Aminé Ramer is a music supervisor and consultant known for her influential work in feature films including Flint Town (2018), Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic (2013) and Finders Keepers (2015). When Aminé left Auckland for Los Angeles, she started working as a booking agent, and then she became a day to day manager for the Brian Jonestown Massacre. She also worked a club booker when she discovered the job of music supervisor for film and television. She gained knowledge and work experience for a year and then started her own company, States of Sound, where she supervises music for independent films, documentaries, television, and more. She credits her childhood in New Zealand, spending her free time in record stores, to her success today.
The role of a music supervisor is to suggest songs for film and TV shows and negotiate the terms of the uses and manage the music budget on a production.
Q: What year did you graduate from James Cook High?
Q: What was your favourite memory from your time at James Cook?
A: Sad but true, winning queen of the ball in 5th form with Danny O’Connor.
Q: How did you start your company?
A: After working for another music supervisor as a coordinator and “paying my dues,” I went out on my own for a few years taking on any music supervision projects I could. With enough projects under my belt, I brought in a friend to train and to help me. After she was able supervise at the same level, we decided after a few years to start the company and 10 years later, it’s still going strong.
Q: What was your favourite subject in high school?
A: Economics & Social Studies
Q: What did you do after graduation?
A: I went on to Waikato University to study economics, then went to Auckland University and changed my field of study to graduate with a BS in Geography.
Q: Did your time at James Cook influence you to go into the music business?
A: Yes it did, I did participate in the school plays although I was not particularly good, I was encouraged to try and giving things a go is half the battle in life.
Q: Was there a particular teacher you remember who really inspired you?
A: My economics teacher in 4th form, although I was in his 5th form economics class that year. I can’t remember his name though. It wasn’t Mr. King but maybe it was Mr. Brown. It would of been the economics teacher for the 5th form in 1988.
Note from JCHS Staff: We checked the staff listing for each subject in the yearbooks from the late 1980s and the only subject close to Economics listed was Commerce, and Mr. King taught that class.
I was already interested in economics but it really gave me a grounding in economic theory which gave me a solid foundation. He challenged me to persevere even though the coursework was hard as he expected me to keep up. He always took the time to explain things in a different way, if I did not understand the way he had explained the coursework in class. He had high expectations of me which encouraged me to work harder.
Mr. Pomana, who taught Maori culture class, was beyond patient with me and I remember him fondly.
I was also inspired by my science teacher (Miss Hoskings) who had decided that I was “unable to learn” and mostly kicked me out of class everyday. This inspired me to study at home, take the end of year exam and pass, and also to go on to receive a science degree. I had the support of other teachers who also taught me that a sometimes a determination to prove yourself to yourself can be a strong motivator.
Q: What was your greatest challenge in establishing your company?
A: The confidence to know whatever happens I can handle it, and that I will only have myself to rely on for getting work in and doing it well.
Doing the research to set up a company (i.e. registering the name, website, and researching copyright and publishing law, etc.) and my study habits from school came in handy for methodically setting about getting everything on track.
Q: What are some of your favourite music supervision projects that you’ve worked on recently?
A: “Flint Town” a docuseries for Netflix about the police department in Flint, Michigan and the state America is in based on this one microcosm.
“The Honor List” a cute coming of age film for Lionsgate.
Q: Are there any new projects that you’re looking into doing that you’ve never done before?
A: Yes, an animated series for Hulu called Muscles McQuack. It will be a new challenge working with animated characters.
Q: What advice would you give to JCHS students that attribute your success?
A: I left New Zealand when I was 22 and it was scary but whether staying at home or leaving, don’t be afraid to take chances and to fail and keep trying. It’s a big world, get out there. Hang out with smart people. Ignore the naysayers. It’s not so much what you learn but the drive to learn and discipline to study. When I decided I wanted to be a music supervisor, I studied what I would need to do that (i.e. publishing music rights, etc.) which was important to be able to do the job. Critical thinking, curiosity, and believing in yourself are the most important tools for your future.