“YES! I love independent artists. There are some really reputable 3rd party licensing companies that represent only indie artists. I would suggest artists seek out these companies and seek out opportunities.”
Picking the right songs for movies is not easy, and nobody knows this better than Warner Brothers Films’ VP of Music, Niki Sherrod. In this exclusive interview, we learn how she does it.
Tell us where you’re from and what inspired you to pursue a career in music?
I was born in a small town south of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. My dad ran a record store that my great-grandfather & grandfather opened in 1961. It was called Gascon’s Record Shop. My mom, grandmother & great-grandmother worked there and, my sister and I would hang out there after school and on some weekends. I remember when we got Michael Jackson’s Thriller in the store; we could barely keep it in stock. People started coming in with jheri curls and wearing one glittery glove. [laughs] It felt like a movement. I loved my 45s and waiting to hear my favorite song on the radio so that I could record it on my portable cassette player. My mom plays piano & guitar and, she would play piano and I’d sit next to her and we’d sing old blues songs, as well as songs from the 30s & 40s. My sister and I loved dancing around and being silly while she played. My parents played all different types of records; from Cat Stevens to Led Zeppelin, to Tchaikovsky. Music was all around me. I continued to seek it out and be inspired by it.
What was your first professional job in the industry and, how did that come about?
I worked as a temp receptionist in CAA’s Nashville office. At the time they were primarily responsible for booking country tours. I ended up becoming an assistant for one of the agents and later transferred to CAA’s LA office and worked as an assistant for a motion picture talent agent. From that job, I landed a job as an assistant at Atlantic Records in the soundtrack department; later working with all the Warner Music Group labels.
What are your responsibilities as the VP of Music at Warner Bros. Pictures?
When I get assigned a project, I am responsible for overseeing all things related to music. That means everything from budgeting to scoring, finding songs to licensing, deciding if the project warrants an outside supervisor to booking recording sessions, etc. My job also includes managing expectations between filmmakers & the studio, and making sure everyone is on the same page about where we are creatively and financially.