Music supervisors Sarah Bromberg and Stephanie Diaz-Matos put together the show’s soundtrack, and turned to series stars J. Alphonse Nicholson and Loretta Devine, as well as Beyoncé and Megan Thee Stallion, to curate the anthems of Brandee Evans’ Mercedes. , Elarica Johnson’s Autumn Night and Nicco Annan’s Uncle Clifford.
Here, Bromberg and Diaz-Matos describe how they took down Beyoncé and others. needle drop for the second season of the series.
“Way Back” by Enchanting
Bromberg: Enchanting’s “Way Back” began as “Dance Song 4”, a synopsis of an original song written by producer Ian Olympio and showrunner and music supervisor Katori Hall. Katori and Ian write these incredible summaries for our original music with extraordinary detail and background, and this synopsis was about a fairy tale gone wrong. Cinderella finds Prince Charming and turns out to be a monster, so she says “Damn, I’m doing this on my own”.
This is Keyshawn’s story in Episode 5, which is approached like a fairy tale. At the time of writing the synopsis, Katori received a kick from producer Hitkidd which perfectly summed up Keyshawn’s surreal fairy tale story. We sent the attack along with the briefing to the Atlantic, hoping Kehlani could jump. Atlantic’s Kristy Gibson came back to let us know when Kehlani was unavailable, they’ve signed this amazing upcoming rapper with Gucci Mane’s label Enchanting. We’re always open to hearing new sounds at “P-Valley,” so we said keep it up.
Enchanting absolutely killed the briefing. He hit all the story points with the lyrics – if you read them, you’ll see Keyshawn’s story come to life in a song. She really spoke at that moment. The texture of his voice also worked really well for the piece. We all loved it right away and felt that our wonderful choreographer, Jamaica Craft, got to work preparing the Miss Mississippi dance. The way it all comes together is a truly special moment that only “P-Valley” can create.
“7/11” by Beyonce
Bromberg: “7/11” was a song written by Katori to the script.
Early in the season, this is a crucial moment for Mercedes as they dance. He gives his shoulder and we see him fall from the pole during a magnificent dance. Both rhythmically and lyrically, this song was just right. He has the kind of movement that works well for our dance numbers, and lyrically he talks about his body, including his shoulder, which is a harbinger of what’s to come. He also perfectly booked our final performance trick, “Seven Pounds of Pressure”, where Mercedes made a triumphant return to the pole after their fall.
The song was so appropriate for the moment that we knew from the early stages of Season 2 that we had to include it in the series. For Season 1, we tried to clear a Beyoncé song. It’s very difficult to acquit great artists for an unrooted show; there is no view of the quality of the content when reduced to a diary line and a scene description. After all, we weren’t able to clean up the Beyoncé song in Season 1.
The caliber of the show is now known to the world. The show was incredibly well received. We went for another Beyoncé endorsement and this time we were returning with a yes. Katori wrote a beautiful letter to the Queen explaining the context of this scene and the significance of this song at that moment, and we all held our breath for several weeks until this confirmation came.
“Seven Pound Print” by Lil Murda
Diaz-Matos: “Seven Pounds of Pressure” was a song that would complement Lil Murda’s (J. Alphonse Nicholson) story and debut in the final episode directed by Katori Hall. This song was intended to be part confession, part social commentary and a club banger. At first, when Katori brought us the concept, it seemed impossible to achieve all this in one song. We had to recap carefully, recognizing that we were sharing top-secret story points to get the best possible song.
Fortunately, Nikki Marshall hooked up with the team of producers and songwriters who gave us a solid first pass. We sat with this song for less than a year, changed some things, added a hyperlink, and brought in Antoine Moore, one of our key collaborators in writing the lyrics to sound like Murda’s voice. Collectively, we all felt a great responsibility to get this song right, and I remember texting Katori the premiere night of the episode. We essentially crossed our fingers, holding our breath, hoping that people would react positively to this. It was so satisfying to watch the Twitter verse go on and really get all the layers of what we were saying in the song and the whole sequence that Katori so masterfully put together and slayed in Murda and Mercedes’ performances.
“Until You Return to Me” by Ernestine
Diaz-Matos: Episode 7 opens with Ernestine (Loretta Devine) performing on stage for decades. We see the club evolve around him from the 1960s to the 1980s, and the song eventually comes to the present day. This version of “Until You Come Back to Me” performed by Aretha Franklin but written by Stevie Wonder has always been written to the script. It was a must-have for Katori and episode writers Ian Olympio and Nina Stiefel, although we struggled for weeks to get it straight.
As we approached filming the extremely highly choreographed three-day scene, we easily considered over 50 other songs for this point. But none of them told the same tale of unwavering commitment in the same way. We’re nothing if not stubborn about “P-Valley,” and we’ve left no stone unturned to reach Stevie. To connect with Stevie’s team, Ian called an agent friend at CAA he had worked with in the mailroom almost a decade ago. He knew a manager who was friends with Stevie’s ex-wife who loved the show and strengthened our demand. Stevie read a personal letter from Katori and watched the show, became a fan and gave her personal blessing just two days before Loretta entered the booth.
Our composer, Matthew Head, masterfully reflects the change in instrumental by producing the vocals and backing tracks. The last track was sung by Loretta at 1.5x and shot in slow motion to give the scene a dreamy feel.