Thomas Mizer and Curtis Moore are Emmy nominated for their contribution to the Amazon Original, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. The duo’s song “Maybe Monica” appears in Episode 5 (“How To Chew Quietly And Influence People”) of Season 4.
“Working on Season 4 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel was a dream come true for us as songwriters, mainly because, every time creator Amy Sherman-Palladino called us with a request, it was wilder and more challenging — and therefore more fun — than the last,” express the composers. “In just one episode, we had to write a ‘new’ Harry Belafonte calypso song, a Motown-esque pop hit for Shy Baldwin, and a full burlesque number for a dancer in a bathtub. When else are we going to get to explore so many styles? Glorious insanity!”
When Mizer and Moore compose for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, they like to spruce up their demos by using a breath controller (theirs is from www.tecontrol.se), which allows them to flesh out our preliminary arrangements with realistic-sounding brass, reed and string lines. Some of their favorite plug-ins are from Audio Modeling.
“We rewrite constantly by sending tracks back and forth between us using Logic or just voice memos, making changes — sometimes big and sometimes very tiny — to lyrics or melody or rhythm until it feels as good as we can make it…Or it is ripped out of our hands because deadlines call. With Maisel, we really want to stay in the idioms of the ’50s and ‘60s, so creating a ‘live’ feel is important.”
The composers say the compositions really comes to life when they bring producer Stewart Lerman, the musicians and singers together. They will use traditional techniques, like setting everyone up together on a stage with mostly overhead mics, or recording in the actual space where the scene is filmed.
“It’s here where the songs really start to breathe and grow, and we have to be present enough to let it happen and adapt.”
Mizer and Moore say their most challenging work this season involved writing a song for a young Harry Belafonte to sing at Shy Baldwin’s wedding.
“We wrote and discarded so many options before we landed on ‘Maybe Monica’ — probably the most drafts we’ve ever written for Maisel.”
It was particularly challenging because it had to cover several needs. First, it had to feel like an authentic song by a performer with an iconic catalogue. Secondly, it had to help to tell the story of the episode by being a wedding toast. Lastly, it had to make a nod to the bigger question of: “Why is Shy marrying Monica?”
“We also wanted the song to feel loose and be a great party tune,” add the composers. “It’s lucky we aren’t still huddled over a piano somewhere writing options, but we are really proud of the result."