We're thrilled to welcome avid mixtape maker, cat-lover and unabashed early catalog Pearl Jam fan, Jackie Westfall, as a Music Licensing Creative on the Marmoset team.
Having cut her teeth at her college’s local radio station, as a rock reporter for a local magazine and as a record store manager, it was only a matter of time before Jackie fell into music supervision. Before landing at Marmoset, she worked as a music coordinator at the music supervision company, Walker, for a year -- where she helped license for two Noah Baumbach films (While We’re Young and Mistress America) and pitched on a variety of projects. Following this, she became a Program Specialist for MyMusicRx, a program of Children’s Cancer Association focused on delivering joy and music medicine to the kids and teens who need it most.
We chatted with Jackie about her past experience, her favorite part of Creative Licensing, and what song she would choose if she could only listen to one song forever. Enjoy and if you see her around the studio, make sure to say hello and give her a high five!
Tell us about some of your past experience. When did you know you wanted to be a music supervisor? Why?
In my very small, rural high school, we had a low-rent TV network that we produced footage for a daily morning newscast. Each student was supposed to take a position for 2 weeks and then switch. There was someone who did camera, another who was an on-air anchor, someone behind the scenes, someone who edited and someone who did music. I only did music and editing and refused to switch with anyone. I got temporarily banned for playing Nine Inch Nails’ “Head Like a Hole” over the airwaves. I was punished by being made to be an on-air anchor.
I also used to manage a record store, so I became fluent in matching customers with new music they might be down to try out, learning to talk that language, and asking the right questions to get someone into something new and cool.
At Walker, I did freelance music licensing for them. I worked on the last two Noah Baumbach movies. And then for 5 plus years, I worked on a music medicine program called MyMusicRx. As part of that role, I would fly to different music festivals and interview musicians about what songs cheered them up when they needed it the most. They would play their own songs or covers. My favorites were with Angel Olsen, Ryan Adams and Patti Smith. (Note: Please forgive the lower quality of the videos and sound, it was definitely done on a non-profit budget.)
What’s one past project you’re most proud of? Why?
I’m most proud of starting my own mixtape blog: Mixtapery. It was 2009, and I was briefly unemployed and needed something to structure my day, so I started making soundtracks for films that didn’t exist. I taught myself GarageBand, since I was used to making cassettes, not digital mixes. It got me thinking in themes and with a constraint of time, like 90 minutes, or 60 minutes. I had all the time in the world to work on it, but I would try to make one a month. I’m horrible at self promoting so I was anonymous for a long time. I just like doing it for my own delight. Nerd delight.
What’s your favorite part of creative licensing?
Landing a spot with the wild card. The client gives you the brief and you pitch down the middle, but then you throw one in there that is really killer and different. And they trust you and they go with that dark horse.
Do you have a favorite moment is supervision in film or TV? What is it?
That’s like going to the grocery store when you’re hungry. It’s such a stereotypical answer, but it’s in The Royal Tenenbaums when Margo goes into the tent with Richie and there’s the little Playschool record player and they played “She Smiled Sweetly” and “Ruby Tuesday,” both by The Rolling Stones. I love that moment, I think it’s so beautiful.
If you could only listen to one song forever, what would it be?
It would be Arthur Russell, “Being It.” It’s been said that Arthur Russell made Buddhist Bubble Gum music and I couldn’t think of a better song to ponder existence to.
What’s something that has recently impacted you?
Solange’s Portland show. It’s her performance art and music laying bare her experience as a black woman in America. It was intense and emotional being let into her world and I feel changed for it.
What is your imaginary animal friend?
A baby elephant walking in the wrong direction.