The Secret to Writing Songs for TV From Veterans of ‘Empire,’ ‘Smash’ and ‘Julie and The Phantoms’

”Write a song that’s very specific and very universal at the same time,“ Emmy-winning composer Marc Shaiman says

Imagine an episode of a crime drama without suspenseful music right before the villain goes in for the kill. Or a romantic comedy without the crescendo of the orchestra right before a kiss. Whether we realize it or not, music plays its own vital role on television, and so do the songwriters behind it.

Madison Reyes and Charlie Gillespie, stars of Netflix’s “Julie and the Phantoms,” are some of the youngest in the game. At ages 16 and 22, the pair wrote their first-ever song for television last fall while on the set of the fantasy musical-comedy series, which premiered Thursday.

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Margeaux Sippell

TV Reporter • • @margeauxsippell