Netflix’s original dramedy Firefly Lane first made its way into the homes and hearts of audiences in February 2021. Based on the novel of the same name, the series follows the lives and friendship of characters Tully Hart and Kate Mularkey, played by Katherine Heigl and Sarah Chalke, respectively. Tully and Kate meet as young girls and become inseparable friends throughout 30 years of ups and downs. The first half of the second and final season was released in December 2022 with a total of 9 episodes. The second half of season 2 and the series’ final installment dropped on April 27, 2023, with an additional 7 episodes.
Firefly Lane’s story sprawls out over 3 decades and has an era-spanning soundscape to match. Tunefind asked the series music supervisor, Tiffany Anders, about her work on Firefly Lane and the story behind her career.
When asked about her favorite part of working on Firefly Lane, Tiffany Anders explains how she most enjoyed being able to musically travel across the decades. The series’ timeline reaches back into the late ‘60s during flashbacks involving Tully’s mother, Cloud (played by Beau Garrett). Spanning into the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, and early 2000s, Anders shared how she navigated the music of the series’ impressively broad timeline explaining, “I’m a stickler for making sure everything is absolutely correct regarding time-period, so I put a lot of work into researching everything we used to make sure it was time-period accurate.”
I am a big fan of 1970’s female singer-songwriters. I think there’s something so interesting about that time for women that is reflected in the music.” – Tiffany Anders, Firefly Lane Music Supervisor
Firefly Lane’s soundscape is full of empowering tracks by great female artists. Tiffany shares her thoughts on why the 1970s was a powerful era for women in music stating, “Women no longer felt they had to be pitch-perfect singers and pretty faces.” She continues, “For a long time now, I have sought out these artists, and this was the perfect project to introduce these artists to the world.”
For example, rock band, Heart can be heard in both seasons of Firefly Lane. Anders shares insight into how their song ‘Magic Man’ became an unexpected love theme for characters Kate Mularkey and Johnny Ryan (played by Ben Lawson). “We originally had The Beach Boys ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice’ over the first time Kate lays eyes on Johnny,” shares Anders. “Since that scene is set in the 1980s, we decided to try something closer to that decade. I thought we should try ‘Magic Man’ because it gave the right female perspective; Kate’s perspective and a hot rock song fit the bill!”
In reflecting on favorite placements from the series, Tiffany Anders explains that there are many songs in Firefly Lane that she loves. In particular, she highlights a placement from the second half of the second season. “I think being able to use Joni Mitchell’s ‘Both Sides Now’ was a big deal for me as I am a massive Joni Mitchell fan,” Anders says. ‘Both Sides Now’ is featured in season 2, episode 11 “The Breast Is Yet To Come.” Tiffany continues, “I tried to use as many female artists as possible, which is very tricky when you’re in the 70’s. There just aren’t as many female artists as there are today.”
What I loved about working with Maggie [Friedman, Firefly Lane showrunner] was that she was open to any idea, big or small.” – Tiffany Anders, Firefly Lane Music Supervisor
Series showrunner, Maggie Friedman was interested in using the big hit songs from each decade, which as Anders explains, lent itself to the story and the associated sense of nostalgia. Tiffany shares, “What I loved about working with Maggie was that she was open to any idea, big or small.” Anders continues, “Some of these artists that I sent her she hadn’t heard before, but she was willing to listen and try stuff.” Anders explains how working with Maggie Friedman allowed her to craft a soundtrack that was inclusive for both well-known tracks and opportunities for music discovery. Tiffany shares, “We found a really nice balance of recognizable songs and songs that might be new discoveries.”
Read on to learn more about Tiffany Anders’ career in music supervision and hear what music she is currently listening to. Head over to Tunefind to find all the music featured in Firefly Lane.
How did you get into music supervision?
Tiffany Anders: I’m a musician myself. I put out indie records on Up Records in the late 90’s and early 2000s. I worked odd jobs to make ends meet for years and it started to drain me emotionally. So I decided to look into music supervision because my mother was an independent filmmaker and had worked with music supervisors that she adored. I knew it was a job that existed in the world. She tried to talk me out of it, because she knew that the job was hard, and a lot of negotiating, business, headaches, and frustration. But once I learned that part of the job I actually found myself enjoying it. I’m an advocate for musicians because I struggled so hard as one myself, so I really get excited when I can land a song and help a musician out.
What’s your favorite part of this work?
TA: I love this job so much! I love the creative parts, even the music you can’t hear in the background of scenes. I love working on those scenes and finding the right things. I love seeing a song work! I love the feeling music can create emotionally for a story.
Any advice you’d give your younger self, or aspiring supervisors?
TA: I think working at a record store and being a music fan my entire life was the biggest asset to this job. Also, don’t get discouraged when a showrunner, producer, etc. ends up putting in a bunch of music you don’t like or if they don’t listen to your ideas. Just keep plugging away. There are jobs like that, and in the long run, it really doesn’t matter. Your role is to serve the vision behind the story, not your musical tastes.
How has TV music changed? What do you see as the driver of this change?
TA: I think that thankfully, studios are realizing that they need to pay for music! So on a few shows the budget has gone up. Budget will never be able to get you 10 hit songs in one episode, but if you can get 1 or 2 that’s a huge improvement. It’s huge for the viewer as well, and it also helps lesser-known bands because of the spots surrounding that huge song. If I can get one of their songs in with one of the bigger songs, then I’ve created a soundtrack that pulls people in and helps people discover new artists as well.
How has the way you collaborate with showrunners changed?
TA: Every showrunner is different. Some really want my input, and some don’t. I think it will always be that way. For the most part with every showrunner I’ve worked with, it’s a collaborative effort. I find that kind of relationship to be really fun.
How has your relationship with musicians changed?
TA: I will always adore musicians, and I try my hardest to get new bands, forgotten music, and lost music into my shows.
What song have you had on repeat lately?
TA: I’m obsessed with the Weyes Blood album but try to limit the listening because it makes me emotional and I cry sometimes (in a good way).
What song always makes you want to sing along?
TA: Any Neil Young song.
What song makes even the worst day better for you?
TA: Right now, I like to listen to The Damned when I have a rough day.
What song or album has grown in meaning or significance over the years?
TA: I recently went to some reunion shows of a favorite band in the ’90s called Unwound, and I can’t stop listening to their records. I hadn’t listened to them for probably over 20 years and now I’m hooked again.
What emerging artist do you feel deserves more love?
What’s your favorite TV show (other than your projects)?
TA: I’ve been watching Apple TV+’s Bad Sisters. I like it and I like the way the music is used.
What’s your favorite recent music moment NOT from one of your own projects?
TA: The title track for Bad Sisters is a Leonard Cohen cover by PJ Harvey and her voice and performance is absolutely stunning.
Thank you Tiffany for sharing this insight into the music of Firefly Lane and your career in music supervision! Be sure to check out the final episodes of Firefly Lane, available on Netflix now. Check out Tunefind to download your favorites from the era-spanning soundtrack.
〉Check out the full soundtrack from Firefly Lane on Tunefind
〉Check out Tunefind News for more insight from music supervisors and their projects