For those Americans who went to college, freshman year is the first time they experience a taste of prolonged freedom away from their families and set off on the path to full-fledged adulthood (and possibly, ill-advised drinking escapades). The depth of education, the social mecca that is the dormitory, and of course, college sporting events are all commonly discussed ingredients of a freshman experience.
For myself (and probably a lot of fellow freshies), freshman year was also marked by something rather unique to the time period – the ability to, for the first time, stream endless hours of television and movies thanks to Netflix. The term ‘binge-watching’ wasn’t even in my vernacular back then. And as I watched three, four, or even ten episodes back to back to back, I felt I had the opportunity to notice more details than I would had each episode been broken up by commercials or the 168 hours that pass between weekly network time slots.
More television shows are being produced now than ever in the history of the medium, and they’re being watched at an increasingly frequent pace. With this increase in both the supply and demand of quality (and, sometimes not so quality) television, we as consumers have grown to expect not just triple-A acting and production, but pristine soundscapes to accompany the visuals we see. From The Simpsons to Breaking Bad to Stranger Things, every great show needs a proper soundtrack on par with the quality of content they bring to the screen. These shows wouldn’t be the same without their music, but so often, audiences are left in the dark about who creates the catchy, emotionally-compelling and vast soundscapes we so fondly enjoy. It’s time to pull back the curtain on one artist who’s responsible for some of those official binge-watching soundtracks .
Throughout the greater portion of the past decade, guitarist, vocalist and singer-songwriter Javier Busquet has been making waves throughout the film and television industries thanks in no small part to his almost unnatural repertoire. Busquet is well-known for his diverse musical abilities. His music can be heard in popular award-winning shows acclaimed for their musical excellence, such ABC’s “The Bachelor” and “Dancing with the Stars.” Other major productions he has worked on include the soundtrack for the 2011 Swedish war film Beyond the Borders (Swedish: Gränsen), recipient of a Guldbagge Award, which is considered to be the highest award in film in Sweden.
The transition from producing solo projects and playing local performances to recording for one of the most watched series in American television doesn’t develop overnight. Technical savvy with an instrument can only take an individual so far. As Busquet puts it, ““You have to get familiar with the fact that you can’t please everybody, which in the arts I find to be particularly true, since everyone has different music tastes. If you try to appeal to everyone, you won’t be original and end up with a bland result, when you’re true sound would probably bring the type of audience you want anyway.” Perhaps this dedication to the authenticity of his music is why Busquet has come to be pursued by industry professionals on both songs and for the screen within an industry where nearly everyone is yearning for exposure, just trying to grab their slice of the pie.
While Busquet’s foundation hasn’t altered, he has undoubtedly increased his musical arsenal due to collaborations with numerous musicians from around the world. He is a longtime collaborator of renowned Colombian singer Ana Maria Villa Pico, who was featured in 2012 on “The Voice of Columbia.” Additionally, he has also recorded with globally touring artists Julen the Human and Jesse Mendez. For most musicians, high profile gigs of the caliber in Busquet’s career may seem like a longshot at first, shrouded in some form of mystery that only the luckiest and most tenacious of artists can solve. This is partially true in that ambition and tenacity is necessary as a musician, but even Busquet wouldn’t be recording across the globe if it wasn’t for those early networking experiences. “At first it’s usually better to take as many gigs as possible, even if that means playing a show with music you don’t necessarily like,” advises Busquet. “That opportunity could lead to meeting other musicians and employers who might have work for stuff that you do like in the future.”
Busquet’s own future holds exciting opportunities in 2018, but the internationally renowned musician certainly has his work cut out for him. He was selected to perform the lead role on the upcoming Broadway musical production of The Lion, the critically acclaimed musical memoir and Drama Desk Award-winning piece that has redefined the genre of musical theatre. The audition was debatably the pinnacle of his musical endeavors up to that point — a chance to propel his career to new heights of stardom. “In February of last year I submitted my first video audition playing the song with the most challenging guitar piece of the show, and didn’t hear back for a while,” Busquet recalls. “After about two months of sending material they said they wanted to have a final in-person audition at New York. I was definitely nervous while waiting to be called in, hearing so many incredible singers from outside the door and knowing we were all competing for the same part, but the anxiety stopped as soon as I walked in and started playing.” These moments in an artist’s career can make or break one’s trajectory because consistent collaboration and work is largely built on momentum. This is why major films are so often composed by only a handful of composers, such as Hans Zimmer. Once the momentum starts rolling, it is tough to slow down, as fans are able to easily voice their opinion in regard to music choices made for a production.
None of his recent success comes as a surprise to Busquet, who has already held coveted positions as a recording artist for FineTune music, the music provider for some of America’s highest rated television shows. He will likely continue to gain the respect of collaborators and influence the ears of audiences both in the States and around the world through his work on the soundtrack for the upcoming feature-length Swedish film “Min Nya Granne” (My New Neighbor). “Music is the one thing that I can say for sure transcends the cultural barriers in society,” states Busquet. “The important thing is to discern what the music is trying to convey and be quick since there’s strict deadlines for submissions, and to write and record a part that aids that certain feeling, rather than trying to ‘show off’ your ability, which can potentially get in the way.” Busquet understands that as viewers, we aren’t looking for the most technically stunning and complicated soundtracks — we just want something that reinforces the story and sway our emotions with the strike of a note.
Musicians put blood, sweat and tears into their craft just to get a chance at creating official soundtracks to professional productions. It is no wonder that we, as viewers, so rarely get a glimpse of these individuals — they are too busy constructing the sonic environment of the next great show for us to binge-watch.