Popular Music News

Photo of Amir Kelly and Ayoni Thompson

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 […]


Photo of Nate Sloan on tan background

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 […]


Photo of band Sir, Please performing on stage

USC Thornton students to perform at KAABOO Festival

September 10, 2019

USC Thornton Popular Music students Marshall Via (’21) and Shane Cronin (’22) will perform at the KAABOO Del Mar festival on Sat., Sept 14 with their band, Sir, Please. Their performance, part of the festival’s Amplify (VIP) lineup, will feature a horn section of current students from the Jazz Studies program: Sam Shapiro (’21), Gray […]


Muna featured on NPR’s Morning Edition

September 4, 2019

Muna, the acclaimed band that formed while students in USC Thornton’s Popular Music program, were featured on NPR’s Morning Edition to discuss relationships and their ability to connect. NPR said: “The band’s latest album, Saves the World, is a shimmering homage to that cause.” “I’ve learned so much from them about intimacy, and what it […]


Patrice Rushen singing at piano

Patrice Rushen featured in New York Times

July 22, 2019

“We’re living in Patrice Rushen’s world. We just might not know it yet.” That is how the New York Times summed up the 40-year career of Patrice Rushen in a feature on the chair of the USC Thornton Popular Music program. The article went on to explain that Rushen succeeded in making impactful jazz music […]


Patrice Rushen to release compilation

July 1, 2019

On July 19, Patrice Rushen, Chair of USC Thornton’s Popular Music program, will release a new 15-track compilation, Remind Me: The Classic Elektra Recordings 1978 – 1984, on Strut Records. The project will include all of the legendary R&B artist’s chart singles from that period, including “Forget Me Nots,” “Feels So Real,” and “Haven’t You […]


Jej Visnon performs at the 2018 Popular Music Senior Showcase. (Photo by Dario Driffin/USC Thornton)

USC Thornton represented in the top 24 of NBC’s “The Voice”

May 1, 2019

Two contestants who performed live in the round of 24 of NBC’s The Voice Monday night were–past and future–USC Thornton signers. Popular Music alumnus Jej Vinson ’18 punched his ticket into the final 13 with his performance of “Love Lives” by Khalid and Normani. Dominic Haynes, who deferred his admittance to USC Thornton to pursue […]


California Jazz Foundation honors Patrice Rushen

April 23, 2019

Patrice Rushen, chair of USC Thornton’s Popular Music Program, was awarded the prestigious Nica award by the California Jazz Foundation (CJF) earlier this month. The CJF bestows the honor to musicians who exemplify the legacy of Baroness Ponnica de Koenigswarter, a British-born jazz patron and writer who was a leader of bebop music. Robert Cutietta, […]


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