One could say that playing music is second nature for Emmy nominated composer Amanda Jones.
Jones earned her Bachelor of Arts in music from Vassar College in 2010 and trained in music composition, production and classical guitar under Terry Champlin during her time there. She also earned certificates in both film scoring and orchestration from Berklee College of Music.
After her time in college, Jones went out to Los Angeles and started an indie rock band, The Anti-Job. After touring around with the group for a few years, Jones decided to try out some internships in the music composition industry.
“Living in L.A., you are living around so many creatives. I was learning from the best,” said Jones. “I soaked up as much as I could. It really aligned my focus that I really wanted to do this and diversify myself as a musician.”
Jones ultimately landed a job at Lionsgate, where she stayed for two years.
“I was almost reluctant to do it, I was not really a 9 to 5 kind of person,” said Jones. “It really helped me learn the nuts and bolts of the industry.
Jones has since composed for a number of indie films and television series. In 2018, Jones composed the score for “1 Angry Black Man,” directed by Menelek Lumumba, and had racked up work on other projects such as OWN’s “Cherish the Day,” BET’s “Twenties” and the Adult Swim comedy series “Beef House.” The music team at Apple TV+ later reached out to Jones to have her work on their new documentary series “Home,” which gives an inside look to some extraordinary homes throughout the world.
Jones worked specifically on the “Maine” episode of “Home,” which features an artist couple and their home in Maine. Part of what made “Home” unique musically was that the team hired a different composer for each episode.
“[The “Home” team] wanted me to lean into my songwriter ability for the score,” said Jones. “It was an incredible experience. I got to be more vulnerable, and they wanted me to push as an artist. I’m really happy with the project, it let me just be my artistic self.”
For Jones, working on “Home” felt different than working on your standard television show or film because it felt more like writing music for an album rather than writing music for television.
“The approach was more like writing an album rather than executing a brief,” said Jones. “I got to create something truly special and had to dig deep within myself. I don’t really write pop music, so it was fun to explore that.”
Jones was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Composition For A Documentary Series Or Special for her work on “Home.” This marks Jones’ first Emmy nomination ever.
“It’s a crazy feeling to be nominated. I’m blown away because I’m only just getting started because it brings a little pressure on me to keep producing major stuff,” said Jones. “I’m honored and excited and hope to bring awareness to more female and people of color nominees.”
Jones is the first African American woman to be nominated in this category. Jones feels that there should be more women of color who should be recognized for there work in this category and hopes to inspire others to work in the industry.
“It’s such a bittersweet thing to be the first African American female to be nominated in the category, there should be more, it’s 2020,” said Jones. “Should I win, I’m excited to bring up other voices. Whether it’s in the music industry or not, I hope I can be a guiding light for these women in the industry.”
Jones still plays regularly with The Anti-Job and has been working throughout the pandemic. As she advances in her career, Jones hopes to be able to expand her repertoire and compose for bigger feature-length films.
“I’m excited to someday do a studio feature — something at the Marvel movie level that will have a profound effect on the world,” said Jones. “I’m really into animation lately, so maybe I could work on something in the vein of the next ‘Coco,’ ‘How to Train Your Dragon,’ I think that would be exciting.”
For more information about Jones, visit amandacomposer.com.