We had the opportunity to sit down with music/production team, Elizabeth Russo and Ryan Shore. Ryan is a two-time nominee for both the Emmy® Awards and Grammy® Awards, and is an accomplished composer and songwriter, music producer/director, and conductor for film and TV, virtual reality, video games, records, concerts, live events, theater, and more. Elizabeth is also an exceptionally talented individual in the music sphere and is a 2021 Telly Award winning songwriter and lyricist.
The duo recently had the opportunity to create “Looking Up,” an original track for World Woman Hour, in partnership with the World Woman Foundation. World Woman Hour features digital storytelling to expand young women’s access to role models by providing untold stories from 60 different women about their experiences. The original piece, sung by Angelica Hale and eligible for a Grammy, is meant to be a song of empowerment for women across the globe to feel uplifted in their accomplishments and confident in their goals.
How did you get involved with the World Woman Foundation?
Ryan Shore: I was contacted by Rupa Dash (CEO, World Woman Foundation), and she asked if I would create a song for the World Woman Hour. Once she let me know about the Foundation and their incredible mission, I said yes immediately and couldn’t wait to begin.
Tell us more about your song that is in Grammy contention. Have you been in the awards conversation before?
Elizabeth Russo: I have never been on the Grammy ballot before, but it has been a dream of mine since I was a kid writing poetry and short stories. But it was absolutely amazing to have won a Telly award this year for the song.
RS: I have received one Grammy nomination before for the music I composed for the film The Shrine. Being recognized by my peers, who are among my biggest inspirations, is the most profound honor.
How do you see your role as a composer and songwriter — do you see it as more artistic, technical, or as a mix of both? And do you find that there is room for your personal touch on a project?
RS: I see my role as a mix of both, however firstly I see my role as artistic. All of the technical aspects follow in order to bring the artistic vision to life. When writing, I’m always thinking of how the music can best support and contribute to the greater vision of the project for which the music is for, and so that is where my mind and focus are always at. However, I think it is natural that those feelings are distilled through me when I’m creating, and so I think it is inevitable that my personal touch is in everything I work on, although I’m never thinking of that aspect consciously.
What has your role on “Looking Up” and working with the World Woman Foundation taught you about yourself, or about life?
ER: It has taught me not to forget who inspired me when I was young. For me, it was hands down Diane Warren. In my eyes, you could get no better. I still look up to her today! That has value and a lot of power…and she doesn’t even know it. Her writing helped shape who I am today, and I hope that other girls find the person who lights them up, too.
RS: It has reminded me of the beautiful cycle of life, the influence of prior generations, and the universality of the human spirit.
What is your favorite lyric from “Looking Up” and why?
ER: That’s a tough one but I would say the chorus because it says everything it needs to say about the song and what it means.
I look up
To the stars in the sky
I look up
And I feel so inspired
To push every limit
Like all of the women before me
I look up
In the face of my fears
Won’t give up, till they know I was here
Won’t stand in the shadows cause she fought the battle before me.
And she’s looking up, too
What was the collaboration like working with Angelica Hale?
ER: What a powerhouse! Angelica is the real deal. She could literally sing the phonebook and sound amazing. I can’t wait to see what unfolds for her in the future.
RS: Angelica has been a dream to work with! She is so astonishingly talented, completely beyond her years, and she is indeed an absolute powerhouse of talent. We feel so fortunate to be able to collaborate with her on this incredible initiative, and can’t wait to create more together!
What’s next for you?
RS: I wrote the score for the Sony Pictures film Honey Girls which was just released on Oct 19, and I wrote the score and songs for the Netflix animated series Go! Go! Cory Carson which just released a new batch of episodes on Oct 21. I’m so proud to have recently composed additional score for the Lin-Manuel Miranda film musical In The Heights, and I’m getting ready to score a soon-to-be-announced feature film which is currently filming. Additionally, I just completed my first term serving as a Governor for the Recording Academy’s LA Chapter, and I’m so proud to now be Co-Chairing the brand new Recording Academy LA Chapter’s Songwriters & Composers Wing with Evan Bogart.
ES: I’m excited to be writing a number of new songs with various artists and music producers for a variety of upcoming film, television and advertising projects.