Take the Lead

This year is the tenth anniversary of the release of a film called Take the Lead starring Antonio Banderas. I was fortunate enough to work on some of the soundtrack of the movie.

Director Liz Friedlander and New Line Cinema needed a piece of music to make a crucial scene work. The scene was a turning point in the movie. An old school ballroom dance teacher finally connects with troubled kids when their different styles of music are mashed together perfectly.

I (under the name McSleazy) was approached with the task of mixing June Christy’s take on Irving Berlin’s “You Can’t Take That Away from Me” with a string of hip hop tracks in perfect sync to the scene. What could have been an easy job was further complicated by copyright hell and lawyer intervention as sample clearance provided the film makers with ongoing problems.

Angie, who was the most wonderful musical contact to have, would call and break the bad news to me. Lawyers had found more problems with the samples, or a tune that we were using didn’t itself have sample clearance. It went on and on. We got there in the end. I created dozens of versions of the tune until the men in grey suits could sign their contracts.

Not only do versions of the mix feature on the ‘Take the Lead’ soundtrack cd but a further edit was made for TV promo spots.


Here’s a clip from the director’s commentary where they discuss the work put into this scene.

It’s probably the case that I may be the only person from Scotland to have co-writing credits with both George & Ira Gershwin and Eric B & Rakim – at least for the same song!


  1. 31 March 2016

    I love that movie! Havent watched it in ages, thats movie night sorted. Thats a great achievement, i love movie soundtracks, ive discovered some great artists through buying them. 🙂

  2. 31 March 2016

    I’ve never seen this film but always think it looks good when I see it advertised on TV, I’ll have to make sure I watch it next time x

  3. 31 March 2016

    Oh well done, although I’m embarrassed to say, I haven’t seen that movie. Must put it on our Cinema Pardiso list 😉

  4. 31 March 2016

    oh I haven’t seen it but it sounds like an old classic

  5. 31 March 2016

    I’ve never seen this movie either but it looks good, and I love Antonio Banderes! Thanks for sharing!!

  6. 31 March 2016

    I am sure I have seen this film, but it was a long time ago!

  7. 31 March 2016

    I’ve never seen this but what a great achievement and a brilliant claim to fame. Sounds like a bit of a nightmare with copyright though.

  8. 31 March 2016

    I’ve never seen it – but how cool to have worked on the sound track

  9. 1 April 2016

    Wow! What an amazing experience!

  10. This is amazing!! Definitely a great experience! I think I have watched the movie but I’m not 100% sure. I love Antonio Banderas. Love your stories. 🙂

  11. 2 April 2016

    How fantastic for you, well done on being credited in the film and the film clip. I have not seen the film but will certainly check it out

  12. 3 April 2016

    Woweeeee! You’re famous! The most famous Grant in Scotland! That’s so cool. 30 edits though…phew that must have been tough! My folks love that film!

  13. 7 April 2016

    WOW! You have worked in the soundtrack of the movie? That’s awesome! Do you play any instruments, which ones?

  14. 11 April 2016

    That is awesome!!!!! I love that film!!

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