Good Ear's Morgan Thoryk on Gut Feeling in Music Supervision

What's the right song to tell the story?

Morgan Thoryk is a music supervisor and partner at Good Ear Music Supervision. She's inspired by the expanded boundaries of pop music and the limitlessness of the internet.

She was most recently a senior music supervisor at TBWA\Media Arts Lab, where she worked on award-winning global campaigns for Apple from 2015 to 2018. In addition to supervision, she's worked with composers at Comma Music, was senior music producer at mcgarrybowen Chicago, and was licensing director at Capitol Records.

She spends her free time sewing, biking, making puns and crafting toddler party playlists.

We caught up with Morgan 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.

Morgan, tell us...

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

We moved a lot, so I lived in San Jose, Atlanta, and the U.K. as a kid, but spent my teens and twenties in Chicago. I moved to L.A. in 2015 and I'm never leaving. Winter is a choice!

Your earliest musical memory.

Singing "Man in the Mirror" by Michael Jackson really loudly in the pre-school bathroom. 

Your first concert.

My grandma took me to see Harry Belafonte (!!!) when I was 3. She was a real dreamboat. So much of my love for music (and Vangelis) stems from her.

Your favorite bands/musicians.

Björk, Alice Coltrane, ESG and Kate Bush loom large for me. I love bonkers harmonies. Choral arrangements and basslines make me sweat.

How you get your music these days.

YouTube, spotify, Dublab, Radiooooo, my friend Stacy. @sovietfreestyle on IG is full of hidden gems. 🤯

Your favorite place to see a concert.

I miss basements and dance floors and Community Chorus in the park.

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

Lost Notes! Bandsplain! Sisters with Transistors is a great doc about the women in early electronic music. There's more to life than Suzanne Ciani, y'all! (Though she is an icon.) I mean, Pauline Oliveros pioneered a new philosophy of *listening* while lugging a hooked-up accordion into a cave to record reverb. Some people just have higher callings.

A recent project you're proud of.

So many, and for so many reasons! I loved working with H.E.R. to cover George Michael's Freedom! '90. With pop music sometimes more IS more and that's the best. I'm a big fan of Julianna Barwick, so being able to place a song of hers in a Marriott spot with 72andSunny was a treat. Working with Jonny Greenwood for Zillow "The Journey" was pretty epic, too.

Old Navy | Freedom
Marriott Bonvoy | Where Can We Take You?
Zillow | The Journey (Extended Cut)
Someone else's project that you admired recently.

The Apple privacy ad featuring Delta 5. That song is such a jam and I'm so glad they used it!

Privacy on iPhone | Tracked | Apple
How musicians should approach working with brands.

There are so many factors. Do you like the creative? Do you respect the brand? Is the budget right? Then do it! After a year of no touring, a sync fee can make a big difference to most artists. But if you're not down with the concept, the fee or the brand's values, then don't do it!

How brands should approach working with musicians.

Creative should always come first. What's the right song to tell this story? It's not about social stats or "breaking" an artist. The real value is in FEELING something! You can be iconic with a song no one's heard of ... if it's the right song.

What music can do that nothing else can.

Emote! Music is a rare universal thing that everyone has a gut feeling about. People don't feel that way about fonts or books or podcasts (no offense).

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

I'd be a valet. 

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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