The music business has been forever changed. The leading indicator of this is prominent when you ask any musical artist what they most desire. In the past there was not a hint of hesitation in their response of “a record deal.” However, these days it’s all about sync placement. The use of an artist’s song in a TV or film production can literally manifest instant promotional booms and massive downloads. This makes music supervisors like Dondrea Erauw among the most powerful people in the music industry, which is ironic because they are technically considered to be members of the TV and film world as well. It’s sometimes hard to find the delineation in Erauw’s professional skills as she is deeply embedded in the music world but uses this knowledge in visual entertainment fields. Executive Producer Shawn Piller is highly aware and happy when it comes to Dondrea’s skill set as it has greatly benefited his Entertainment One series “Private Eyes” a Canadian series airing in multiple countries around the globe (France, Italy, Hungary and the USA). The crime series starring Jason Priestly and Cindy Sampson has two highly successful seasons as it enters 2018. One of the popular traits of “Private Eyes” is the integration of music, courtesy of Ms. Erauw. Piller professes, “Dondrea has worked on both seasons. Her supervision and taste has helped to shape the music DNA of the show. She meticulously searches for music that fits the style our show and she’s dedicated to highlighting up-and-coming artists within the local Toronto music scene as well as across all of Canada and the United States.”
In the preproduction that precedes each season, Erauw meets with the writers, editors, and post supervisor of “Private Eyes” to get a sense of the plot lines, emotions, and musical needs to augment what she has taken from the scripts she has read. She cultivates playlists for these production heads to assess their preferences in terms of emotional conveyance for plot points and scenes. Featured music as well as source music (the background music you might hear but can’t clearly identify) is all a part of this process. When a specific song is desired, it’s up to Dondrea to obtain clearance. Negotiating fees with licensors (master and publishing owners) and deal memos must all take place before the score and licensed music can be locked into each episode. The process continues for her into the very final stages of each episode as it concerns cue-sheets, screen credits for songs, etc.
With all of this constant multi-tasking in the periphery, you might wonder how much of Dondrea’s work gets its due prominence. Rest assured, the first and perhaps most recognized part of this program is the work she did procuring the show’s theme song. The process was involved and eventually quite rewarding for many people. The producers of the series wanted the rights to the classic/original Hall & Oates version of “Private Eyes.” The use of the original version would greatly impact the budget of the show and with this in mind, Erauw made the suggestion that they consider finding a talented up & coming Canadian band to record a cover version of it. The financial impact would be less and it would allow the Canadian TV production to shine a light on the country’s budding music talent as well. Vancouver duo, Dear Rouge was unanimously chosen from numerous artists and Dondrea brokered the deal for the rights to record the song from BMG, Warner/Chappell and Universal Music Publishing. This included worldwide rights, in perpetuity, all media (stream and downloadable within all episodes), all DVD and excluding theatrical rights. This work by Erauw vetted her as much more than someone with an instinctual ability to hear intriguing music and artists.
The creative team as “Private Eyes” is very proud of the “Canadian-ness” of the series and the recording of the theme song by a musical group from their own homeland helped deepen this. Dondrea created a template for the music of the series which presented the very best and current artists which Canada has to offer. This of course began with Dear Rouge. Dear Rouge recorded their cover version of “Private Eyes” at Echoplant Recording Studios in Coquitlam, British Columbia with producer/engineer Ryan Stewart. Dondrea attended the three-day recording session (8-10 hours per day) accompanied by a videography crew. The recording process was edited into a three-minute promotional clip to help promote the show before its initial airing.
Season 1, episode 5 “The Six” featured Toronto hip-hop artist King Reign performing to one of his songs on set. It also featured a guest appearance by Juno Award winner Kardinal Offishall. Dondrea ensured that the playback process for King Reign’s performance went smoothly on set as well as making sure that director Charles Officer got the takes he wanted from the artist. Sadly, not long after that, King Reign passed away after falling into a coma resulting from a heart attack. Erauw’s effort to increase visibility to this noted artist, made the episode exponentially more poignant for King Reign’s fans and for fans of the show.
Sometimes Dondrea went further than the country’s borders to find the proper music…much further. For “The Good Solider” (Season 2, episode 9), she was required to find a K-pop (Korean pop) band. The music supervisor discovered a massive up-&-coming K-Pop group called 4Minute who were charting heavily in South Korea and just embarking on a North American tour. Dondrea readily admits that the world of K-pop is much different than what is found in Canada and the US; delving into this new territory for her, allowed a widening of her already impressive music palette.
We’re often told from an early age that you can either be artistically minded or practically minded. You’re either structured or free-spirited. Professionals in the entertainment industry like Dondrea Erauw, disprove this concept on a daily basis. As a music supervisor, she must understand and even anticipate the taste of music lovers while simultaneously always having the big picture of budget and deadlines of the production in her mindset. As a musician herself, she intimately understands the incredible benefits of what she can do for the career of artists. Erauw also understand that the music must always fit the emotional tone of the storyline of “Private Eyes.” Steeped with a foot in each world, Dondrea helps with sound and imagery to affect an audience who loves both.