How 'Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies' found a sound of its own

AFP

While songwriter Justin Tranter has attained success by penning hit pop anthems like Justin Bieber's "Sorry" and Imagine Dragons' "Believer," writing music for the Paramount+ prequel "Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies" took him in a new direction.

For the 10-part musical TV series based on the famous 1978 film Grease, Tranter wrote 30 original tracks - most of which weren't in the vein of the pop songs for which he is known.

"I'm very proud of my pop songs but there isn't the level of storytelling that's required for a musical," Tranter told Reuters.

Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies is set in 1954, four years before the story of the US high school movie starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John.

The first season, which ends on Thursday, follows four rebellious students who unite to become the misfits of Rydell High and eventually the "Pink Ladies" clique. The show's lead, Marisa Davila, portrays Jane Facciano, the first female student to run for class president.

When he knew he was interested in being a part of the project, Tranter wrote his own original audition song, Too Cool, which is featured in the first episode.

One of the main challenges Tranter faced was emulating the popular songs from the original film, which incorporated sounds from different decades.

"Some of it feels very true to the '50s and some of it is very much a late '70s take," Tranter said, referring to the original Grease.

He also wanted to bring some of his contemporary pop style into the mix as well.

"We are waiting to see how an audience receives 30 original songs over 10 episodes. No-one has done it before so we don't know how it's going to work," Tranter said.

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