INTERVIEW: Composer Genevieve Vincent Scores Broken Hearts Gallery

Romantic comedy Broken Hearts Gallery starring Geraldine Viswanathan (Bad Education) and produced by Selena Gomez is warming the hearts of viewers worldwide, and plucking those sonic heartstrings is composer Genevieve Vincent.

Broken Hearts Gallery tells Lucy’s (Geraldine Viswanathan) story, a young woman living in New York. Lucy’s dumped, and the art gallery assistant decides to turn pain into art. She creates an exhibit of souvenirs made from those who broke her heart. Director and writer Natalie Krinsky’s film has charm, wit, and great ratings from viewers and critics.

PopAxiom spoke with Genevieve about becoming a musician, making music for the band darkDARK, and creating the Broken Hearts Gallery‘s score.

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Starting Out

“I started violin when I was three,” Genevieve says, meaning that music and life are practically the same. “I always loved music and making music.”

Genevieve grew up in Vancouver and “took music lessons for singing and opera. I didn’t last too long on the violin because it wasn’t for me. I wrote songs and was in a couple of bands before going to Berklee College of Music.”

“I never thought what I was doing before Berklee was composing,” Genevieve admits, “even though I was writing songs all the time. I had this idea in my head that composing was Beethoven or Mozart and what I was doing was messing around.”

“At Berklee, I had a teacher named Alla Elana Cohen, who was a fantastic pianist. I would write these pieces that I would want to hear her play. I’d give them to her after class. She was the one who said ‘You have to major in composition.'”

“Film scoring seemed like the perfect fit. My mom worked in animation, so I was always around that. Music to picture just made so much sense. I scored my first short film in college.”

The short, animated film called Yellow Sticky Notes went to the Tribeca Film Festival. “Doing that and going to see it in the theater solidified my choice.”

“I’m so excited every time.” Genevieve says when asked about her life creating music, her sunshine-like energy crosses the cellphone network, “It’s crazy to me. I can’t believe I’m doing this as a job.”

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About Broken Hearts Gallery

Genevieve’s gig on the Broken Hearts Gallery came about via a pitch. “I put some music together … that would be in this diverse multi-genre realm.”

“I sent some stuff over, even before I had any representation, and just forgot about it,” Genevieve says. “Later on, a producer contacted me, and she said they liked my music and if I’d be interested in reading a script.”

Genevieve read the script and “loved it and the way that the characters were written. Natalie’s writing style is so relatable.”

Following reading the script, Genevieve “got on the phone with Natalie and pitched her the idea of a score that’s somewhere between a pop song and a film score.”

“So, the score I pitched Natalie,” Genevieve affirms, “was this combination of drum machines and synths and strings. So it’s very much a hybrid score.”

“Living in the world of Lucy,” Genevieve says, “I put myself in her shoes and the way her world sounds. She’s in the world of indie music, and we need to give the music some gravitas from the New York landscape and use some strings and orchestral sounds. But we also need to pay homage to who Lucy is, and she’s someone who I think would like an 808 or an analog synth.”

Genevieve dives deeper into Lucy. “A character like Lucy is so well-rounded and, in my mind, when I’m exploring her world, I’m trying to bring out the subtleties in her personality. I’m going to put these handmade percussion sounds because she has all these handmade things around her. I’m trying to comment on the different aspects of her personality and what she is into.”

More About Broken Hearts Gallery

Genevieve says she “went to Technicolor to screen the film. It was so cool.” And she began work on a demo. “I wrote a three-and-a-half-minute montage.”

To get the music made, Genevieve made an investment. “I needed a couple of synths that I don’t have. I went and picked up what I needed. They were expensive, and I wasn’t sure if I could keep them,” she laughs.

“I spent the night learning these synths,” Genevieve says, “and I wrote some demos with them.”

Selena Gomez and the other creative minds behind Broken Hearts Gallery were pleased with Genevieve’s work. “The demos were a hit, and I got the gig. The day they told me that I got the gig, I was on cloud nine.”

And the best part? “I got to keep the synths!” Genevieve cheers.

“Anytime that I can, I try to go the extra mile,” Genevieve says in regards to the synths. “Once a movie or demo or anything is out there, it’s permanent. You want to make sure that you’re proud of it. So, if you can, spend a little extra on that piece of gear.”

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Solving Problems

One of the first questions Genevieve asks of any project is: “What’s the closest and easiest solution? Once you have that as a backup plan, what’re the other things we can do that could be more interesting?”

“I love problem-solving on big and small scales,” Genevieve says. “So, I have this much time to get the score done. I have this much writing to do. The planning is part of the fun. It’s this Rubik’s Cube. When I’m on a project and dialed in on the tone with the creators, I lock in on everything that I can do within my control. Then I get to be zen and not worry too much because everything is planned out.”

Often, planning brings about learning entirely new things. “I was working on a film called Because We Are Girls. They asked me to use a Dilruba, which is an Indian instrument.”

“It was a little bit like a cello,” Genevieve says about the Dilruba, “in terms of like the tambor of it. It plays a lot of microtones that have a lot of personality. I put out on Facebook, ‘Do I know any Dilruba players?’ I found one guy, and we got on the phone. A lot of traditional players don’t read music, though he did, but it’s difficult to annotate music for a Dilruba.”

Reading music is unnecessary when both people can speak music. “I worked with a violinist. He didn’t read music either, and being a singer has been super-helpful. I can sing what I want to hear, and we sort of talk in music.”

Wrapping Up

Genevieve is a creative force who’s driven to create music early and often. “I do a lot of concert music, I’m in a band, and I generally do a lot of writing outside of scoring.”

“Sometimes you create something that you think is amazing, and someone hears it and doesn’t get it,” Genevieve says, but creating art is a peculiar thing. “Sometimes, you spend five minutes on something, and people love it.”

The question of artists who inspire comes up, and Genevieve has a lot to say. “Phillip Glass. I love Danny Elfman, Hildur Guðnadóttir, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Nina Simone, Billy Holliday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Nat King Cole. Bill Evans, and the way he combines jazz and classical. Growing up, I listened to a lot of jazz. I’d memorize the songs and the solos. I was a singer, so I memorized everything Ella Fitzgerald did.”

It’s not just the old-school stuff that gets Genevieve excited. “I also love Kendrick Lamar. Pusha-T and The Weekend.”

“Bjork and the Cocteau Twins. Enya,” three new answers pop out and more, “as a composer and musician, there are so many artists … Frank Ocean, Lana DelRey, she’s so unique. I love pop music. I’ll listen to the entire Top 40.”

Genevieve exclaims, “Megan, the Stallion, her voice, it reminds me of thick syrup. I love it!”

You expect a composer to spout off a lot of classical musicians. But there’s no end to the kind of music that inspires Genevieve to create. “I think what I love about pop music and hip hop, there’s a lot of humor in it, and people are having fun. They’re putting across good energy. I respond to people who want to make music to make other people happy.”

“I’ll dive into an old Smashing Pumpkins record,” Genevieve continues, “or Nirvana. I love grunge too.”

“I listen to pretty much everything all the time.”

What’s a dream remake that Genevieve would love to score? “Alien. The whole series. I would do them all,” we expand on the fantasy, “Christopher Nolan directs it.”

Genevieve adds, “Apocalypse Now is one of my all-time favorite films. Vertigo.”

Broken Hearts Gallery is making its rounds at drive-ins and will be available digitally soon. So, what’s next for Genevieve? “I am working on a thriller. I cannot say who it’s for. The music is all synth. It’s very much a wild, aggressive, dark, psychedelic score. It’s super-fun. I’ve written about 48 minutes so far, and there’s going to be about 70 minutes of score.”

Is Broken Hearts Gallery on your watch list?

Thanks to Genevieve Vincent and Rhapsody PR
for making this interview possible.

Want to read more interviews? CLICK HERE.

Ruben Diaz
Ruben Diaz
Writer, film-fanatic, geek, gamer, info junkie & consummate Devil's advocate who has been fascinated by Earth since 1976. Classically trained in the ways of the future.