Popular Music News

Scary Pockets covers Alicia Keys’ “If I Ain’t Got You”

October 13, 2017

close Scary Pockets is a Los Angeles funk band that features four USC Thornton alumni. Vocalist Kenton Chen (’10, Popular Music), guitarist Ryan Lerman (’09, Studio/Jazz Guitar), drummer Ben Rose (a Dornsife grad who majored in Jazz Studies for one year), bassist Sam Wilkes (’13, Popular Music), and keyboardist Jack Conte recently recorded a cover […]


Student Karli Webster makes a strong debut on The Voice

October 4, 2017

close USC Thornton junior Karli Webster has officially joined Team Miley on NBC’s The Voice. During her blind audition on the October 3rd episode of the hit singing show, Karli received nods from Adam Levine and Miley Cyrus, eventually choosing to work with Cyrus. The 20-year-old Music Industry major, originally from Santa Clarita, California, has […]


Andriana Balic named to list of “Female Music Professors that Inspire Us”

September 7, 2017

College Magazine recently included Adriana Balic on its list of “10 Female Music Professors that Inspire Us.” Balic, who is known for her performance work with pop superstar P!nk, teaches songwriting in USC Thornton’s Popular Music Program. Balic has previously performed with artists, including Sheila E, Il Divo, Brenda Russell, Peabo Bryson, Norman Brown, Everett […]


Applications are now open for the LA Phil’s Hack Music LA

August 29, 2017

Applications are now open for Hack Music LA, a two-day event (October 7 & 8) that will bring together 75 of the country’s most creative makers to develop tools and experiences to expand music for all. The innovative, music-inspired hackathon is hosted by the LA Phil in partnership with the USC Thornton School of Music […]


Sophomore Madeliene Mayi releases new EP – with help from Music Industry students

May 5, 2017

Sophomore Popular Music student Madeleine Meyer — known professionally as Madeleine Mayi — is riding on a wave of success. Her first single, “You Want More,” earned 16,000 plays in less than three weeks, to the praise of Indie Shuffle and Ear to the Ground. On Friday, May 5th, Mayi released “Strawberry Hair,” the last […]


Thornton students to participate in serendipitous Sofar Sounds concert

April 27, 2017

Four USC Thornton Popular Music students will perform on the evening of Sunday, April 30th as part of the Sofar Sounds performance series on the USC campus. The series aims to create buzz by presenting unannounced musical artists in secretive locations, which are revealed to audiences just before each event. Music Industry faculty member Loren […]


Popular Music chair Patrice Rushen speaks at Amherst College

April 18, 2017

USC Thornton Popular Music chair Patrice Rushen was recently invited to Amherst College in Massachusetts to speak about the importance of popular music in higher education. As part of the “New Perspectives in American Music” lecture series, Rushen detailed how Thornton’s Popular Music program has filled an under-served niche in musical curriculum. The discussion was […]


Pop alumna Maddie Ross profiled in “Billboard”

April 14, 2017

USC Thornton Popular Music alumna Maddie Ross (’14) is the focus of a feature profile in Billboard, which explores her innovative and entrepreneurial approach to music-making. Placing her recent single, “You’re Still My Sugar,” among “the best rock songs released this year,” the article survey’s Ross’s creative process, her podcast, coming out as queer, and […]


Popular Music alums, MUNA featured in heartwarming Vice video

April 6, 2017

The band MUNA, which was formed by Thornton Popular Music alumni Katie Gavin (BA ’15) and Josette Maskin (’16), along with Naomi McPherson, recently sat down to record a video for Vice’s Noisey series “Call Your Dad” — but things didn’t go exactly as planned. When band member Josette rang up her South African father […]


Vice Dean Chris Sampson remembers legendary guitarist Chuck Berry

March 28, 2017

USC Thornton Vice Dean of Contemporary Music, Chris Sampson, was recently quoted in a Los Angeles Wave article honoring the life of legendary guitarist Chuck Berry, who passed away earlier this month. Describing Berry as “a great rock poet” whose lyricism and stage presence brought a new interpretation to R&B music, Sampson explained that Berry’s […]


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