Patsavas was born in Chicago, Illinois and she's of Greek descent. Although under the influence of parents with a musical taste ranging from rock to opera, Patsavas wanted to study politics until her high school years when she developed an interest in music, attending rock concerts, buying LPs and being "the kid with the bad '80s haircut who went to all the clubs and shows". She enrolled in the University of Illinois but dropped out during her junior year.
She has worked in the music department of over sixty different films and television series. From there she joined the BMI music agency, then worked on over fifty Roger Corman B-movies, made-for-television movies and other films, until in 1999 she finally broke into television, with her own music company Chop Shop Music Supervision, on the series Roswell and began to work primarily on TV series, including Fastlane, Boston Public, Tru Calling, 1-800-Missing and Criminal Minds. In 2007 alone, she covered dozens of episodes of the series Without a Trace, Shark, Rescue Me and Mad Men, although her most notable work has been on the series The O.C., Grey's Anatomy and its spin-off Private Practice, Supernatural, Chuck and Gossip Girl.
Her work on The O.C. involved the selecting, mixing and supervising of all the tracks that featured in the show, as well as on the six soundtracks that followed. Her work was also substantially made up of approaching bands and artists about recording covers and requesting licensing permission to include songs on the show and in the mixes. Because her ongoing search for suitable songs often leads to unsigned or non-mainstream performers, she is partially responsible for re-surfacing the trend of music promotion through television since The Flaming Lips's appearance in Beverly Hills, 90210, particularly on Grey's Anatomy with songs such as Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars" and The Fray's "How to Save a Life", which both saw huge success after being featured in the show. Following this trend was the Beastie Boys' single "Ch-Check It Out" which debuted in an episode of The O.C., even before its premiere on the radio. Josh Schwartz, who originally hired Patsavas for The O.C., which he created, re-hired her for Gossip Girl and Chuck, both of which he created, after seeing the success that she brought to both The O.C. and the songs and artists featured in it. Her work on Gossip Girl brought in many New York-orientated bands (for the show's setting) and other popular songs including Fergie's "Glamorous" for the series' promotional video.
Chop Shop Music Supervision, Patsavas' own firm, became its own music label, Chop Shop Records, in 2007 after a deal with Atlantic Records. The label's roster includes Anya Marina, Scars on 45 (both of whom were featured on Grey's Anatomy), Macintosh Braun, Milo Greene, The Republic Tigers and the Twilight soundtracks.
Alexandra's been nominated three times for the "Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media" Grammy Award. Her first nomination was for the compilation of Grey's Anatomy Original Soundtrack, Vol. 2, the only television soundtrack in the category, shared with producer Mitchell Leib and the various artists that were featured in the album. Her other nominations (both with Paul Katz) were for the Twilight (soundtrack) and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (soundtrack), each of which were released on her label Chop Shop Records.
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- Independent Music Awards - Past Judges
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