It’s been more than 20 years since American Pie became a sleeper hit of the summer of 1999; its huge box office success leading to the beginning of a popular franchise. The 9th movie just hit Netflix and, like the original, American Pie Presents: Girls’ Rule features a soundtrack that underscores the teenage shenanigans. British songwriter Tatiana DeMaria, who contributed 8 tunes to the soundtrack, was just a kid when the first movie came out. “It was pushing the boundaries within the mainstream confines of a high school teen movie,” she recalls.
“At that time, there were so many shock value and raw, in-your-face moments that weren’t the norm, and it was also funny as shit at the time for me, at that age,” she tells American Songwriter. The London-based singer remembers the impact it had on her and also the cultural moment it created “that left its quotes and popularized expressions like ‘MILF’ all over a generation.”
DeMaria, who spent the early part of her career fronting rock band TAT and producing underground UK hip hop, has more recently been exploring her solo artistry. “I’ve always written all my music whether it’s as the band TAT or solo, so that part hasn’t changed in terms of the writing and creating process, it’s still me alone in my space writing songs,” she says. “How I produce overall has evolved and varies a little more with the wider sound palette though.”
She received a call from American Pie Presents: Girls’ Rule director Mike Elliot, asking her to be involved. DeMaria had worked with him on Blue Crush 2 when she did the soundtrack for the 2011 film. Two decades later, the music from the first American Pie is kind of a time capsule of songs from the 90s. DeMaria says she Elliot wanted to look to the popularity of the first one and create something that was unique to the film and something they could release as a stand-alone at some point. “The style itself was a little more broad in terms of wanting to use some more modern elements, but also have rock & roll moments that echo the identity of the first,” she says.
The film features a mix of original DeMaria songs as well as covers. Her synth pop track “You Make Me,” as well as her “Push Up On Me” remix are among the tracks included. She also puts her spin on Tom Petty’s “American Girl.” “Having started my career in punk rock and producing underground UK hip hop, I’ve always produced across the board stylistically so it was fun for me to record and produce ‘American Girl’ for the live show we play on screen, but also write and produce a trap song for another scene as a background element, and then ‘You Make Me.’”
The trap song DeMaria came up with was for background music in a car. “I also included a remix / reworking of my song “Push Up On Me” — an original song due for my album when that drops in 2021, but sounds 110% different to the one on the album. The one in the movie is more of a 2010s dance rock remix, to fit the team’s vision and scene.”
Her music has been featured in a variety of movies and TV shows, like Gossip Girl and The Hills, along with worldwide advertising campaigns for brands like Pepsi & 7-UP. “It’s still songwriting and musical expression, but the input is different,” she says. “Instead of connecting to how I’m feeling, digging inside myself for my own shit to expose, I’m connecting to the scenes and how it feels to be in each scene and translating that emotion to music. She sees each project as a great writing exercise. “Whether it’s a Pepsi commercial, a movie or a beauty product, [it] always keeps me working those muscles to being able to adapt to different vibes and always create new sounds,” she says.
DeMaria’s own solo album is due out next year, and she’s been collaborating with a mix of producers, like LEFTI and Che Pope (who’s worked with Kanye West, 50 Cent and Lauryn Hill) on it. “Having always created and produced in all styles it’s been awesome blending all of my influences into a sound that feels unique to me with no boundaries,” she says. “That was the way I founded my band TAT, and our debut album ‘Soho Lights’ is home to a bunch of songs that vary in style, though not as much as I would have wanted.” She’s looking forward to being able to push her sound a little more, with future tours and performances. “I love having both — albeit focusing on my solo stuff exclusively as I move forward, there may still be TAT releases and tours in future,” she says.
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