Popular Music News from the 2018-2019 Academic Year

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, […]

Festival of Books

USC Thornton musicians take the stage at the 2019 LA Times Festival of Books

April 12, 2019

Over 150,000 Angelenos will make their way to USC’s University Park campus this weekend for the annual LA Times Festival of Books. The two-day festival, taking place April 13-14, is a world-renowned gathering of writers, poets, artists, filmmakers, musicians and emerging storytellers. As part of the programming, attendees will watch an impressive lineup of USC […]

Elizabeth Gaba brings ‘American Idol’ judges to tears

March 21, 2019

On Sunday, Elizabeth Gaba, a second-year USC Thornton Popular Music student, earned a spot in the Hollywood round of ABC’s American Idol with her fantastic performance of Adele’s “All I Ask.” American Idol chronicled how the lives of Gaba and Amy Throckmorton, the woman who donated an egg for her birth, have changed since they […]

Patrice Rushen interviewed by Reverb

March 19, 2019

Reverb recently featured Patrice Rushen, Chair of the Popular Music program, in an article titled, “Mastery Over Marketing: An Interview With Patrice Rushen.” In this article, the pop music icon and Thornton faculty member discusses her love for piano, her relationship to Quincy Jones, her compositional style and what it means to be a contemporary […]

Beloved professor Ndugu Chancler passed away last February.

LA Philharmonic Association to honor Ndugu Chancler

March 7, 2019

The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association will honor the late Ndugu Chancler, a former USC Thornton Jazz Studies and Popular Music faculty member, during the 41st annual Playboy Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl, June 8-9. Hosted by George Lopez, the celebration of Chancler will be held with Patrice Rushen, Chair of Thornton’s Popular Music program, […]

Jej Vinson performs at USC in 2017. (Photo by MJ Orpiano)

Jej Vinson excels on ‘The Voice’

March 5, 2019

Last night, USC Thornton Popular Music alum Jej Vinson won a spot on NBC’s The Voice with a performance of Drake’s “Passionfruit” that stunned the judges ­– Kelly Clarkson, Adam Levine, John Legend and Blake Shelton. Shelton said, “We all feel like we’re looking at the winner of The Voice this season,” before the 22-year-old […]

MUNA featured on B-sides and badlands

February 21, 2019

MUNA, the hit band formed by USC Thornton Popular Music alumnae Katie Gavin ’15, Joesette Maskin ’16 and Naomi McPherson ’15 is featured on B-sides and Badlands’ Hook & Reel, a series showcasing music. They praise MUNA’s debut album, “About U” as still being a “queer-pop masterpiece” even two years after its release.


Rozzi’s new music video featured on MTV

February 11, 2019

MTV featured USC Thornton Popular Music alumna Rozzi Crane’s ‘13 new single, “Bad Together,” from her debut album of the same name, released in November 2018. Rozzi, as she is known professionally, wrote the song in a hotel in Laguna Beach after an emotional break-up. She said of the video, “it’s a very personal song […]

Will Kennedy pictured with drumset

Big beats that were hard to replace

February 8, 2019

Celebrated drummer Will Kennedy joined the USC Thornton Popular Music faculty this fall, taking over for the late Ndugu Chancler, a longtime faculty member beloved by students and faculty alike. Kennedy was first invited to campus as one of “The Magnificent Seven,” seven remarkable drummers Patrice Rushen, chair of the Popular Music program, called upon […]

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