The Power of Music on 'Grey's Anatomy'
The Power of Music on 'Grey's Anatomy'
Glenn Diaz
Glenn Diaz
Staff Writer, BuddyTV
Remember Preston Burke's (Isaiah Washington) intended wedding vows to Cristina (Sandra Oh), which he didn't get to say on Grey's Anatomy?

He recited it in an OR full of women, that included Izzie (Katherine Heigl), Callie (Sara Ramirez) and the now departed Addie (Kate Walsh). He was saying, "I am not optimistic, I am not hopeful. I am sure," and right there and then, a song started playing - Ray LaMontagne's Hold You In My Arms. Burke continued with his vow and right after he finished, the song got louder, getting to the chorus. Everyone was speechless, until Addison broke the silence and said, "I think I speak for every woman in this room when I say dump her, dump Yang and marry me."

Of course, who can forget Snow Patrol's Chasing Cars playing while Alex (Justin Chambers) carried a distraught Izzie out of Denny's (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) on Grey's season 2 finale.

And, more recently, the haunting theme of Alex and Izzie's wedding, Ingrid Michaelson's Turn to Stone, which, if I remember it correctly, was commissioned specifically for this purpose.

According to Andrea von Foerster, who supervises the music that we hear on Grey's Anatomy and other shows and movies, the choice of songs to serve as backdrop to such powerful scenes depends on two things - musicality and cost. Snow Patrol and Ray LaMontagne aren't exactly struggling MySpace acts but during that time, there weren't very popular either.

True enough, it's easier to break down in tears or be happy when an appropriate song plays in the background, leading some critics to call shows such as Grey's Anatomy, House, Scrubs, Ugly Betty, and many others as perhaps the new MTV. After all, we get to hear and discover hitherto unknown acts and music. Personally, I only got acquainted with such acts as Michaelson, Priscilla Ahn, Bryn Christopher, Kendal Payne, Meiko, etc through Grey's.

Joshua Radin, for instance, who has two songs on the second season of Grey's and another on the fifth, gives credits to such exposure for his current career. His viral popularity, he says, is all thanks to "the new radio." All the tracts on his upcoming album, in fact, have been licensed to House, Grey's Anatomy, 90210, and Bones. His single I'd Rather Be With You saw a 200 per cent increase in sales after airing on the ABC medical drama, not to mention a 24 per cent boost in album sales.

"Today it's not just one cable channel showing videos. Now it's ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox, the biggest networks in America. Every week, a TV show airs where I have a song in it," Radin tells the Telegraph.

Von Foerster, for her part, said they like the singer-songwriter's music because it feels "familiar" without "overtaking" the scene, like "a memory or seeing an old photograph." Also part of the appeal of these "fragile, little-known musicians" is that they don't cost as much to license compared to established stars. With perennial budget cuts, television bigwigs feel that it's a win-win situation for both camps.

The Grey's music supervisor also revealed that she periodically surveys venues to spot new acts, sometimes finding herself with fellow music supervisors. "Everybody wants to be the first person to break a certain artist before someone else can," she said.

What's your favorite Grey's Anatomy song?

- Glenn Diaz, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
Source: The Telegraph
(Image courtesy of ABC)