We had the good fortune of connecting with Madonna Wade-Reed and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Madonna, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I never wanted to punch a clock that was set by someone else. Also, when I started my career as music supervisor, I was a new mom and I wanted the ability to make my own schedule so I could balance my work life with motherhood on my own terms.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
People often think that what makes a music supervisor really good at their job is their taste in music. While that can be an important component, what I’m most proud of is that I see myself as more of a people watcher and observer. I’m part of a collective of people trying to tell a story and my role is to find the music that supports the story. In order to do that successfully, I have to understand the people who’s story I’m telling, I have to understand the environments they exist in etc. All those things inform my choices well in advance of my personal or “good” taste. It can be really challenging at times to convince those around you that this approach is important, especially when taste in music can be such a subjective thing. You really can’t please all of the people anytime ha ha ha. What I am really proud of is how far I’ve come and evolved as a woman in the industry. I spent a great deal of my early career often being the only woman in the room, the only person of color or both. I think I had to overcome some insecurities, find my voice, build my confidence and not be intimidated. I got there.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m a big foodie so my best times are spent eating and drinking. When I have friends come to town the first place I take them is Salazar in Frogtown. It’s outdoors and the perfect combination of good Mexican BBQ, brilliant cocktails and relaxed hipster vibe. I also love love love Night + Market Song in Silverlake. It is the most fantastic assault on all your senses. Super spicy Thai street food that you can wash down with giant beers all while eating in a brightly lit pink room. I can’t get enough of it. I love taking friends to concerts and my favorite venues are The Fonda, The El Rey, The Troubadour and The Greek. I live really close to The Griffith Observatory and that’s a place anyone visiting LA should see up close. It’s stunning. If my guest likes to shop I’ll take them to Sunset Junction or the strip of South La Brea between 1st and 2nd street. If they want to go hiking, I’ll point them to Runyon Canyon or Fryman Canyon but I probably won’t go with them (I’m not a fan of snakes and other canyon “inhabitants”).
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I owe my career to my friend Jennifer Pyken. She took me under her wing, when I expressed an interest in music supervision and taught me everything I needed to know from the bottom to the top. Jennifer was incredibly generous with her knowledge and experience and gave me tools that I still employ to this day to carry out my job. She was also understanding of my role as a mother and supported whatever I needed to do to maintain a career and still be a good mum. My daughter spent alot of time in my work space growing up and I wouldn’t change a thing about that.
multi-tasking during the pandemic and realizing an ironing board can be adjusted perfectly for Zoom calls