Amanda Jones interview: ‘A Black Lady Sketch Show,’ ‘Good Trouble’ composer
“It’s brought on an onslaught of incredible projects,” reveals composer Amanda Jones about what her groundbreaking Emmy Award nomination last year has done for her career. Sometimes billed as Amanda Delores Patricia Jones, her compositions underscore five shows that are airing this spring alone: “Adventure Time” on HBO Max, “A Black Lady Sketch Show” on HBO, “From Cradle to Stage” on Paramount+, “Good Trouble” on Freeform and “Impact” from National Geographic. She continues in her exclusive interview with Gold Derby (watch the video above), “It’s been a fascinating and incredible exhilarating year.”
Jones’s projects lately have disproportionately featured women both in front of and behind the camera. She explains, “I’m really grateful to be part of this wave that’s happening where there’s just a lot of female creators that are working on some incredible projects that have a ton of visibility. The women that I’ve worked with have been very intentional about their staffing and trying to help break some of those trends that we see where entire departments are all homogenous.”
She elaborates, “It’s so easy when you’re put in a position of power and you have these incredible opportunities just to hold onto it and not mess up, but the women I’ve been working with have been so great about also using their opportunity as a platform to bring other people up, which is so admirable and is pretty fantastic.”
As a co-founder of the Composers Diversity Collective, Jones has taken on a leadership role herself, “to help solve the Hollywood pipeline problem of hiring diverse musical talent.” The organization is “helping break down those barriers of unconscious bias” by mentoring minority musicians, but more importantly by connecting them to studios that are “not exactly sure where to look” when diversifying their rosters.
Nominated in the Best Documentary Music category for “Home” last summer, Jones will be on the Best Series Music ballot this year for both “A Black Lady Sketch Show” and “Good Trouble,” having submitted the season premiere of each for consideration. She contends additionally for Best Music and Lyrics with a “really fun original song” in this week’s episode of “A Black Lady Sketch Show.” She teases, “It’s very Spinal Tap-esque in the sense that we’re making fun of contemporary hip hop.”
Jones took over on “Good Trouble” this year for its third season and set out for the score to become more “of a character” and “very forward in the mix.” She explains with reference to showrunner Joanna Johnson, “She wanted something young and youthful and exciting and bouncy and crazy, but the genre is genre-bending too, so it’s definitely in the indie zone, but then you’ve got hip hop and then you’ve got these experimental vibes and then you’ve got guitars and then you’ve traditional score, so it really run the gamut of all different types of sounds and feelings and textures and it captures all the ranges of feeling of being young and how deeply emotional that is and how dramatic that is, so it’s been really fun experimenting.”