Ginny & Georgia has had a slew of good news in recent months with its huge two-season renewal and the show’s first Emmy nomination.
Netflix scored 103 Emmy nominations in July with Ginny & Georgia getting its first major nod for Original Music and Lyrics.
We caught up with the two composers behind that Emmy-nominated score to discuss the show’s success and how they came up with the viral hit, Marriage Is A Dungeon.
WoN: Hi both – congratulations on your Emmy nomination. Can you both introduce yourselves and what you’ve worked on before? Perhaps take us back to the beginning on how you came to work with each other on Ginny & Georgia?
LH: Thank you! I am Lili Haydn, and I am a composer/recording artist/violinist/singer. I have released nine albums as a solo artist and with my band Opium Moon (we won a Grammy 3 years ago!). We have a new single out now titled Metta Prayer from our forthcoming album “Where We Are Gathered” (out 9.15.23).
I’ve scored 18 Indie features and documentaries, and Ginny & Georgia is my first TV show! I was part of Hans Zimmer’s team as a violinist and singer and actually grew up as an actress, so I’ve been in television and film in one role or another pretty much my whole life, so it’s very natural for me to make music for drama and comedy, and I absolutely love helping directors and creators realize their full vision with the last important element of music.
BB: Thank you so much! I’m Ben Bromfield. I am a composer, songwriter, and jazz pianist. Most of my work to date has been in scoring TV series’. I got my start scoring animated television with DreamWorks, and I continue to collaborate with DW on such projects to this day. Before that, I worked in the music department of dozens of shows spanning many different genres.
Years ago, my friend, Sarah Lampert, mentioned to me that she was working on something with Netflix and about 18 months later, I heard from her (and from Netflix) that they were looking for a composer. From the minute I read the script of the pilot, it was clear to me that this show needed a female voice (figuratively and literally) to have the most meaningful and effective score. I had met Lili Haydn through my mentor, Tree Adams, years earlier, and was a big fan of her work and talents both as a composer and a singer/songwriter/violinist. Thankfully, she was available to take on the project with me, and we have since developed a unique sound that draws heavily from both of our backgrounds and experiences.
WoN: Marriage Is A Dungeon is the viral hit from the second season. Can you both talk about how the song came about? How did the writers pitch it to you? How did it evolve?
LH: We were asked to write a classic musical set in Victorian England, with a love song, a villain song, and an overture. The villain song needed to be a duet between Max and Bracia (Lady Blaire and Josephine Wellington) and it needed to be funny, in order to further the character development of Max in the show. We also felt it was important to echo some of the heavier darker themes in Ginny & Georgia, and delivering it as a darkly, funny earworm that has resonated with so many people has been especially gratifying! “Marriage is a Dungeon” also happens to be my grandmother’s evil older sister’s last words to me! So, this is truly the triumph of art over pain!
BB: Lili had the wonderful idea of using her grandmother’s “evil older sister’s” last words — “Marriage Is A Dungeon” — as inspiration for the villain song from Wellington (Wellington is the name of the musical we conceived of for season 2 of Ginny & Georgia, which is performed by the high school students). From there we fleshed out the rest of the music and lyrics to be sung by this dastardly character (known as Lady Blair)! When composing this song (and the rest of Wellington), we drew some inspiration from such Broadway classics as Into the Woods and West Side Story, as well as the animated musical The Nightmare Before Christmas.
WoN: Can you tell us your reaction to when you heard about the Emmy nomination? Was it a surprise?
LH: We were really surprised and excited, but this show has consistently surprised people with how far reaching and popular it has been, so this nomination it’s really for all of us who have given oyour full hearts to make this show as great, and as popular as it is.
BB: I was shocked and overjoyed! My heart was pounding through my chest! We had a wonderful conversation with the show’s creator, Sarah Lampert, who was beyond excited. The show has resonated with so many people, and we’re just so happy to be a part of that. We hope that our nomination helps to elevate Ginny & Georgia to be in more awards conversations, with its powerful storytelling and wonderful performances from the whole cast.
WoN: Beyond your song, Ginny & Georgia has really found success on TikTok with over 17 billion views. That’s clearly translated into the show being a huge hit for Netflix too. Why do you think the show does so well on TikTok and more broadly?
LH: This show has consistently exceeded everyone’s expectations because it’s so authentic and so playful and deep and hits all the themes of identity and belonging and fun that so many people care about! It’s a real delight to be able to make music that so many people have heard!
BB: I’m a bit of a Reddit nerd, and I sometimes like to read what the fans say about the show. One of my main observations is that people love the way the teenage characters are written. The way the young characters interact with each other and the situations in which they find themselves, from what I’ve seen, feel very authentic to the young fanbase, and that’s the same demographic who is on TikTok the most. So, my theory in short is that the show does well on TikTok because the characters (especially the younger characters) are highly relatable!
WoN: What projects do you both have next? Will you both be working on the third and fourth installments? Ben, I note you worked on Netflix’s Oddball series – can we expect any more collaboration there?
LH: We definitely would love to come back for seasons 3 & 4! We love this show!
I’m currently scoring an indie feature film, titled “Nobody Leaves till Jesus Comes!” and just finished scoring a feature documentary about Christian Nationalism titled “Bad Faith.” Both will be hitting festivals this upcoming year.
And I am really passionate about my new album with Opium Moon, which comes out September 15. It’s titled “Where We Are Gathered” and it’s straight from the heart with lots of that violin playing and vocals people have heard in our Ginny and Georgia score, but with an exotic, super chill, and sexy vibe! It’s the best music to meditate to or make out to!
BB: Thanks so much for asking about Oddballs–what a fun series to score! I can’t speak to the future of that show in particular, but I did happen to have brunch with the creator, James Rallison, just this morning, and he’s as prolific as ever with his extremely popular YouTube channel, TheOdd1sOut, which is what inspired Oddballs. I do sometimes collaborate with him on content for his channel, but next on the docket for me is scoring another animated series for DreamWorks, but I can’t talk about it in detail yet.