×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Empire,’ ‘Outlander’ Music Inspired by Character, History

On Fox hit “Empire,” Fil Eisler’s atmospheric scores and memorable themes are the engines that drive the series. “(Co-creator) Lee Daniels told me he wanted a bold, operatic score,” says the composer, who works at a punishing pace. “I watch an episode, I score it very quickly and I’m on the scoring stage with a full orchestra three or four days later, every week. It’s like sprinting a marathon.”

Inspiration comes from the characters “and where they’re coming from. I take their points of view very seriously. Even when the show’s campy and winking, it’s got this incredible acting.”

For Richard Rudolph, executive music producer on Lifetime’s “Whitney” (pictured above), the approach was “to honor Whitney Houston’s memory and do justice to her transcendent talent and voice.” He and director Angela Bassett “watched every piece on her, so we could capture the magic of her live performances. We were very lucky to get Grammy-nominated singer Deborah Cox to do all the live singing – especially as she’d worked with Whitney and knew her inside and out.”

The team also scoured Houston’s substantial catalogue before choosing four iconic songs – including “I Will Always Love You” and “The Greatest Love of All” – “to encapsulate her entire career.”

When composer Bear McCreary was hired to score “Outlander,” Starz’s time-travel series partially set in Scotland in 1743, it was a perfect fit. “I grew up listening to Scottish folk music and researching the Jacobite uprising; it’s been a passion all my life,” he notes.

McCreary worked closely with showrunner Ronald Moore and drew on his own Scottish heritage to craft “the sound and a lot of character themes. And as the schedule wasn’t too rushed, I was able to work and develop the music over a year.”

More TV

  • Melissa McCarthy as "Lee Israel" and

    WGA Awards 2019: 'Can You Ever Forgive Me?,' 'Eighth Grade' Win Screenplay Awards

    In a pair of upsets, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” has won the Writers Guild of America’s adapted screenplay award for Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty and Bo Burnham has won the original screenplay award for “Eighth Grade.” “Can You Ever Forgive Me?,” based on the memoir of the late Lee Israel, topped the screenplays [...]

  • 50 Cent Power

    NYPD Officer Under Investigation for Allegedly Telling Police to Shoot 50 Cent 'on Sight'

    A New York City precinct commander is under investigation for allegedly telling officers to shoot rapper 50 Cent on sight, a police rep confirmed to Variety on Sunday. “The matter is under internal review,” an NYPD rep said, declining to answer further questions. Deputy Inspector Emanuel Gonzalez is accused of telling officers during a June 7 roll [...]

  • Bohemian Rhapsody

    'Bohemian Rhapsody,' 'Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' Among Cinema Audio Society Winners

    Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” won the Cinema Audio Society’s top prize for sound mixing at Saturday night’s 55th annual CAS Awards. The film is Oscar-nominated for sound mixing this year along with “Black Panther,” “First Man,” “Roma” and “A Star Is Born.” In a surprise over heavy-hitters “Incredibles 2” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” Wes [...]

  • Marvelous Mrs Maisel Vice

    'Vice,' 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' Lead Make-Up and Hair Stylists Guild Awards Winners

    Adam McKay’s Dick Cheney biopic “Vice,” starring Oscar nominees Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Sam Rockwell, won two awards at the sixth annual Make-Up and Hair Stylists Guild Awards Saturday night. The film won for best period and/or character makeup as well as special makeup effects. “Mary Queen of Scots” received the prize for period [...]

  • Jussie Smollett Good Morning America

    Jussie Smollett Angrily Denies Complicity in Attack

    Attorneys for “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett issued a statement Saturday denying that he orchestrated his Jan. 29 assault, and saying he is “angered” and “devastated” by recent developments in the case. Chicago police want to interview Smollett, after learning new evidence from two Nigerian brothers who were released on Friday night. Local media outlets have [...]

  • Jussie Smollett Empire

    Chicago Police Want to Talk to Jussie Smollett as New Evidence Emerges

    Chicago police are seeking to re-interview “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett, after new evidence emerged in his alleged assault. Smollett has claimed that two men attacked him at 2 a.m. on Jan. 29, yelled racial and homophobic slurs, poured bleach on him, and put a noose around his neck. The Chicago Police Department has consistently said [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content