We’ve been buzzing about Vida, Starz’ new Latinx original series, for the better part of 2018, and now that it’s close to premiering on May 6, we’ve decided to take a look at one of our favorite parts of this TV show: the music.
The series was created by Tanya Saracho, a playwright and screenwriter born in Sinaloa, Mexico, with previous TV credits writing for shows such as How to Get Away With Murder, Looking, and Devious Maids. Approached by Starz, she developed Vida with representation on her mind, assembling a Latinx writer’s room and production crew. To top it all off, the cast is also predominantly Latina.
Vida follows sisters Lyn (Melissa Barrera) and Emma (Mishel Prada) as they return to their childhood home in East L.A. for their mother’s funeral. Soon, they discover that their mother was secretly married to a woman and that she’s left her bar to all three of them. To make matters even more complicated, the girls’ exes come back into their lives. It’s a Molotov cocktail for a can’t-wait-to-see-what-happens
Of course, the series would not be complete without a great soundtrack, and as evidenced by the two trailers that have been shared so far, it’s filled with hits. In addition to some certified classics like Selena and Caifanes, the show features an eclectic blend of contemporary artists, including some Remezcla favorites like Chicano Batman, Maluca, Jarina De Marco, Mariel Mariel, and many more.
Rarely do we see such a broad range of Latinx music appear on prestige television; everything from East LA to Washington Heights is represented. There’s something for everyone here, so if you’re not already listening to these artists, we can guarantee there will be plenty of hits for your spring rotation.
We spoke with the show’s music supervisor, Brienne Rose, about creating the world of Vida one song at a time, and working with composer Germaine Franco on the show’s score.
On creating the tone and feel of Vida
Tanya had created a really spectacular, interesting world and immediately when I was reading [the pilot], I just could hear the music because it has a lot of traditional elements of the people who live in this neighborhood. And so when we were developing the music for this, we wanted to pull from a lot of those pieces as well, have the cultural and traditional aspects and then also really pull in a lot of the more modern pieces and aspects that could be reflected through the music.
On defining the show’s Latinx culture through its music
There’s a generational aspect to the show of this older generation and the mother versus the girls, who are younger. So I think that we wanted to weave those two things together in a way that made sense and told the story in the right way. So yeah, we pulled from traditional elements and music and also really modern artists and music as well.
On matching artists to a scene
Working with Tanya, she has such a clear vision and perspective for the show and these characters. It’s so fun to work with her because she just knows – you can read it on the page and just see exactly what it needs. And she really wants the show to feel authentic. In some cases, it might not be what you expect. We don’t want it to feel like we’re leading this emotion that doesn’t need to be there. I love that about this show because with a lot of shows they say, “Oh my gosh, here’s how you should feel. Here’s the music.” But with this, she wants it to feel so authentic. It’s happening in the background of a scene. It’s in a restaurant. And maybe it doesn’t match exactly the emotion that’s happening. So that’s really fun to play around with because, as a counterpoint, sometimes you can do more with music than if you’re trying to just paint the picture that’s already being told. So that can be really interesting.
On Germaine Franco’s score
Germaine Franco is our amazing composer, who is so spectacular and really brings a unique voice and perspective to the show. She is the only Latina female composer in the Academy, which is incredible. And she just has a really great vision for the music of the show and really understands this world and these characters and is just creating amazing music. She does a lot of it herself, just with the equipment that she has. And she does play some of the instruments. And then she’ll create the score and then fill in with some live instruments and some things that are in the box.
Vida premieres on Starz on May 6, 2018.