Christine Artemis Pappa on Queen, Max Richter, and Her Work With Music-Gems

Plus, the trouble with streaming services today

Christine Artemis Pappa is a classically trained composer, music supervisor and founder of Music-Gems, a London based meta-label and publishing company with an eclectic roster of independent artists and film composers, specializing in film and TV sync.

Christine works in creative music supervision, music licensing and composer representation. On the academic side, she has studied Piano performance, composition and music production, and is currently studying for her master's degree in entertainment law at the University of Westminster. 

We caught up with Christine for our Liner Notes series to learn more about her musical tastes and journey through the years, as well as recent work she's proud of and admired.

Christine, tell us... 

Where you grew up, and where you live now. 

Born in Athens, Greece, and now living in London, England.

Your earliest musical memory. 

My earliest memory would be Disney's Fantasia (1940). When I was about 6 years old, my parents took me to the movie theater to watch the film and I was so thrilled by the music and the storytelling that I asked them to stay and re-watch it. We spent four fascinating hours in there, which I think determined my life path. Directly after that I told them that I wanted to start taking piano lessons. They signed me up, and for that I will be forever grateful. :) 

Your first concert. 

I suppose it must have been Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker" on ice with full live orchestra, which was an extraordinary experience. I was so stunned that I was staring at the orchestra instead of the ice dancers. 😂 

Your favourite bands/musicians. 

I consider Queen to be one of the most important bands in music history. They all knew how to write and perform, and they used some amazing recording techniques and music forms that combined brilliantly with the edgy genre of rock. Queen not only made a significant statement that "There are no borders in music," but they did it whilst creating incredible art which they managed to turn into timeless iconic songs. How cool is that? I should also mention that I love the Beatles, Nina Simone, Miles Davis, Ennio Morricone, Amy Winehouse, and most recently neo-soul Joy Crookes and the incredible Michael Kiwanuka. 

How you get your music these days. 

I mostly use Soundcloud, and I try to buy the albums I like. I am not quite satisfied with how streaming platforms are paying artists; therefore, I avoid using some of the popular ones. This is an issue that became even more obvious in the U.K. after the pandemic outbreak. Recently, industry members proposed to the U.K. parliament to introduce the equitable remuneration (an already existing right in broadcasting) to the streaming platforms. I am being optimistic about fixing that soon. 😊  

Your favorite place to see a concert. 

That is an easy one. Royal Albert Hall is London's most iconic venue, in my opinion. Its location, the beautiful historic building, the incredible energy of the auditorium, the fantastic sound, and the wide range and variety of concerts and performances it offers are a few reasons why I love to visit. For summer concerts I prefer the ancient theater of Odeon of Herodes Atticus in Athens. 😊 

Your favorite music video.

"No Reason" and "Cirrus" by Bonobo, anything by Jonathan Bree among many more.  

Your favorite music-focused TV show and/or podcast. 

I currently listen to Syncstories and the Syncpodcast, Guild of Music Supervisors Podcast, SCORE the Podcast (love film music) and the IP Podcast.  

A recent project you're proud of. 

Sadly, many of the wonderful productions that we had started working on have been postponed or canceled due to Covid. I am currently working on a couple of documentaries for U.K. TV, on several VOD and U.S. TV series but most importantly I am building Music-Gems. Music-Gems is a London-based publishing company/sync house that supports a less privileged yet paramount side of the industry such as small labels, independent artists and film composers from around the world. We work with film producers, cinematographers, creative directors and music supervisors, and we provide one-stop licensing for global sync, music clearance and music supervision services among others. We are currently building our website, but we have an online presence on IG, FB and LinkedIn.

Someone else's project that you admired recently. 

As regards new music, I think that Max Richter's album Voices, which in my opinion could be 2020's soundtrack, is an extraordinary piece of art that comes at a time of division and upheaval as an emotional plea for compassion and tolerance.

Music supervision-wise, I find Catherine Grieve's work on Killing Eve to be fantastic, while I also enjoyed I May Destroy You (Ciara Lewis) and Industry (Oliver White).

How musicians should approach working with brands. 

I think that this has mostly to do with building trustworthy relationships more than anything else. Composers and artists (unless they have a wide range of compositional skills) should approach brands that are more likely to use their music. For example, there are more chances for an electronic musician to land a placement with a brand like Red Bull compared to a folk/rock ballad songwriter or soul artist. Of course, there are always unexpected syncs and campaigns, and one can be lucky, but I would say this is not the norm. Time is another important factor, as deadlines are super tight and unpredicted changes can occur that will subsequently require amends, so musicians should be prepared for longer working hours.

How brands should approach working with musicians. 

That is a tricky one. I believe that even though in this case pre-existing trustworthy relationships aren't as necessary, there have been many instances when a match between a brand and an artist was so perfect that then the brand became associated with the musician. It is a relationship that, if it starts well, can turn to a partnership that will last for a long time, so I guess there must be mutual respect and admiration in order for that to be successfully expressed and passed on to the intended audience.

What music can do that nothing else can. 

Music heals, inspires, unites, frees the mind, feeds the soul, fills the heart. It can bring up memories, images and ideas while connecting people in quite similar ways. It's amazing how people from different countries, cultures and backgrounds can relate when they listen to the same piece of music (even more so if that music has been synced to a visual). It's magical.  

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

I would probably be in law, working in intellectual property or in human rights. Or maybe I would be a painter or a therapist. But none of these would be as fun. 😊

Liner Notes is our weekly interview series, publishing every Monday, where we chat with folks in the music industry about their creative inspirations, their favorite bands and musicians, and generally what music means to them. For more about Liner Notes, and our Clio Music program, please get in touch.

Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd was editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio from 2018 to 2023.

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