John Nordstrom: The Composer Behind The Music of ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’

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John Nordstrom: The Composer Behind The Music of ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’

Find out what composer John Nordstrom has to say about music heard on "The Bold and the Beautiful" and what role it plays in the making of the daytime soap.

By Errol Lewis
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John Nordstrom
Kailyn Avery Photography

John Nordstrom is the Daytime Emmy Award-winning composer behind the music heard during each episode of “The Bold and the Beautiful.” In this role, he watches every episode, ensuring that the music he composes is well integrated into scenes and that the show’s library consists of distinguishable variations of the same themes, sometimes as many as 20 iterations of each, so that fresh material is available where and whenever needed by the show’s music editor.

Since joining the show in 2013, after previously composing music for “One Tree Hill” and “Judge Joe Brown,” among other shows, Nordstrom has composed more than 2,000 themes for “The Bold and the Beautiful.”

In honor of the release of “The Bold and the Beautiful (Music from the Series Volume Two),” Soap Opera Network recently sat down with Nordstrom, where we learned more about his work, how music fits into the series’ atmosphere, and how he convinced producers to bring music from the show straight to the fans.

The Bold and the Beautiful (Music from the Series Volume Two), The Bold and the Beautiful, The Bold & the Beautiful, Bold and the Beautiful, Bold & the Beautiful, Bold and Beautiful, Bold & Beautiful, B&B, #BoldandBeautiful
“The Bold and the Beautiful (Music from the Series Volume Two)”
3726691 Records DK/Bell-Phillip TV Productions, Inc.

Meet John Nordstrom

Although John Nordstrom is based in Los Angeles, you might be surprised to learn that he lives and spends much of his time in Sun Valley, Idaho. There, he composed many of the tracks heard in Volume Two, something made possible by modern technology and the work-from-home era.

Despite not being on set all the time, Nordstrom watches the show every day as it helps him keep up with what music from the show’s vast library is being used by the music editor and producers, particularly how often. This fact is important, Nordstrom notes, because “If I’ve given them a version that they really like, and they’ve used it quite a few times, then I’ll send over a fresh version so that the music editor has options, and he doesn’t have to play the same exact piece every time if he wants that feel.”

Even with such a large catalog to choose from, Nordstrom continues adding to it, “complementing it with new, fresh pieces,” as evident by the release of Volume Two, which comprises music primarily composed within the last year to year and a half.

“Probably the oldest pieces [on the album] have been Finn and Steffy reunited, and then everything else was composed very recently,” Nordstrom states, giving insight on the addition of the first two tracks off the album that highlights the romance between “SINN,” the couple name dubbed by fans of Steffy Forrester and John “Finn” Finnegan (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood and Tanner Novlan) as they reunited in Monaco.

The Thought Process

Jacqueline MacInnes Wood, Tanner Novlan, Steffy Forrester, John "Finn" Finnegan, SINN, The Bold and the Beautiful, Bold and Beautiful, Bold & Beautiful, B&B, #BoldandBeautiful
Tanner Novlan, Jacqueline MacInnes Wood (“The Bold and the Beautiful”)
Sean Smith/CBS

“[When] I write music for SINN, or Steffy, where it needs a playfulness, then I’ll write one that has that. If it needs darkness to it, or if there’s a darkness that’s kind of hovering over the storyline and the scene, I’ll write a version with some dark strings or some low depth to it,” says Nordstrom of the difference in tone to each theme. “Every theme kind of needs to cover a lot of different types of scenes.”

Having options available also helps the music editor, particularly as how an actor performs a scene on screen sometimes differs from what’s written on the page. “The actors play it differently, obviously. They can play any way they want. But if the written page ends up having a different feel when they actually shoot it, then the music editor will [already] have what he needs to be able to add the mood,” points out Nordstrom.

Evolution of Music

John Nordstrom, Bradley P. Bell, The Bold and the Beautiful, The Bold & the Beautiful, Bold and the Beautiful, Bold & the Beautiful, Bold and Beautiful, Bold & Beautiful, B&B, #BoldandBeautiful
John Nordstrom, Bradley P. Bell
Sean Smith/Bell-Phillip TV Productions, Inc.

The idea to release music from “The Bold and the Beautiful” stems from Nordstrom’s previous experience as a composer for the series “One Tree Hill,” where fans of that show would write to him and post montages online using music he scored, a fact that led him to approach producers of the daytime drama series, particularly [executive producer and head writer] Bradley P. Bell.

“He had such respect for the fans that he immediately said, ‘Great, let’s do it!’” Nordstrom recalled the conversation he had with Bell, which led to the 2022 release of Volume One, consisting of 35 tracks. “It’s a very long collection of themes just because we had been working on the show for almost a decade,” noted Nordstrom.

As for Volume Two, consisting of just 21 tracks, Nordstrom reveals he approached producers about it only very recently, and it, too, didn’t take much to convince them. “I just approached them again and said, ‘Hey, can we do Volume Two?’ They immediately made a piece of artwork for me, and two weeks later, it was up there, ready to stream.” 

When asked about the differences between composing music for a daytime series to that of a primetime show like “One Tree Hill,” Nordstrom says it pretty much boils down to quantity. “The amount of shows that ‘Bold and Beautiful’ has to produce every year, just the amazing turnaround, and the creative output that everybody on the team has to come up with, I would say that’s the biggest difference, but also just the fact that I that it’s a library of music, and just writing thousands and thousands of themes,” he shares.

While the music library continues to grow, Nordstrom still enjoys it when older themes are used in newer episodes. “I love the fact that they get used, that they come in and out of the show, and something that I wrote 10 years ago will come on today’s show,” he says, adding, “I just love revisiting something that I did a long time ago and hearing it coming out of the speakers, each one you’re connected to emotionally.”

Like some fans of the show, Nordstrom does not seek out what’s going to happen ahead of time, instead preferring to see how things play out on screen after the episodes are completed. “I like to see the aesthetic of how they shoot and how the actors approach everything,” he points out about his viewing habits. 

“I really like to watch it when finished. So I’m just as shocked as everybody else. I mean, there’s stuff that I was not tipped off on that my wife would walk in, and we would both just be screaming because we can’t believe what’s happening,” exclaims Nordstrom. “I love the shock factor. I love being surprised. And so I don’t I don’t read ahead.”

What won’t come as a surprise is the release of Volume Three. While not currently in development, Nordstrom shares that another release will come at some point, and could include some older material. “I’m always writing new stuff, but I think what I’ll try and do is sneak in some of the older ones that weren’t on Volume One and Volume Two. I’ll try and sneak in a few of those,” he says.

Combined, music from “The Bold and the Beautiful” Volume One and Volume Two consist of nearly four hours of material, totaling 56 tracks. They are both available now on most music streaming services, including Apple Music and Spotify.

You can preview some of the tracks below.

To stream Volume One on Apple Music, click here. You can also stream on Spotify. Volume Two can be streamed here on Apple Music or here on Spotify.

“The Bold and the Beautiful” airs weekdays on CBS. For those with a Paramount+ with SHOWTIME subscription, you can also stream the series LIVE and On Demand.