It was just over a year ago, at the height of last winter’s pandemic lockdown, that a golden opportunity landed in the lap of Ashley Jane. “All of a sudden this is, like, ‘Oh, this is what you hear about when people talk about having a lucky break,’” she says. Working under a drop-dead, two-day deadline, the end result was the song “How Lucky Am I?” which will appear in the soon-to-be released feature film Press Play starring Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon), Lewis Pullman (Top Gun: Maverick), and Matt Walsh (Veep).
It wasn’t her first foray into soundtrack music. “After [my band] In the City released our first EP Changing Times, we found a lot of success with getting placements,” says Jane, whose songs have been featured on TV series such as Workin’ Moms, Heartland, Kim’s Convenience, and more.
It was no accident, though, that Jane was in the right place at the right time. It was because she’d established a successful songwriting partnership with Stephen Krecklo, who was initially approached by the filmmaker. As a result of the pandemic, Krecklo – who Jane had met at the Canadian Film Centre (where she and her In The City partner Timon Wientzek were the first songwriting duo to be accepted into the prestigious Slaight Family Music Residency) – found himself killing time on Twitch, the live streaming service that, though mainly for gaming, also offers music broadcasts and creative content “in real life” streams.
“All you can do is do your best”
Jane explains, “Stephen found himself in a like-minded community and, from time to time, he’d show some music that he had created. One day someone slipped into his messages, ‘I’m a director in L.A. working on a feature, and I’ve heard some of your music. I was wondering if you have a couple of songs that you could send to hit certain moments in our film?’ He called me and gave me a breakdown of what they were looking for. We didn’t know who this person was, it could have been anybody, but, lo and behold, it [was] in fact a director making a Hollywood film with some heavy-hitter names.”
They were given a two-day deadline.
“We’d worked together quite a bit for the last couple of years, but we’d never worked remotely before,” says Jane. “We’d always worked together in a room. It was an interesting experience having one of the biggest opportunities in our careers presented to us in the moment we weren’t allowed to leave our homes.”
The two went to work and submitted a track that, though a top three contender, didn’t make the final cut. The pair weren’t disheartened; in fact, they were thrilled. “When it comes to this sort of stuff,” says Jane, “all you can do is do your best. We felt that we’d done a good job, and pulled this off over Zoom, having never written like that before. The fact that they thought it was a good song was enough for us.”
But it wasn’t enough for the filmmakers. A week later the director called again. Another song needed, and only two days to turn it around. This time they scored. “How Lucky Am I?” indeed.
It’s the personal relationships, which Jane has nurtured, that keep her busy. “I’m in a really unique position where, in Canada, I have great relationships with music supervisors,” she says. “After the initial placement, if they can see that you’re prompt and you’re reliable, the trust just builds, and builds, and builds from there. Every placement I’ve had has been an opportunity that has been presented to me by a director, or a producer, or a music supervisor, or another collaborator musically. For me, having a direct line both ways has been so beneficial. It’s just a quick way to build trust on both ends.”