SFCM Grad Scores Super Bowl Commercial
Michelangelo Rodriguez ‘19, helped write the original music section of BMW’s Super Bowl ad starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Salma Hayek. WATCH BELOW.
By Mark Taylor
The fight on the field on Super Bowl Sunday is typically for a touchdown, but one recent SFCM graduate is celebrating another score, one he made himself. Michelangelo Rodriguez composed the original music section of car-maker giant BMW’s Super Bowl commercial.
The opportunity came through music production house Squeak E. Clean Studios in Los Angeles where he is a studio assistant in advertisement, “To be involved in the process and to see the behind the scenes work of such a high profile project was a tremendous learning experience for me,” Rodriguez said. The global studio works with a number of high-profile companies doing everything from original music, to scoring, and experimental audio.
The commercial promotes the car company's new electric vehicle, the BMW iX, and features actor and ex-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as Greek God Zeus, and actress Salma Hayek as Hera. Rodriguez and his colleagues were tasked with composing the music and sound under the storyline of Zeus retiring from his Godly duties and moving to Palm Springs, CA with his wife Hera. “I had the absolute privilege of writing a demo for the original music section, and eventually had my track go final,” Rodriguez said. While he is proud of his work and humbled by the experience he calls the final product truly a team effort, “The biggest props to everyone at Squeak E. Clean Studios, every day I go to work I'm reminded of all the talent I'm surrounded by, and it's a privilege to get to help out the team,” he added.
Rodriguez arrived at SFCM in 2016 as a freshman piano player with no formal composition experience but knew he wanted to write music. Rodriguez, a Milton Salkind Scholarship recipient, studied all four undergraduate years with instructor and composer David Garner whom he credits for making him the musician he is today, “He never tried to change my writing, my style, or who I was as a composer, and I thank him for that. Instead, he helped me become a more cultivated and polished version of myself,” Rodriguez continued, “I wouldn’t be the same composer without him.” When he decided to focus more on writing music for media, Garner supported him through education and support, “I can even see the effects of my training at SFCM reflected in my writing today, including on the BMW commercial,” he said.
During his time at the Conservatory Rodriguez developed a reputation for trying new things and working hard at his craft. Garner remembers him as a student who excelled quickly, and is not surprised by his recent win, “Now and then there comes a student who has the foresight to take advantage of everything the San Francisco Conservatory has to offer,” Garner continued, “Michelangelo is proof of how quickly one can succeed if all the resources available here are used with courage and tenacity.”
After graduating from SFCM in 2019 Rodriguez furthered his education by attending a masters program, then secured his position at Squeak E. Clean Studios in 2021. He plans to keep making music and developing his voice as a composer, “I love to blend genres in my music and am always looking for new and unusual combinations of instruments to play with,” he said. After achieving such an exciting opportunity so early in his career, he is optimistic about what comes next, “As long as you love what you’re doing, and you’re having fun doing it, that’s the most important part.”
You can watch the BMW iX Super Bowl commercial below.
Learn more about studying composition at SFCM.