WOODS, JIM & ANDY: THE GREAT BEYOND, and the forthcoming feature film SWAN SONG.
Music for advertising work includes: McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Target, Stella Artois, Gap, Tommy Hilfiger, Gatorade, Gerber, Wild Turkey, Jimmy Choo, Tory Burch, Coach, J Crew, Prada, CFDA Awards, Facebook, AT&T, Tiffany, Google, MoMA NY, T-Mobile, Ralph Lauren, Warby Parker, DKNY, Walmart, Michael Kors, Toyota, Diane Von Furstenberg, Whole Foods, and Vogue.
Ms. Currier was a part of the GRAMMY Award winning team that produced the Boardwalk Empire soundtrack, the 2019 AICP Winner for Best Licensed Music/Arrangement for her work with Global Girls Alliance and The Obama Foundation, and a 2020 Guild of Music Supervisors Winner for the feature film WAVES.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I grew up just outside of Detroit, into a big, gregarious, Irish-American family. My dad is a municipal lawyer and my mom is a retired English and Literature teacher. I have two sisters, a brother, and a boatload of cousins and extended relatives. While we all have very different personalities (and are scattered across the country), we are an extremely close bunch and share a mutual love for music, film, sports, and art, in large part to my parents’ tastes and encouragement.
One of my earliest memories is of my parents coming home late one night from a party, and waking up the entire house by blasting ‘Aqualung’ by Jethro Tull super loud, then proceeding to invite us all down to the living room for a dance party. Whether it was Joni Mitchell, James Brown, a Chieftans record, or someone banging on the piano, there was always an appreciation for music and movement in our house. Don’t get me started on when we all get together during holidays, after weddings, or even funerals!
Because of this dynamic, I developed a deep interest in music when I was very young and started playing the piano at around three years old. And while my Mom and all of my siblings took piano lessons as well, I was probably the most musical of the family. Around that same time, my parents got me into figure skating, which I did competitively until I graduated from my all-girls Catholic high school. As a pre-teen, I used to get busted for staying up too late listening to a local radio show on Sunday nights called “Big Sonic Heaven” hosted by Darren Revell. I also ruined a lot of my parents’ cassettes by putting scotch tape over the top tabs, recording featured artists on the show like Bjork, The The, INXS, Fiona Apple, Cocteau Twins over the tape. Big Sonic Heaven was a really beautiful radio show- cinematic even. I still think about that show to this day, and it absolutely influenced my decision to pursue radio when I got to college.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
I studied sound design for theater and film at Emerson College in Boston, where I also worked as the music coordinator for the jazz show at the school radio station, WERS. The film department at Emerson was really great too, and encouraged inter-major collaborations, so I helped out on a lot of student films doing sound design and ‘experimental music.’ My time at Emerson played a major role in shaping my musical interests and the direction I wanted to take my career.
When I first moved to New York, I had no job and barely enough rent for one month.. But because I put in four years up in Boston running a daily jazz show, including managing other hosts, picking out playlists for four hours each day, scheduling interviews and performances with visiting artists, I felt it made sense to try my luck at a jazz club first. I was looking for any sort of job, be it busboy, hostess, coat check gal, you name it and I would have taken it. I ended up assisting the booking manager at the legendary Birdland Jazz Club, because of my participation at WERS and the Boston jazz community. That is where I first started really looking at contracts, learning about artists’ touring schedules, and liaising between the club and artists’ management.
Occasionally I picked up hostess shifts during nightly shows, which was incredible because I got to see legacy artists like Hank Jones, Ron Carter, and Roy Haynes play in one of New York’s most historic jazz venues . After a year or so at Birdland, I went on to work as an agent’s assistant at CAA helping route rock tours. At the same time, I was making playlists for restaurants and helping source music for my friends’ short films and small commercials for extra cash. Soon after, I found that I really enjoyed my side gig, but didn’t know it could be an actual job until I met Randall Poster in 2011. I started working with him as a music coordinator on the second season of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. From there, my music supervision career snowballed and I then realized I had found my calling.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
There have been so many great stories and people I’ve met and worked with over the past ten years that it’s hard to pinpoint any one in particular. Every project I take on, whether it be a film, a TV show or advertisement, is different, which makes it challenging and thrilling and unique. No matter what medium you’re working in, they all have a different musical landscape, scope of work, and budgetary confines. Every project consists of a different team of writers, directors, producers, musicians etc, which can be challenging but also exciting in terms of experimentation and process.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
We are all humans, and all make mistakes. I honestly can’t think of any mistake I’ve made that was funny per se, as mistakes in this industry can be costly and cause a major ripple effect into other departments of any production….but I can tell you a cool little story about thinking quick on my feet and being resourceful!
I was working on the pilot for HBO’s VINYL, which Martin Scorcese was directing. It was a really long day, in the middle of summer, and everyone was tired and hot. We had one last scene to shoot for the day, which was a fantasy sequence of Otis Redding singing ‘Mr. Pitiful’. While the shot was being set up, Marty was watching the archival footage of the actual Otis Redding performing at Monterey Pop, which inspired this fantasy scene. In the archival footage, you can see Donald Dunn’s bass head popping in and out of the frame, backlit with dust flying around. Marty was discussing with his DP how much he loved that effect of the bass dirtying the frame. Randall Poster, who I co-supervised VINYL with, and I were within earshot as Marty was saying this, but the problem was: we didn’t have a bass on set. Down the street from where we were shooting in Brooklyn was the late, great dive bar that often had live music: Hank’s Saloon. I ran down there, took $100 out of an ATM and asked the bartender if he could loan me a 1960s Fender bass for an hour. As I stood there having a moment of quiet panic, he called up the bassist from Swans who lived nearby, and got me a 1966 Fender precision bass!! It was a small victory, and ended up being a beautiful scene.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My mentor and colleague, Randall Poster, is someone who trusts my instincts and has had my back for a long time. He is most well known as music supervisor to directors like Wes Anderson, Martin Scorsese, Richard Linklater, Todd Philips, Sam Mendes, among many others. Randy took a chance on me over ten years ago when we first met, and we are still working together to this day. He has demonstrated how to be a collaborator of the highest caliber, whether it’s fostering relationships with directors, producers and studios, to maintaining quality of work in all projects regardless of clout or budget. And one thing he’s taught me is the value of having comradery and trust among coworkers, which is essential to making any production flow smoothly.
You have been blessed with great success in a career path that can be challenging. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path, but seem daunted by the prospect of failure?
Treat every opportunity with the same level of importance and dedication, keep an open mind, listen, and be flexible. There are always creative and resourceful ways to make a project impactful and beautiful. If you really love music and movies, go for it. Work on everything and anything to get your feet wet.
What drives you to get up every day and work in TV and Film? What change do you want to see in the industry going forward?
I’m inspired by every project I work on, because everyone has a story to tell. And over the past few years it’s been heartening to see more women, POC, queer, non-binary stories coming into the forefront, which is empowering others to tell their stories too. We need to be vigilant in continuing to champion those stories that for so long were passed on, passed by, and not considered ‘valuable’.
You have such impressive work. What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? Where do you see yourself heading from here?
I appreciate that, currently I’m really excited about a film that I am in post-production on right now called SWAN SONG, which was written and directed by an incredible Irish filmmaker, Ben Cleary. It’s a beautiful and humanistic film about love, the future, and hard choices we all must ultimately make. So far the process with the producers, the studio, and Ben has been incredibly collaborative, rewarding, and just plain fun. I am grateful to work with material and professionals I genuinely believe in, and see myself continuing to do so.
We are very interested in looking at diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture and our youth growing up today?
Every human is different, with explicitly unique and valuable experiences in life.
We must listen to one another’s stories. Even if we can’t identify with what another has been through, we can at least listen and practice reflection and empathy.
Since the advent of the internet, we have truly become a global culture. Media is a powerful tool, and a platform for our world culture and younger generations to express themselves, share ideas and information more swiftly than I could have ever imagined. The more we actually see one another and feel seen, the more we are able change our perspectives.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
- Think long term.
- People will try to use your age and/or gender to make you feel unimportant. That is bullshit.
- Unless it’s an emergency or you’re on deadline- don’t work on the weekends or respond to emails/phone calls past a reasonable hour.
- Everyone works differently, ask how a collaborator likes to work and explain how you like to work- you’ll find the best way to move forward together.
- You are the only person who will advocate for YOU. Be specific in asking for what you want and need, and you might be surprised at what you get in return.
Can you share with our readers any selfcare routines, practices or treatments that you do to help your body, mind or heart to thrive? Please share a story for each one if you can.
Sweat a couple times a week and get into nature as much as you can. See friends often (safely, during these COVID times) and talk to someone you love and/or trust often; eat fruits and vegetables; cry and laugh; SLEEP! Don’t get overwhelmed…prioritize.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“The only way to get something done is to begin.” -Tom Minter (my grandpa)
Because it’s true.
You are a person of huge influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
Wow. This question is overwhelming, let me try to prioritize this.
Gender equality! Racial equality! Social justice! World hunger! Global poverty! Climate change! Educational disparities! Gun control! Nuclear proliferation! These are all issues that are intersectional.
In all seriousness, I try to take it one person at a time, one day at a time… Small, unseen, un-touted kindnesses are what we can all do, every day. Let’s start there.
Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!
He’s an inspirational human, artist, activist, entertainer, entrepreneur, the list just goes on. I’d love, love, LOVE to lunch with Ru!
Are you on social media? How can our readers follow you online?
Although you’ll most likely only see photos of my dog, Rose.
This was so informative, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!