Popular Music News from the 2015-2016 Academic Year

Melissa Manchester premieres new musical in Houston

April 26, 2016

Musician, songwriter, and USC Thornton Popular Music faculty member Melissa Manchester recently premiered a new musical, The Sweet Potato Queens, at Houston’s Theatre Under the Stars (TUTS) Underground. Based on the well known book series by Jill Conner Browne, the musical tells the story of a woman learning to live on her own terms. The […]


Musicologist Joanna Demers awarded research scholarship

April 18, 2016

USC Thornton Musicology faculty member Joanna Demers has received an Advancing Scholarship in the Humanities and Social Sciences research grant from the University of Southern California Provost’s Office. The grant was awarded in acknowledgement of her forthcoming book, Musical Fictions: Conditions for the Possibility of Popular Music. Demers’ research covers popular and experimental music, philosophy, […]


Up-and-coming pop singer Rozzi Crane discusses new projects

April 15, 2016

Last month, Teen Vogue published a profile of USC Thornton alumna Rozzi Crane, a rising pop star. The site premiered Crane’s latest music video, “The Thought of You,” the second song on her EP, Time. Vogue praised the singer’s “unique, full voice” and told readers to expect Crane to continue to dazzle the popular music […]


USC Thornton students and ensembles perform at the 2016 Festival of Books

April 7, 2016

This weekend, an estimated 150,000 book-lovers will descend on the USC campus for the annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, April 9 & 10. In addition to the hundreds of readings, signings, and literary festivities, the USC Stage at Hanh Plaza will present an exciting lineup of musicians and ensembles, including a number of […]


Chris Sampson interviewed by The Sound 100.3 FM

March 4, 2016

Chris Sampson, Vice Dean of Contemporary Music at USC Thornton, was interviewed on The Sound 100.3 recently about Thornton’s innovative Popular Music program, of which he is the founding director. Sampson spoke about his tenure at USC, his experiences working with award-winning Contemporary Music students, and the musical icons that he has invited to perform […]


Vocalist Melissa Manchester hits the road on international tour

February 23, 2016

Melissa Manchester, GRAMMY Award-winning vocalist and faculty member in the USC Thornton Popular Music program, is hitting the road on an international tour, beginning this month in Palm Beach, Florida. The tour, which will continue on to the Philippines, Washington state, New York, Las Vegas, and beyond, will feature songs off of her 2015 album, […]


Ben Bram and Scott Hoying win second GRAMMY Awards with Pentatonix

February 16, 2016

USC Thornton alums Ben Bram (’10, music industry) and Scott Hoying won their second GRAMMY Awards last night for their arrangement of Pentatonix’s “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy,” from the a cappella super-group’s “That’s Christmas to Me” album. For the second straight year, the duo won for Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella, the […]


MUNA’s “Loudspeaker” at #1 on list of 50 best songs of 2015

January 14, 2016

The band MUNA, which was formed by USC Thornton Popular Music graduate Katie Gavin (BA ’15), current student Josette Maskin (BM ’16), along with Naomi McPherson, took the top spot in ShortList‘s “50 Best Songs of 2015.” The annual rundown, which highlights the publication’s favorite tracks from “big, small, old and new artists alike,” praised […]


USC Thornton ranks high on Hollywood Reporter’s list of top music schools

December 1, 2015

The Hollywood Reporter recently profiled USC Thornton on its list of the “Top 25 Music Schools of 2015,” ranking the school at number three. The profile noted that Thornton’s proximity to Los Angeles’ film and music industries fosters unparalleled opportunities for graduates of the school’s Contemporary Music Division, particularly in programs such as Music Industry, […]


Popular Music senior Katie Stump releases EP

October 23, 2015

Katie Stump, a senior in the USC Thornton Popular Music program, has released a new album, “Feels Like Home.” The Daily Trojan notes that the EP originated with a chance meeting in an airport, followed by more than a year of writing and recording in collaboration with producer Mikal Blue. Stump’s style has matured to […]


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