Music Men

August 3, 2012
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By John Burton

Area residents’ song featured in movie

Area residents Chris Corley and Jon D’Agostino have to admit, things have been getting pretty cool for them lately as they have seen their creative efforts gaining recognition.

“I think we both started a new chapter in our lives in the last year,” Corley said. “We’ve been at it for a long time.”

Corley and D’Agostino are a songwriting team who have been working together for the last handful of years and now have seen one of their songs used in a movie.

The song, “Leave Our Worries,” a reggae/pop number, performed by Michael Lusk and the band Serendipity, appears during the opening credits of Thin Ice, a comedy/thriller starring Greg Kinnear, Alan Arkin, Billy Crudup and Lea Thompson. Released in theaters earlier this year, the film is now available on DVD.

Corley believes he and D’Agostino are “on to something here,” with their collaboration.

The two men met when D’Agostino answered Corley’s ad on Craig’s List offering music lessons and D’Agostino was looking for lessons for his daughter. Corley, 36, lives in Middletown and along with writing music he plays and teaches guitar. D’Agostino, a 47-year-old Holmdel resident who is a lawyer, has been writing song lyrics in his spare time for the past 10 years.

“I’ve been a writer pretty much my whole life,” D’Agostino said, having tried his hand at poetry, short stories, screenplays and, of course, songs. But about 10 years ago, after the death of his father, D’Agostino wrote a song in response to that heartbreak. It was then that he “got very serious about songwriting.” He began concentrating on it, traveling regularly to Nashville to work with other writers and artists on his songs.

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D’Agostino has had some solo success and one of his songs was used in the soundtrack of the 2011 film Dark Horse, with Christopher Walken.

Together, however, the two have found a formula that they believe works. “It’s a combination of strengths. When I hear the melody (by Corley), it’s more than trying to figure what to write,” he said. “Your imagination just runs wild and I love it.”

According to Corley, the two have collaborated and completed about 15 songs. “We have a really great writing repertoire,” he said. The combination continues to bear fruit, as another of their songs was just incorporated into an episode of Mrs. Eastwood and Company, on the E! network, Corley said.

The duo works with Crucial Music, a Los Angeles-based company, which negotiates to get artists’ songs used in movies, on TV and in advertising. “It was extremely hard to get a song placed with them,” D’Agostino said. The company accepts material not necessarily for its creativity but for its marketability. “They only accept songs they believe they can get placed,” he said.

Corley is doing what he has always wanted – earning his living through music – as he plays regularly with a trio, teaches, and works with D’Agostino. “It’s been quite a trek,” to reach this point, he said. “It’s worth it but it’s definitely been intense.”

D’Agostino said, while he has no plans on giving up his day job as a lawyer, the songwriting is here to stay. “I don’t know what the future holds but I write because I love to write.”

There have been leads on some of his other songs, too, as his representatives have told him Sony Music has expressed some interest in a song for American Idol star Scotty McCreery. “So if they love it and he loves it, anything can happen,” D’Agostino noted.

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Later in the month he’ll have another big break as a songwriter when he and his daughter dance to a song he wrote for her years ago at her wedding.

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