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Female Music Supervisors Maggie Phillips and Kristen Higuera Discuss Behind the Scenes Work

By: Nikoleta Morales |Music Supervisors Maggie Phillips and Kristen Higuera | Image: Supplied

Music Supervisors Maggie Phillips and Kristen Higuera on Amazon’s Somebody I Used To Know

Music supervisor Maggie Phillips and her co-supervisor, Kristen Higuera spoke to Cultured Focus Magazine about their latest work on Amazon’s Somebody I Used To Know, as well as their music supervising careers.

Phillips started her career working on Indie movies. She was also excited about working with Dave Franco, who directed Somebody I Used to Know, because of the way he respected her work.

“I got a letter from Dave saying how much he wanted to work with me and he was a fan of my work. I'm a huge fan of his work. He was respectful of my work and craft, which is very rare for a director.”

Her favorite part about the film is the messy female protagonist, which she says is not very typical in films.

“I love when female protagonists are human, 3D messes of a woman. Men are allowed to be messy and women are not allowed to be so complex. In some instances you don’t like her. She is allowed to be both. You are also rooting for her and she is allowed to make mistakes.”

Phillips also had a lot of fun creating the music playlist for the film together with Higuera. While it was a learning process in terms of collaboration, the job was easy, fun and rewarding.

“The way Kristen and I would do it was we would make separate playlists and share them. Kristen took a lot of the stuff with newer music and I did the older music. This is her first job with me as a music supervisor.”

In terms of their work, Phillips said: “We are department heads. We start at prep, go to production and are there at post production. It’s a lot of work and research.”

Phillips has advice for female music supervisors: “Speak up. Let your opinion be heard. Don’t ever apologize for who you are. Your opinion and voce matter. Fake it till you make it. Fight for what you are worth financially. Take some classes. Do the research. Read books. Do your homework. It's not an easy path and job so do the research to find out what you are getting into.”

In terms of working together with Phillips on the film, Higuera said: “When you co-supervise you interact with directors, producers and the dialogue. It is learning how to communicate effectively and being confident in what you are sharing and defending. This was an easy jump for me from coordinator to supervisor.”

Phillips has lent her expertise to the creation of some of television and films’ most unique sounds. She is the music supervisor on Raven Jackson’s All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt, which premiered at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival; FX's Fargo, Kindred and Snowfall; Hulu’s The Great, The Dropout and Normal People; and Amazon Prime's Bosch. Notable other credits include Starz’ Gaslit; Hulu’s Rosaline; Apple TV+’s Shining Girls; HBO Max’s Our Flag Means Death; Shawn Levy’s Netflix sci-fi film The Adam Project; and more. Upcoming projects include Matthew Lopez and Ted Mawler’s adaptation of Casey McQuiston’s best-selling novel Red, White & Royal Blue; Paramount's mini-series Fatal Attraction; Netflix’s mini-series All the Light We Cannot See; Hulu’s adaptation of best-selling novel Black Cake; and Sam Esmail’s highly anticipated psychological thriller Leave the World Behind.

After earning her master's in global entertainment and music business from Berklee College of Music, Higuera got her start in advertising and audio Branding. She has worked at a boutique agency in London, where she helped curate the sound for global hotel chain citizens, and in New York City, where she sourced and secured music licenses for international advertisements for clients including General Motors and Walmart. In 2019, Kristen made the jump from advertising to film & television. Kristen is now a music coordinator and supervisor at Maggie Phillips’ Deep Cut Music, where she has lent her ear to widely loved projects, such as Amazon Prime’s Somebody I Used To Know, Hulu’s The Dropout, and The Great. Upcoming projects include Matthew Lopezand Ted Mawler’s adaptation of Casey McQuiston’s best-selling novel Red, White & Royal Blue and Hulu’s adaptation of the best-selling novel Black Cake.


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