Here at 1985 Music I'm proud to announce that last weeks episode (510: Discretion is Key) and tonight's episode (511: Dead to Rights) of Tyler Perry's Sistas on BET was scored by me, Brandon "Plan B '85" Ross. Six months ago Sistas’ music supervisor and Tyler Perry Studios commissioned me to be the music composer for episodes 510 through 516 of Season 5.
At the top of Jan 2022 I was at an interesting time in my life, plotting my next move. My goal for the longest was to get a theme song placement on a network television show, so I started reaching out to music supervisors for the shows I watched. I spent 2021 watching Season 4 of Sistas with my wife and yelling at the TV screen when these women urk my nerves with their decision making. I digress. I paid very close attention to the music for a couple of episodes and realized I had a lot of music that would be a good fit for the show. I watched the ending credits, found the music supervisor, did some research, and magically her email fell out of the sky 😉. To my surprise I got a reply immediately, but was informed that at the time she didn’t handle the instrumentals in the show. However, she was looking for full songs and asked if I had any to share, of course I did. I sent a small batch of hits, but got no reply. Keep in mind I sent that email in late January, I followed up and got nothing.
Fast forward, its Memorial Day weekend and I had just returned from South Carolina after a much needed weekend with the family. I'm checking my emails on some regular sh*t and I see an email from Sounds In Color Music, the music supervisor’s company. The subject line read, "Instrumentals for Season 5 Sistas and Zatima." It was an email blast that outlined the music needs for both shows with the budget and terms. I was asked to submit a few tracks for demo purposes so I sent the tracks over, but didn't hear from them for a month.
June 28, a month to the day from when I got the original email, I got an email from the music supervisor saying she had some good news for me and wanted to hop on a call. We scheduled the call and the good news was the show’s executives loved the music and wanted me to be the composer for Season 5 of Sistas. I couldn't believe this was happening! We had a few more calls outlining the length of the job, expectations and so on. I had gotten plenty of placements in the last few years, but scoring the #1 show on BET was a different work load. It took a few weeks to negotiate the terms of my agreement and during that time I got sick, but I was still prepping for the task ahead. I was gathering up ideas and creating fresh material. I was given examples of what they were looking for and was able to use that as a guide. I was heavily encouraged to add my own flavor to the music too. Even being told that they wanted to go in a completely different direction this season with the score and was open to new ideas. As it turns out I was the first hands on composer that they had since Season 2. A lot of the music that had landed in the last 3 seasons was sourced from music libraries.
To give you a clear picture of the work process, I was given one new episode each week for 6 weeks. The first episode that I scored I did not have any notes initially and I was given the creative freedom to do what I felt was right. Now that I Iook back it was probably a test to see what I was capable of doing. Needless to say I executed the first episode and she loved it. Then the notes came.
As time progressed and some of the scenes got a little bit more intricate, I had to really start applying everything I learned musically to evoke the right emotions for the scenes. One of my biggest challenges in the beginning was coming up with music that evoked a humorous vibe. The music supervisor was very instrumental in helping me find a middle ground in that space. As I scored more episodes, I progressively got more comfortable and confident in what was needed musically and you'll hear that as the season progresses. By the time I finished my work on the initial six episodes I had provided enough music for them to finish out the season. One season of Sistas is about 22 episodes, 30-40 pieces of music per episode. A lot of music.
I learned a lot during this process and what really goes into producing a show of this magnitude. I have to thank Yvette Metoyer for not only selecting me, but giving me much needed game and guidance. Also, I have to thank Tyler Perry and Tyler Perry Studios for doing superb business with my myself and 1985 Music.