HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 03: (L-R) Sarah Bromberg, Brandee Evans, Nicco Annan and J. Alphonse Nicholson attend IndieWire's Consider This Event: Television 2023 at NeueHouse Hollywood on June 03, 2023 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Phillip Faraone/IndieWire via Getty Images)

See how the ‘P-Valley’ team opened doors for local musicians

When “P-Valley” debuted on Starz in July 2020, it was immediately clear that the Katori Hall strip club drama offered something we hadn’t seen on television before. The deeply nuanced depictions of sex work and intricately choreographed pole dance sequences have garnered rave reviews for the series, but few elements have been talked about more than the music. The enthralling soundtrack was filled with Southern hip-hop and trap music that underscored the show’s poetic writing with endlessly catchy ears and provided the dancers with a perfect canvas for their art form.

When it came time to start selecting music for season 2, the team was inundated with artists asking to have their songs released. But rather than use the show’s newfound prestige as an excuse to be more exclusive, they decided to cast a wider net. Appearing on a panel at IndieWire’s Consider This Event in Los Angeles on June 3, alongside actors Nicco Annan, Brandee Evans and J. Alphonse Nicholson, “P-Valley” music supervisor Sarah Bromberg acknowledged that the massive influx of interest for his show came with challenges. But Hall’s commitment to inclusivity and authenticity ensured they never stopped looking for ways to include artists who accurately reflected the communities the show portrays.

“I get asked all the time, when people find out I work for ‘P-Valley,’ ‘Oh, I’ve got the perfect song for you, let me send it to you,'” said Bromberg. “I get random emails all the time in my inbox.”

But the unsolicited musical submissions the show receives pale in comparison to the steps Hall and Bromberg took to ensure Mississippi artists had official channels for their music to be considered for the show.

“One thing that Katori did that was so amazing for season 2 was that she actually called artists from Mississippi and the South to submit their music,” she said. “Because in season 1 she had some feedback that there were some artists coming that weren’t included in the zone, and she took that to heart. In fact, she has made it possible for everyone to submit their own music. And I’m telling you, we went through every single song that was submitted and a lot of them ended up in season two.

While the trap songs might be the most memorable part of the soundtrack, the cast made it clear that the show is successful because the music department balances it with other genres. Nicco Annan, who plays Uncle Clifford, owner of The Pynk, pointed out that the entire score tells a story that can stand on its own.

“Many times people come to this concert thinking they must have trap music, or they must have a certain club music. But then they actually watch this show and listen to Valerie June, so something very folky and bluesy. Because that’s also the southern sound,” Annan said. “And I think people realize that there are all kinds of music and all kinds of genres help tell the story. actually get a musical.You get the storylines of all the characters and the internal monologues, and I think that’s really cool.

Of course, the prevalence of great songs on “P-Valley” only makes it more apparent when the show chooses to turn the music off. In a memorable scene from Season 2, the music cuts out as Brandee Evans’ Mercedes is in the middle of a dance. Evans praised the creative decision, explaining that she allowed the audience to acknowledge the uncomfortable realities that music sometimes masks.

“When you go to a club and you see people dancing, you don’t hear the grunts or the creaking knees. The hands, the scars that are still on my legs today,” Evans said. “The real stuff that is actually happening, and I think we show that on P-Valley. Kudos to Katori for letting you listen.

As fun as it is to talk about music, the cast has emphasized that all audio choices are made in service of the larger story. J. Alphonse Nicholson, who plays rapper Lil Murda on the show, explained that using the music and drama to authentically represent Southern strip club culture on the show is the same reward as him.

“It’s just amazing to be able to be on this screen and see you enjoy what some people have never experienced a day in their life,” said Nicholson. “Some people have never been to a strip club, some people have never been to Mississippi, but now you get a very authentic description of what’s on this screen.”

Nicholson also had very first-hand experience with a local musician.

“There is a short story about Katori who only trusted the locals. One of the guys that creates the music for Lil Murda, his name is Antoine, but we call him New Money,” Nicholson said. “He was a chef at ‘P-Valley’, a restaurateur. He was a member of the crew. stopped as I was walking by and said ‘Hey, Alphonse, I’m a rapper and I want to write for Lil Murda. I said ‘Bro, rap for me, I’m going to make a video and send it to Katori.’ So I recorded a video of this guy who was just a chef at the time. He loves it, he takes it off the chef line and puts it in the writers room, and now he’s a writer for Lil Murda.

Watch IndieWire’s full Consider This Event panel above.

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