Monday, June 15, 2020

Autumn Maria Reed Visits Section 36!

Section 36 Music has another visitor! Autumn Maria Reed is a talented composer and I was so glad that she wanted to visit with us and discuss her music, her past accomplishments and more. I’m sure you’ll enjoy everything she has to say.

So, let's see what happens when Autumn Maria Reed visits Section 36!

You had the opportunity to score a short film. What was that experience like?
From writer/director Megan Gale, "Dearest (2020)" is a psychological horror film where a young woman anticipates the arrival of her first child with her husband. However, during her pregnancy, strange figures appear to her throughout her home.  Her workaholic husband is oblivious to these apparitions.

Horror is not my go-to genre for neither music nor film. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone to support Ms. Gale's storyline. This experience taught me how to play well with others (pun intended!)

See the trailer to "Dearest":

You were also able to score a webisode. How did that opportunity present itself?
I am candid about my struggles with mental health.

By chance, a music supervisor posted in a Facebook group that a webisode in a documentary-style 2018 series required a composer from a specific demographic. I messaged him and explained my history. Consequently, this organization picked me! So, I agreed to volunteer my services for their cause. I felt like my composing career was turning around! Yet, it was bittersweet. I chose an obvious pseudonym to avoid triggering some of my friends and family. It's an emotional, yet polarizing subject. Nonetheless, I enjoyed composing for this webisode. I would compose for them again without worrying about the opinions of people. 

You recently graduated from Berklee College of Music. What’s the most important thing that experience did for your career?
I graduated Summa Cum Laude from Berklee College of Music. Finishing college was a rough road for me. I graduated from high school in December 2010 and from Madison College in December 2012. I attended UW-Madison in 2013 but I dropped out due to my health after one semester. For years, I felt like a failure. In 2015, I enrolled in my very first course at Berklee Online; Music for Film and TV 1. I aced it! It's definitely a confidence booster! That is when I produced my first EP. However, I still struggled with my health, even to this day. I enrolled as a degree student at Berklee in 2018. I promised myself to chug along to my finish line.

Many people espouse anti-tertiary rhetoric. And the claim is not baseless. The Great Recession ensued during my teen years. I grew up where adults worried about the yield from university/college. Especially for non-STEM fields. Nonetheless, Berklee is different for two main reasons: real-world experience and networking.

I received real-world experience through my weekly assignments, which I call projects. EVERY Sunday for 12 weeks, I had to: score a cue from a film, arrange a piece of music, write a lyric, produce a song, AND/OR write an essay. Often, students would discover the details on a Monday beforehand! The Music Business has a quick turn around!

Berklee excels in the inclusion of its global online students with Berklee Onsite. Every summer, Berklee Onsite offers workshops, panels, and classes from the faculty. The faculty members are industry professionals. They encourage us to "think globally" by familiarizing ourselves with our international classmates. My colleagues hail from every continent! I've attended two conferences and planned my third trip out to Boston. Unfortunately, COVID-19 forced Berklee Onsite to cancel.

I enjoyed your “Autumn Plays with Herself” video you post on social media where you played multiple instruments. What is it like to put that together?
Thank you! I enjoy making people laugh! My favorite genre for film, television, and theater is COMEDY! With my humor, it can be hit or miss. So, if I set my mind to produce something, I push through my doubts, even if it takes all night. In the end, people enjoy it! My proudest moment was I created a cloning video from 2018 from the cult mockumentary "Jackie's Back (1999)" starring Jenifer Lewis. Ms. Lewis even viewed the video! I would love to make more of these videos in the future. However, I will enlist in the expertise of a videographer.

Your YouTube channel has several of your arrangements. What goes into reimagining a song?
The secret sauce of reimaging an existing song is borrowing elements and chords from other genres. For a super simple example: I arranged "Giant Steps" composed by the greatest jazz saxophonist, John Coltrane as a 90s trap. I would love to hear a live band perform my arrangement when we are out of quarantine.

See "Giant Steps (Arr. Reed)":

Right now, what would you say is your biggest non-COVID career challenge?
My diagnoses are imposter syndrome and self-doubt. However, the good thing about it is that I will never become complacent or smug. That is the only way to learn. There is so much that I don't know. To quote Disney's Pocahontas, "things you never knew, you never knew." (Music by Alan Menken and Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz.)

What are your immediate career goals?
My goals are to collaborate with musicians and filmmakers in the Madison and Milwaukee area, my Berklee classmates, and remote projects based in Los Angeles. I'm hoping to score for more films, webisodes, and incidental theater music. It'll be challenging due to COVID-19, but when there's a will, there's a way.


I’m excited to be able to hear her work on more films!

As always, I want to thank Autumn for visiting, and for sending along the fantastic pictures to accompany the interview.

I know you’ll also want to follow along with her to see what she's up to, I suggest you check out her Instagram and Facebook accounts and give them a follow. They’re great ways to make sure you don't miss a thing she has going on. Also be sure to visit her YouTube channel to see the amazing videos she’s shared.

You should also check out her Section 36 Music page. There you'll find more links, pictures, and samples of her music. It's a great way to enjoy everything Autumn has to offer all in one place.

Thanks again Autumn, and good luck in reaching your goals! 

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