The Underscore: Lyric House

The Underscore: Behind the custom music of ESPN

Welcome back to ESPN The Underscore. It’s time to kick off the new year with a bang of an interview with Jessica Cole (Founder and President) and Patrick Clancy (Director of Music and Creative) from Lyric House. Lyric House is a music licensing and publishing company that ESPN has had the pleasure of working with on a variety of projects. Keep reading for the Lyric House story!

Tell us a little bit about Lyric House and how it all came to be.

Jessica: Lyric House started in 2012 in Denver, Colorado. I had just moved back to Denver after living in Nashville and soon after my move back, I was seeking that same sense of songwriting community that I felt when I was in Nashville. A few years prior, I had received my bachelor's degree in Music Industry Studies from the University of Colorado at Denver, so I knew the city well and was very familiar with the music scene. Being a songwriter myself, it was important to me to combine my passion for songwriting and creative with the business side, so I decided to start a music publishing company. I saw a need at the time that wasn’t being fulfilled in the city, so it really lit a fire within me. The catalog began with amazing musicians and bands from Denver and within the first year, we branched out of Colorado and started signing artists from all over the world. About 2 years in, I had been going back and forth from Denver to Los Angeles every few weeks to have more face time with our music supervisor clientele. Traveling back and forth as much as I did was quite exhausting so in 2014, we officially made the decision to move Lyric House to Los Angeles and opened our office in Hollywood. Now almost 10 years since inception, we have an incredible roster of over 300 + artists and songwriters from all over the world and thousands of TV/ Film, Trailers, Promos & Ads placements.

You work very closely with your writers. Can you tell us about your creative process and approach when working with writers for them to create at their highest potential?

Jessica: I collaborate on a weekly basis with our writers. I’m constantly in writing sessions, either helping shape a song, giving briefs and creative ideas, or co-writing songs. When I’m actually writing in a session as a co-writer, I am “songwriter Jess” versus “CEO Jess.” I am able to fluidly live between both worlds, which is exactly what I set out to do from the beginning. My favorite part of collaboration with my fellow writers/producers is coming up with ideas for songs or starting a new artist project that brings something brand new to the table that we might not yet have on our roster. Maybe it’s a vibe, element, theme, or fusing different sounds together that are super interesting and cool and might not have been done before. I’m always up for that challenge and totally welcome it. I also love to pair our writers together and figure out who would work best in a room based on each of their strengths and uniqueness. I like to push my writers to try new things and go beyond the scope of what they are used to and think outside the box. I’m just a highly creative individual so I’m constantly thinking of ideas, writing, doing some sort of art form or thinking of new ways to do things. My creative team is very hands-on with our writers as well - constantly in communication on new briefs and ideas, setting them up in sessions, etc. It’s a perfect balance between all of us.

Patrick: I can’t wait for us to finally get back to in-person writing camps. That’s when you get to see everyone on the team light up and create these amazing moments together.

What are some projects you’ve worked on that you’re most proud of and why?

Jessica: This is a hard question (in a good way!). There have been so many projects we’ve been so proud to work on. Here are a few of my favorites that we’ve been a part of:

  • Kingsman trailer with an incredible mash up with The Who & Apashe
  • The Raya and the Dragon trailer had two of our songs in it which is always awesome
  • Emily in Paris S2 trailer which also had two of our songs in it
  • The Space Jam campaign because well, it’s Space Jam!
  • GI Joe: Snake Eyes - was an awesome action-packed usage of a Vo Williams x Kid Something epic hip hop song
  • Fortnite trailers - we’ve had the pleasure of landing a number of Fortnite trailers and the fandom for music is just amazing to watch!
  • HBO’s Euphoria is such a cool show to be a part of!
  • Jungleland trailer with “Something Real” by Wave System - which has been nominated and won some very prestigious awards (Clio’s, Music Supervisor Awards) for Best Music!
  • Some recent Jeep and Hyundai ads that were super cool usages of Zayde Wolf and SWWARMS

There are so many more but just to name a few fun ones to mention.

Patrick: Just to add to what Jess listed - we’ve even had the honor of getting promos on The Rock’s social media a few times now with our music, most recently promoting his new energy drink. That was exciting, just given that it’s The Rock! Another one that was awesome was the major Apple TV+ brand spot that exclusively featured Apashe’s “Dead”. It was an outstanding cut. We love looking for any and all opportunities for our artists, but getting to work on all of these shows and marketing campaigns that help shape pop culture is pretty wild. That’s the one thing all of these favorite placements have in common.

Can you tell us about the projects you’ve worked on with ESPN?

We’ve worked on a bunch of great spots with ESPN! To name a few: Formula One promo, ACC Men’s College Basketball, ACC Lacrosse Championship Promo and 2021 US OPEN Tennis. We’ve even included one of ESPN’s music leads to participate in our last virtual writer’s camp. The track she collaborated on ended up placing with ESPN about a month later!

During the pandemic, did you have to make any adjustments to keep the energy flowing?

Patrick: Keeping the energy flowing was definitely our #1 priority! We knew that if we lost that creative momentum within our team and our writers/producers/artists it would be hard to get back and we couldn’t rely on getting that next project or upcoming show when everything was up in the air for those first few weeks/months. We weren’t going to let this pandemic keep us from doing the thing we loved; creating music and nurturing our artists. I remember that first day that we started working from home - Jess, myself (Patrick), and the team talked at length about this and came up with a new goal; to have an insane amount of new songs ready to go by the time things started back up! So, two weeks into the lockdown, we started our first completely virtual writers camp and paired almost every writing group with a music supervisor to give some creative insight. Six months later, we maintained an average of 3-5 sessions a week and over 100 tracks which led to a bunch of great placements. On top of that, the supervisors kept coming back for more virtual camps! They loved being involved in something creative while waiting for their next project to start back up and fostered a new sense of community in isolation. It’s something we regularly look back on and feel a great sense of pride knowing we met a seemingly impossible situation and made the best of it!

Do you all have any advice for fellow young creatives and entrepreneurs with big dreams?

Stay focused, stay curious, use your intuition and follow a path you are passionate about. Meet as many people as possible in your prospective field. Find a mentor, ask questions, be helpful, be a good team player. Master your craft, embrace failure as an experience to learn and grow and don’t give up. It might seem like platitudes, but if you really focus on each of those words of advice you’ll find how truly life-changing they can be!

Any sports loyalties?

Jessica: For Baseball, I’m a Yankees fan - My dad is from NY and so is my husband, so I’ve been quite immersed in the Yankees for a while! Our VP, Jonathan Lapides is a HUGE Yankees fan, beyond my capacity to love any team lol. For Basketball, I’ve always been a Nuggets fan since I grew up in Colorado and enjoyed going to games with my family.

Patrick: I was born and raised in Long Beach, CA (go Ice Dogs!) so I have an affinity towards my home teams Dodgers/Lakers/Kings. The Rams are starting to grow on me, but they still feel like an estranged relative that left when you were a kid and now wants to be back in your life 20 years later, haha. Time heals all wounds.

What’s new on the docket for you in 2022 and where can people find you?

We have so many exciting projects in the works for this year. Our label side is releasing a bunch of new albums and introducing brand new artists to the world that we are super excited about. Keep an ear out for artists like Pep Squad, King Hawkins, Lavance Colley, lunaluxe, and more! Follow us on @lyrichouseLA on Instagram to keep up with all our new releases and placements!

Big thanks to Jessica and Patrick from Lyric House for kicking off the new year right on ESPN The Underscore! Be sure to keep an ear out for their great music.

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