Composer Jay Wadley Takes Restrained Approach To Communicating Giant Feelings With Swan Song Score – Hear Two Exclusive Tracks

EXCLUSIVE: Deadline has the first exclusive tracks from Jay Wadley’s Swan Song score, which is set for digital release via Lakeshore Records on December 17—the same day that the Apple Original Film premieres  in theaters and globally on Apple TV+.

The first feature from Oscar-winning writer-director Benjamin Cleary is set in the near future and centers on Cameron (Mahershala Ali), a loving husband and father diagnosed with a terminal illness who is presented with an alternative solution by his doctor (Glenn Close) to shield his family from grief. As Cam grapples with whether or not to alter his family’s fate, he ends up learning more about life and love than he ever imagined he would.

For the film marking his first collaboration with Cleary, Wadley looked to evoke deeply felt emotions, maintaining at the same time a sense of space and minimalism. “My inspiration for the score for Swan Song was drawn from connecting with Cam’s profound love for his family and tapping into his internal struggle, sense of loss, and urgency of his monumental dilemma,” says the composer. “The score takes a deliberate and restrained approach to communicate giant feelings, playing off of Ben Cleary and [cinematographer] Masanobu Takayanagi’s discussions of the Japanese minimalist concept of Ma.”

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From Wadley’s perspective, bringing a sense of “openness and space” to the score through composition, production and instrumentation “allows moments to breath while still providing the emotional undercurrent of tension, love and sense [of] urgency to the unfolding story.”

The NY-based composer and music producer is a two-time winner of the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Charles Ives Award. In addition to Swan Song, he recently scored I’m Thinking of Ending Things, a psychological drama from writer-director Charlie Kaufman, for which he also co-wrote and produced several songs. Other recent projects include Heidi Ewing’s 2020 Sundance NEXT award-winning narrative debut I Carry You with Me (Sony Pictures Classics), a commissioned modern dance piece from CoLab Ensemble for a 2022 premiere at The Guggenheim, Emma Tammi’s Blood Moon (Blumhouse/Hulu), additional music and percussion on M. Night Shyamalan’s Old and Season 2 of Amazon’s Emmy-nominated series, Modern Love.

Wadley has also lent his talents to films including Rhys Ernst’s Adam and James Schamus’ Indignation, as well as series including The Innocence Files, Tales of the City and The OA. He co-founded the award-winning music and audio production company Found Objects with composer Trevor Gureckis, after earning his Bachelor of Music in composition from Oklahoma City University and a master’s degree in modern classical composition from the Yale School of Music.

Lakeshore Records is the soundtrack arm of the Cutting Edge Group. The four-time Grammy-nominated record label has also released the soundtracks for such acclaimed titles as Being the RicardosThe Shrink Next DoorBridgerton, Drive, Stranger Things, The Old Guard, Cyberpunk 2077, When They See Us, The Handmaid’s Tale, Black Mirror, Star Trek: Picard, Bojack Horseman, Les Misérables, Mandy, Narcos, Logan, The Walking Dead, Napoleon Dynamite, Bill & Ted Face the Music, Red Dead Redemption 2, Legion, Lady Bird, Moonlight, Little Miss Sunshine, American Factory, If Beale Street Could Talk and The Hurt Locker, among many others.

Swan Song also stars Naomie Harris and Awkwafina. Ali and Mimi Valdés produced the film through Know Wonder, with Adam Shulman and Jacob Perlin of Anonymous Content, Jonathan King of Concordia Studio, and Rebecca Bourke.

Listen to Wadley’s “Main Theme” for the film above. The track “Jack Goes Home” can be found below.

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