music morsels fiorenza May 2006 

by Mark E. Waterbury

Kier Lehman’s father was a true audiophile providing an element of pure music exposure to multiple genres for his son. “There was always jazz or different world sounds and types of music that wasn’t as popular then as they are now playing in our house,” Kier remembers. “There was exposure to different music that really peaked my interest. Then there was the stereo equipment throughout the house, so I was really into the technical side and recording aspects. I realized very early I wanted to get into something to do with music.” Growing up in the musically intensive Los Angeles, Kier first learned to play the guitar before concentrating more on singing. In high school, he performed in various choirs and choruses. “I really wanted to keep the music part of my education going. I studied jazz guitar and played rock guitar for fun, but I also studied about music theory and reading charts.”

Because of the interest he developed in the production side of music, Kier trekked cross country to attend college at the University of Miami where he first pursued a degree in music engineering. After his first year in the program, he interned at a studio in L.A. discovering there his preference for writing  rather than just helping those who created the music. When he returned to Miami, he switched his major to media writing and production. The courses were highly specialized and Kier chose a different career path, leading him into scoring for film and commercials.  “I always had this dream of working with record labels and working with artists on the creative side in the studio. What I did at Miami really  interested me in combining the music and film industries. I was discovering that this was the only thing I was interested in and had the drive to do. So I was thinking that when I graduated I would probably become a composer.”

Kier and his college friends used to have fun by putting on TV shows or movies and then playing different music to see what could work as a backdrop.  Somewhat prophetically, Kier considered the music supervisor career path, coordinating music used in television and film. Leaving his options open after graduation, he had a cousin who knew someone who worked for Hit The Ground Running, a music supervision company in L.A. headed by Jason Alexander. Soon after Kier graduated from college, he found assistants had left the company, so he began an internship there. At this time he was also writing music so he decided to work a couple days a week at Hit The Ground Running, and then spend the rest of the time at home writing. It only took two months before they offered him a full time position. “”One thing I really liked was the perks because I felt I had to get a job where I would get free CDs,” Jason muses. “But at the time, I felt this was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”

Hit The Ground Running was started by Jason Alexander in 2001, and, over the past few years, has grown to be one of the more respected music supervising companies around, working with the highly popular “C.S.I.” shows, “Cold Case,” the HBO hit series “Entourage”, and several other notable projects. Along with Rudy Chung who joined the company around the same time that Kier did in 2003, the three music supervisors work to insure the music is an integral part of their clients' artistic creations. “In order to keep things streamlined and organized, we divide up different duties with each show,” Kier notes. “That way, things don’t slip through the cracks. But we also work together as much as possible with the creative aspects. We pitch the music around to each other and all help each other by throwing in our own ideas. It has helped grow the company and we have been getting more shows, plus offers for more high profile work. We are getting attention from labels and publicists, and people are coming to us more often rather than us having to search them out.” In 2006, two movies will be released that HTGR music supervised; “Goal” and “Flicka,” and there are two other movies in the works with several more prospects on the horizon.

Kier has to give credit to his dad, the audiophile, for instilling in him varied tastes in music and the passion for music in general, which is serving him well in his burgeoning career as a music supervisor. “Enjoying listening to music is an absolute must for a music supervisor. Being aware of all the factors of what goes into recording music is also essential because not everyone involved has that knowledge, and when we are on the mix stage, and the engineers have an issue with some technical aspect, we have to be sure that we are able to deal with it. The recording and studio experience has helped because we do a lot of recording for shows and it is a huge advantage to know about this process.” Kier has developed a very keen passion for music supervision and wants to keep doing this for a long time. He does think that at some point he would like to delve into some other areas of the music industry, perhaps working more on the promotional side. He would also eventually like to get back into writing and recording his own music, even taking a shot at film scoring. Right now, Hit The Ground Running is keeping him busy, and since the work is something he loves to do, that is quite satisfying for him. “ I found that I really like  combining music and film together. Finding the right song for the right scene really gets me excited. Combining the emotions of both art forms is really a powerful feeling.”


Kier Lehman’s advice for musicians: “It can be very tough to get your music heard by the people who are the conduit or gatekeepers to getting your music placed in film or TV. It is something that takes persistence and honesty, and not trying to advertise yourself as more than what you can really do. There is a huge amount of people trying to get their music placed, and many are amazing, but some are also mediocre. What really attracts me is music that is authentic, honest, different, and special. Sometimes we are looking for something that sounds like something else as well and that is fine, but if you do something that garners attention and is done so well that it is as good as or better than the original, or something they haven’t heard or thought of before - something that is special or interesting - then that draws more attention.”

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