How NBC’s “Community” Helps a Jazz Musician Reach a New Fan Base

In this season’s Halloween episode Community, NBC’s sitcom with a rabid cult, most of the main characters have reimagined a basic slasher story with their own twist. Danny Pudi’s Abed Nadir decided to defy the conventions of horror in his shooting, until one particular detail: when the two characters in his story turned on the radio to see if there were any reports of a killer on the loose, they were treated to a relaxing and sweet jazz melody. After all, that’s probably what would happen if you turned on the radio. The earworm melody lasted 20 seconds – the actual song played for nine seconds before moving on to Pudi humming the silky saxophone melody for a full 11 seconds – before Chevy Chase’s Pierce Hawthorne rudely interrupted the song. happy melody of Pudi.

The song used in this scene sounds familiar but foreign, it’s a relaxing number that could easily be played on any contemporary or adult smooth jazz radio station across the country. And yet, despite the airwaves Community, this melody, “Dawn“, was not on commercial radio. At least that’s what the song’s creator, Michael Haggins says: It never had a commercial broadcast.

Born in Pasadena, California, the 55-year-old jazz bassist grew up with music. His uncle Al Duncan was a session drummer for Vee-Jay Records and Chess Records in the 1950s and 1960s – he recorded with Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Etta James, Sonny Boy Williamson and many other musicians – and wrote a staple of the blues, “It’s too late my brother. Haggins got into music at a young age, playing a guitar he got for Christmas as a kid and picking up the saxophone in grade school. He eventually stuck with the electric bass, playing in a group with future Billboard frontman Robbie Nevil in the 80s, and came out on his own in the 2000s. He self-published two solo albums – the 2004 one Dawn and 2008 Traffic–and his third album, World of dreams, should be released at the end of May.

Music is a passionate project for Haggins. He’s a video technician for CBS by day, and he works on promos for prime-time shows. He’s spent decades working on television, and although he’s so close to the action, he still feels like he’s looking through the glass where he wants to go with his music. As he walks down the halls at work and scrutinizes the various stages, he sometimes imagines himself putting on a bass and showing everyone his stuff, and performing on television programs shot on both coasts. ” I would like to do Letterman“says Haggins, one of the many shows he’s hoping to appear on.” Just a song! “

While it wasn’t aired and didn’t play, say, the Today show, Haggins has slowly but surely found some fame thanks to Community. This is the first appearance on the show during “Horror Fiction in Seven Scary Steps“was one of the best moments in this particular episode. The song reappeared four episodes later in”Table football and night vigilance“with Donald Glover’s Troy Barnes humming it happily at one point, then humming it in grief when he hears heartbreaking news.

Then Community was on hiatus for a few months and finally returned in March. Just before the show resumes on the air, the cast and producers got together to talk To Paley Festival 2012, an annual television conference at the Paley Center for Media that welcomes those involved in creative programming. During the question-and-answer session, a fan asked a particular question, “This is the song that was in the Halloween episode and the Batman episode, will we hear this song again?” In response, almost everyone on stage burst into song, approaching the saxophone melody that features prominently in “Daybreak.” The short answer was yes.

“Daybreak” appeared on Community time and time again since the show returned to air. It’s in the first episode since his return, “Urban wedding and the arts of the sandwich. “It comes up twice in a two-part story about a giant pillow fight, once in each episode. And it shows up in the dying moments of the end credits scene over the past week or so.”Analysis of virtual systems. “” Daybreak “has a life of its own on Community. On the surface, this is a meme from a TV show known to be obsessed with memes, but the role it plays in the lives of the show’s characters accurately describes how groups of people listen to music. People bond over certain songs, they share those memorable tunes in good times and bad, and tunes can become shortcuts for entire shared experiences between a few people or an entire community, uh,. Just like “Daybreak” on Community.

The tune is, on the surface, a positive jam: it’s a silky saxophone melody, played by Rod Stewart’s backing musician Jimmy Roberts, and a restrained funk-bass beat allows for upbeat listening. Yet the song comes from a time when Haggins felt his faith was being tested, when he was unsure whether it was the right decision to play music full time or to go away. stick to his television career. “Whenever something good comes up, there’s a storm,” Haggins says. “You start to wonder what you’re doing, why you’re doing it.” From this was born “Daybreak”, a song that sums up Haggins’ positive outlook on life and the affirmation he feels when he wakes up every morning. “The only thing that is always constant is the dawn,” he says. “It’s a little cheerful, when you get up you want to have joy.”

Haggins says “Daybreak” is all about breaking down barriers, too, and although he hasn’t been in music full time, he’s starting to carve out a little niche for himself in the music world. A big push came on July 22, 2010, when The Weather Channel added four Haggins songs to its “Local on the 8’s” lineup for this August. Another great event had happened a year before, when Opening music, a music supervision company that works in film and television, contacted Haggins to use their music. Since then, Aperture has incorporated songs by Michael Haggins Happy endings, Raising hope, MSNBC Wake up to Al, and the 2011 comedy Pass. And of course, Community. Not bad considering that Haggins handles all aspects of his music career himself, from setting up a live show to running his label, Cuate Records Corporation.

Although “Daybreak” became a hit in the world of Community, Haggins didn’t see much of her airing on the show. “I haven’t received a dime yet,” he says. “I should receive compensation for this.” Haggins’ music is recorded through BMI and he is expected to receive a standard performance royalty. He should expect to receive payment at least six months after the first episode that used “Daybreak,” which Haggins says is pretty standard: that means he should get paid pretty much any day now. .

It may take months to wait for residual compensation after a song airs on TV, but Community helped Haggins with his music sales. “I do extremely well with iTunes downloads,” he says. According to Haggins every time “Daybreak” lands on Community he sees an increase in the song’s sales numbers, and it often lands in iTunes’ 100 Jazz singles list. He has also noticed an increase in fan emails since the Halloween episode. Community the fans are certainly dedicated to the show, having launched various “save Community campaigns when the show has been briefly taken off the air. Those same fans turned to “Daybreak,” which Haggins certainly enjoys: If he could, he would do something with the show that gave him so much. “I would like to make a Community gig and do the whole song with the actors there, ”he says.

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Pia Miller

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