Composer Kathryn Bostic (DEAR WHITE PEOPLE, AUGUST WILSON – THE GROUND ON WHICH I STAND) has provided the original music for the Lifetime TV biopic about the first lady of Ruthless Records, recording artist Michel’le. SURVIVING COMPTON: DRE, SUGE & MICHEL’LE premiered last week on October 15, 2016.
About the soundtrack of ‘Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge & Michel’le’
“I was asked to score this now timely biopic with a storytelling quality, that combines orchestral with hip hop, a ‘Hip Hopera’ as I was told,” said Kathryn Bostic. “The film is from the perspective of Michel’le and tells her story being an artist on Ruthless Records. Jaw dropping fantastic and insightful!”
Kathryn Bostic continued that, “this was such a cool and creative way to combine different genres that might not otherwise happen. I found this really appealing because I am always looking for ways to create and think outside a formulaic box. So I got to play around with the edginess of the hip hop vibe of the late 1980’s coming out of Los Angeles, specifically Compton, as well as orchestral elements that create an additional layer of nuance and emotion.”
Bostic was also asked to re-create some of Michel’le ‘s original tracks that would become her hits. “These were used in the score and I brought in an incredible record producer Nils whose instincts to replicate those sounds is spot on. Something In my Heart, No More Lies, and Nicety are just a few examples. She sounds fantastic on these new versions, she’s a really hard worker in the studio and really takes her time – the end result is wonderful. This is a must see movie!”
Celebrated hip-hop recording artist Michel’le will speak up and speak out about the darker side of Compton hip-hop as she narrates the Lifetime Original Movie, SURVIVING COMPTON: DRE, SUGE & MICHEL’LE, based on her life story.
About Composer Kathryn Bostic
Composer and singer/songwriter Kathryn Bostic is known for her work on film, TV and live theater. A member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Music Branch, she is a recipient of many fellowships and awards including the prestigious Sundance/Time Warner Fellowship, the Sundance Fellowship for Feature Film Scoring, BMI Conducting Fellowship, and a 2013 Sundance Fellowship for Documentary Film Scoring that took place at the renowned Skywalker Ranch.
Bostic’s scores can be heard in productions with a lineup of award-winning directors and writers including DEAR WHITE PEOPLE (directed by Justin Simien), which premiered in the Sundance 2014 Film Festival and earned the Best Breakout Talent Award. She was awarded Best Music in a Film by the African American Film Critics Association for her work on the film MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, from award-winning director Ava DuVernay. She also created the score for Ava’s previous films VENUS VS and I WILL FOLLOW. Her recent projects include the PBS American Masterpiece AUGUST WILSON – THE GROUND ON WHICH I STAND (directed by Sam Pollard).
In addition to her work in film, Bostic has written for Broadway, most notably collaborating with the award-winning playwright August Wilson on GEM OF THE OCEAN and various productions of his last play RADIO GOLF. Her work on Broadway also includes BENGAL TIGER AT THE BAGHDAD ZOO starring Robin Williams, written by Pulitzer Prize finalist Rajiv Joseph. She is an Ovation Awards nominee and a Drama Desk nominee for “Outstanding Music in a Play” and her score of music and ambient textures in BENGAL TIGER garnered a win in the Sound Design category for this collaboration as well as a Tony nomination.
Kathryn has toured and/or recorded with many renowned artists including Nas, k.d. Lang, Ryuichi Sakamoto, and David Byrne. She is a founding board member of the Alliance for Women Composers. If you would like to read more about the state of female composers in the entertainment industry you might enjoy our related article on the topic.
About ‘Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge & Michel’le’
Celebrated hip-hop recording artist Michel’le will speak up and speak out about the darker side of Compton hip-hop as she narrates the Lifetime Original Movie, “Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge & Michel’le,” based on her life story, premiering Saturday, October 15 at 8PM ET/PT. The first lady of Ruthless Records, who triumphed over a life riddled with abuse and adversity, is ready to share her story with the world. Produced by Sony Pictures Television and Thinkfactory Media, Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge & Michel’le stars Rhyon Nicole Brown (“Lincoln Heights”) as Michel’le, newcomer Curtis Hamilton as Dr. Dre and R. Marcos Taylor, who reprises his role as Suge Knight after having starred as the music executive in last year’s feature film, “Straight Outta Compton.” Jamie Kennedy (“Scream,” “Malibu’s Most Wanted”) also stars as music manager Jerry Heller.
Discovered at a young age, the shy, squeaky-voiced Michel’le (Brown) was plucked straight from South Central, Los Angeles and catapulted into the spotlight while riding N.W.A.’s rocket ride of early success. Surrounded by industry visionaries from Eazy-E to Tupac Shakur, Michel’le quickly climbed the charts; but, her musical successes were soon overshadowed by betrayal and corruption. A nearly decade-long romance with the infamous Dr. Dre (Hamilton) pushed her into a life tarnished by alcohol, drugs and violence until her savior came in the unlikely form of Suge Knight (Taylor), co-founder of Death Row Records and Dre’s business partner. Friendship would turn into a courtly romance, but the union Michel’le thought they had did not end happily-ever-after. With children from both men and a career to protect, Michel’le’s voice became silenced by Compton’s biggest power players. Until now.
“Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge & Michel’le” is produced for Lifetime by Sony Pictures Television and Thinkfactory Media. Leslie Greif executive produces. The film also furthers Lifetime’s Broad Focus mission of hiring and supporting female creatives behind the camera, with writing by Dianne Houston (Take The Lead), directing by Janice Cooke (“One Tree Hill,” “UnREAL”), costumes by Jonetta Boon (“The Notebook”), casting by Fern Champion (“Hatfields & McCoys”), Leah Daniels (Empire) and Sharon Lieblein (“Million Dollar Quartet”), and composing by Kathryn Bostic (“Dear White People”), among others.
Photo Credit: Kiino Villand