If trying to get played on mainstream radio is a challenge for independent musicians, you can imagine what a gargantuan task it is to get their music placed in popular films and television shows.
Winnipeg producer Arun Chaturvedi, who won Producer of the Year honours at last year’s Western Canadian Music Awards, never expected to write for TV, but the singer-songwriter is now working on one of the hottest reality shows in the U.S.
“I was in L.A. promoting my [self-titled 2010] solo album, and Manitoba Music arranged a dinner with various music supervisors,” he says. “The restaurant had a grand piano so I played and sang a few songs. One of the guys from Keeping Up With The Kardashians ended up placing a few of my songs, and a little while later he asked me if I’d be interested in composing some custom music for the show.”
Chaturvedi has been providing music for the show for about a year, and explains how he composes music for it.
“The Kardashians definitely have a sound that they go for, so I stay true to that,” he says. “It’s sort of pop/hip-hop but the characters often get into some crazy antics so the music reflects this. For example, I often do ‘sneaky’ or ‘comedic’ sounding cues using the xylophone, timpani, and violins with a pizzicato articulation. And sometimes, I’ll compose instrumental rock music for high-energy transition scenes.”
Chaturvedi has been writing and producing since his early teens, but only professionally for the last seven years. Having a great ear, being able to write songs and play different instruments in a variety of styles are all marks of a good producer, says the former frontman for Driver, an indie rock group.
“It helps, of course, to know the technical ins and outs of recording and mixing music,” he says. “But, the most important aspect is being able to interact with people, and draw the best performance out of them. I can usually get a track sounding good pretty quickly, and that puts artists at ease. I’d like to think that after only a few minutes of working with me in the studio, it’s clear to them that I get it.”
Chaturvedi says he doesn’t follow a template when writing.
“I like to start with a premise or a title, and lyrics are important to me,” he says. “Other times, I have a melodic-harmonic framework and I add words to it later. Once in a while, songs seem to flow out naturally – melody, lyric, chords all at the same time. It’s a gift when that happens, because a lot of times I have to roll up my sleeves and put some elbow grease into it.”
• Chaturvedi’s former indie rock group, Driver, had a hit in 2005 with the single “She Laughed at Me.”
• To date, he’s worked with artists such as James Struthers, Don Amero, Luke McMaster, and Little Hawk.
• In addition to Keeping Up With The Kardashians, Chaturvedi’s film and TV placements include Bad Girls Club, Pretty Little Liars, Being Erica and Casino Jack.