2 Minutes With … Halle Petro, ECP at Sonic Union

On sound as a visual medium and a passion for collaborating

Halle Petro is an executive creative producer of music and sound for commercials, documentary features, episodic television, animated series, installations and podcasts. Halle has worked with brands such as Coach, Corona, Nikon, Nintendo, Samsung, Ford and many more. Also, since 2017, she has been a show judge and board member of the curatorial committee at the Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP).

We spent two minutes with Halle to learn more about her background, her creative inspirations and recent work she's admired.

Halle, tell us ...

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

I grew up in Highland Heights, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. I now live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, after spending three years in the Catskills and other places in and around New York, Williamsburg previously among them.

Your earliest musical memory.

Standing on the seats and dancing at a James Brown concert at The Front Row Theater in Cleveland, age 5. My parents loved Motown—there was always a lot of dancing in the kitchen.

Your favorite bands/musicians today.

Patty Griffin for lyrics, Lucius for belting it out, SG Lewis and Larry Levan for dancing.

One of your favorite projects you've ever worked on.

"Resistance Radio," which was a promotion for Amazon's The Man In A High Castle. It was so virally successful that they wrote the characters into the show itself. This was an incredible, collaborative and smart group of people working together on a project we cared deeply about.

A recent project you're proud of.

Sonic Union was recently shortlisted at AICP for Playstation's "The Shot Caller,"  which was such an imaginative piece and a true collaboration, with sound design by our own Rob Ballingall, with a mix by Owen Shearer, also of SU. I love projects we get to work on collectively.

One thing about how the music world is evolving that you're excited about.

Sound is truly visual. If we close our eyes and listen there is so much that gets conveyed, that we create from within. Using sound, music or live capture in narrative is something I am passionate about. Our partnership with PRX, the pre-eminent editorial shop for podcasting, will be instrumental in helping our clients achieve their metrics in this unexplored medium.

Someone else's work, in music or beyond, that you admired lately.

I love Dua Lipa. Her music is fun and danceable, but she also has cultural reach with her newsletter Service 95 that tackles youth-related issues. She recently released a collection with Donatella Versace. I admire the way she curates her ideas and still keeps her voice original.

A book, movie, TV show or podcast you recently found inspiring.

Song Exploder

An artist you admire outside the world of music.

William de Kooning. Seeing the retrospective of his work at MoMa a few years ago changed the way I think about creativity. As he got older, his canvases became less complex, but the core and outline of his imagery was always apparent, distilled. Simplicity in his vision took a lifetime to achieve. I think good ideas take time to clarify, even if just to gain the confidence to complete.

Your favorite fictional character.

Elinor Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility [the film version of the Jane Austen novel]. I know the film by heart, and often reach for it on a rainy day. Emma Thompson has such a distinctive presence in her performance.  She keeps so much within her.

Someone worth following in social media.

@samyoukilis for travel beauty and inspiration toward my Italian dream lifestyle.

Your main strength as a marketer/creative.

I was told my Imposter syndrome is my greatest strength. That sounds like a criticism but it allows you to challenge your ideas to make you stronger in your convictions, rather than thinking everything you do is brilliant. I believe I have to continuously question my own set of beliefs in any creative process.

Your biggest weakness.

I struggle with having patience, but I think having a dog helps me through that.

Something people would find surprising about you.

I am way more of an introverted extrovert, and refuel by spending time alone.

One thing that always makes you happy.

I couldn't decide, so here are three things: warm weather anywhere in the world, my dog when he runs and chases butterflies, summer misty mornings at my farm upstate.

One thing that always makes you sad.

I think as I get older it takes so much longer to recover from heartbreak. That said, I think we need sadness to balance ourselves. I try to embrace those feelings when they come, and I try to go easy on myself, as emotional experiences add to the creative process. Time is the only true healer.

What you'd be doing if you weren't in the music business.

Traveling full time with my dog Mac.

2 Minutes With is our regular interview series where we chat with creatives about their backgrounds, creative inspirations, work they admire and more. For more about 2 Minutes With, or to be considered for the series, please get in touch.

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