Popular Music News

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Ludwig Göransson featured on new single from Vargas and Lagola

February 10, 2020

USC Thornton Screen Scoring alum Ludwig Göransson (GC ’08) is featured on a new single from Swedish songwriters and producers Vargas & Lagola, titled “Somebody That Understands Me.” The ‘80s rock-inspired song includes an extended guitar solo by Göransson, who’s most known for his GRAMMY and Oscar-winning work as a producer and composer. Vargas & […]


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King Princess nominated for GLAAD Media Award

January 28, 2020

King Princess, known off-stage as Mikaela Straus, has been nominated for a 2020 GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Music Artist. Her nomination comes after the success of her debut album, Cheap Queen, that released in the fall of 2019. Straus is a non-degreed USC Thornton alum who studied in the popular music program. Her keyboardist, […]


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Nate Sloan talks pop evolution with The Wall Street Journal

December 16, 2019

Musicology faculty member Nate Sloan and podcast co-host Charlie Harding recently sat down with The Wall Street Journal to talk about the pop history and analysis they cover in both their popular podcast, Switched on Pop, and now their book of the same name which released on Dec. 13. Sloan, who studies the history and […]


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King Princess performs for Cindi Lauper’s annual benefit show for LGBTQ homeless youth

December 15, 2019

Mikaela Straus, a non-degreed Popular Music alum who performs under the name King Princess, recently performed for Cindi Lauper’s annual benefit concert, Home for the Holidays, which supports LGBTQ homeless youth. Straus sang her hit single “Hit the Back” off of her debut album “Cheap Queen,” before joining a duet of Lauper’s “Time After Time” […]


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Nate Sloan to release new book about mechanics of popular music

December 3, 2019

Popular music scholar and Musicology faculty member Nate Sloan will release a new book, “How Popular Music Works, and Why It Matters,” on Dec. 13, co-authored with songwriter and podcasting partner Charlie Harding. The pair host the popular podcast “Switched on Pop,” which, like their forthcoming book, makes pop music history accessible and deconstructs the […]


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King Princess to make SNL debut and open for Harry Styles on tour

November 20, 2019

Mikaela Straus, who performs under the name King Princess, will make her Saturday Night Live debut on Nov. 23 with host Will Ferrell. Straus is a non-degreed alum of the USC Thornton Popular Music program, and has become an emerging alt-pop sensation. Her band includes Popular Music alum Melody Ector (BM ’19) on keyboard. The […]


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Amir Kelly and Ayoni Thompson named among Best Young Music Artists of 2019

November 16, 2019

Two USC Thornton Popular Music students, Amir Kelly and Ayoni Thompson, were recently named to PopSugar Magazine’s list of Best Young Music Artists 2019. The list highlights talented up-and-coming artists who are soon to make waves in pop music. Senior Amir Kelly creates music he describes as “Blindian Pop,” a nod to his Black and […]


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Nate Sloan weighs in on new era of “Anxiety Pop”

October 23, 2019

Musicology professor Nate Sloan was recently quoted in an Elle Magazine article about the origins of “Anxiety Pop,” a new genere of popular music often characterized by upbeat music with sad lyrics. Sloan says that, throughout history, “the worse society is doing, the more bubbly and escapist pop music becomes.” While popular music may once […]


Will Kennedy pictured with drumset

Watch Will Kennedy perform in Zildjian LIVE! video series

September 24, 2019

Will Kennedy, drummer and Popular Music program faculty member, was recently featured in an episode of Zildjian LIVE! performing his song “6 4 U” with band Ghost-Note. Kennedy invited USC Thornton drum students to attend the live taping to see his performance and get a behind the scenes look at the production. The song will […]


Patrice Rushen singing at piano

Patrice Rushen returns to Monterey Jazz Festival with Christian McBride Situation

September 23, 2019

Patrice Rushen, chair of the USC Thornton Popular Music program, was recently featured in the San Francisco Chronicle ahead of her return to the Monterey Jazz Festival on September 27 with the Christian McBride Situation. Rushen first performed at the festival as a senior in high school in 1972, when she led her combo to […]


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