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The 2021 Pop Convergence: A Virtual Pop Conference, April 22-25th
Artwork by Alex Nero; Design by The Art Dictator

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Thursday, April 22
 

3:00pm PDT

Fluxed: Making Popular Music In the Midst of Change and Transition (Keynote Talk with Devonté Hynes, Roísín Murphy, Rostam, Tamara Lindeman, Ann Powers)
FLUXED: MAKING POPULAR MUSIC IN THE MIDST OF CHANGE AND TRANSITION
A online keynote panel in collaboration with NPR Music
and New York University’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music

featuring
DEVONTÉ HYNES (AKA BLOOD ORANGE)
ROÍSÍN MURPHY
ROSTAM
TAMARA LINDEMAN (of the WEATHER STATION)


Moderated by ANN POWERS, writer, NPR Music
Produced by JASON KING, New York University

When:
Thursday April 22nd at 6 pm ET
Go to NPR Music’s YouTube www.youtube.com/nprmusic
This event is free and open to the public. Please register in advance.

To kick off a four-day special “Convergence” version of the annual Pop Conference, the
keynote conversation invites a panel of four artists thriving within the highly
volatile environment of contemporary popular music to discuss how the spirit
and realities of change both challenge and inspire them. From taking on the
themes of transformation and precariousness in their own music, to fully
exploring what new technologies can communicate, to coping with a radically
altered social and economic landscape, musicians must act at the forefront of
new 21st-century modes of being. This open-ended conversation connects the
transforming craft and business of music-making to the art of capturing musical
meanings in a highly turbulent world.

The panel’s participants are leaders in reimagining what music and its cultures can be:
singer-songwriter-auteur Devonté Hynes, whose work under many different names
(Blood Orange, Lightspeed Champion) exemplifies the refusal to adhere to
outdated categories; producer and musician Rostam, who has been instrumental in
defining the anti-genre sound of 21st century pop; singer, songwriter and
producer Roísín Murphy, whose dance-inspired music finds the point where past
meets future, and Tamara Lindeman, who records as the Weather Station and
models how the singer-songwriter role is changing in response to both exploding
musical categories and a world in crisis. Ann Powers, NPR Music Critic and author of many books, most recently Good Booty: Love and Sex, Black and White, Body and Soul, moderates. The event is produced by Jason King, hosted by New York University’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, and presented in conjunction with NPR Music.

Speakers
avatar for Devonté Hynes

Devonté Hynes

Devonté Hynes is a producer, multi-instrumentalist, composer, songwriter and vocalist. Raised in England, he started in the punk band Test Icicles before releasing two orchestral acoustic pop records as Lightspeed Champion. Since 2011, Devonté has released four solo albums under... Read More →
avatar for Rostam

Rostam

Rostam is a musician, singer, songwriter, and composer and one of the greatest pop and indie-rock producers of his generation. Born to Iranian parents and Washington, D.C.-reared, Rostam also works as a solo artist and has released two critically-acclaimed solo albums: 2017’s Half-Light... Read More →
avatar for Tamara Lindeman (of The Weather Station)

Tamara Lindeman (of The Weather Station)

“Most people are afraid of the dark…Many adults fear, above all, the darkness that is the unknown, theunseeable, the obscure. And yet the night in which distinctions and definitions cannot be readily made isthe same night in which love is made, in which things merge, change, become... Read More →
avatar for Ann Powers

Ann Powers

Critic and Correspondent; Founder, Turning the Tables, NPR Music
Ann Powers is NPR Music's critic and correspondent. Her books include Good Booty: Love and Sex, Black and White, Body and Soul in American Music, Weird Like Us: My Bohemian America,and (with the aritst)Tori Amos: Piece By Piece. She is the co-editor, with Evelyn McDonnell, of Rock... Read More →
avatar for Roísín Murphy

Roísín Murphy

When we speak of identity in the arts, in the world of dance music in particular, the very idea of an auteur is currently a very sparsely deployed one indeed. There was a time – maybe 20, 30 years ago, maybe longer – when stars were continually recontextualising the boundaries... Read More →



Thursday April 22, 2021 3:00pm - 5:00pm PDT
www.youtube.com/nprmusic
 
Friday, April 23
 

10:00am PDT

Hope in Darkness: Music That Reclaimed Our Joy (Room B: Oscillator)
Hope in Darkness: Music That Reclaimed Our Joy (Room B: Oscillator)

Every revolution has its soundtrack. Sometimes, resistance starts in a voting line, while dancing the “Cha Cha Slide.” Other times, it looks like defying a tyrant by staying at home, singing “WAP” so loudly, your neighbors want to hit that little dangly thing in the back of your throat. In this panel, journalists, educators, and musicians will explore the music that helped us reclaim our joy during a backdrop of death and destruction. We’ll discuss bands who taught us to take our power back, like Rage Against the Machine; the role Calypsos and Soca songs played in the attainment of human rights across the Caribbean; the transformative power of the poetry of artists like Hozier in song; and the musicians behind inspiring videos and TikTok challenges who gave us something to dance about. Our panelists will speak to the question: what can we learn from the music that changed the world?

The paper order will be: Threadgould, Schou, Sylvester, and Lynn.

Moderators
avatar for Chris Molanphy

Chris Molanphy

Chart Columnist/Pop Critic, Slate/Hit Parade
Chris Molanphy is a chart analyst and pop critic who writes about the intersection of culture and commerce in popular music. For Slate, he hosts the Hit Parade podcast and writes their “Why Is This Song No. 1?” series. His work has also appeared in Rolling StonePitchf... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Meagan Sylvester

Meagan Sylvester

What is the role that pop music plays in social change, especially during moments of disruption, transition and upheaval?Popular music has had a relationship with the attainment of human rights as social challenges in myriad ways which have been inclusive of: the right to demonstrate... Read More →
avatar for Michelle Villegas Threadgould

Michelle Villegas Threadgould

Rage Against the Machine brought radical politics to the suburbs. They were the soundtrack to the WTO protests, Iraq and Afghanistan War protests, Occupy, and international solidarity movements. Rage broke musical barriers as one of the most commercially successful, political, and... Read More →
avatar for Solvej Schou

Solvej Schou

BODY-ODY-ODY: The joy of video and viral dance challenges in the age of COVID-19 In mid-March 2020, as my doctor told me by phone to consider the symptoms I had as COVID-19 and to socially distance at home for weeks from my husband, I sought solace in the animated music video just... Read More →
avatar for Lynn Brown

Lynn Brown

Attendee, Literary Lynn LLC
Spoken/Written/Sung – Poetry, Lyrics and the Joy of Truth SpeakingEveryone has a song they belt out at the top of their lungs whenever they hear it, and yet often we’re only vaguely aware of exactly what it is that we’re singing. Other times words set to music can evoke deep... Read More →


Friday April 23, 2021 10:00am - 11:15am PDT
Room B: Oscillator

10:00am PDT

Revolutions or Spinning Wheels? JPMS at 33.3 (Room A: Sky Church)
Revolutions or Spinning Wheels? JPMS at 33.3 (Room A: Sky Church)
 
In September, Journal of Popular Music Studies will publish an issue whose number is of particular significance to music people: Vol. 33.3. It would be a shame to let the RPM speed for LPs, so rich in connotations, go unremarked upon, so we will be publishing a range of short pieces this fall that think about 33 1/3 in relationship to different keywords and subthemes. Some of these will debut in this roundtable.
It’s easy to see how spinning LPs intersect with themes of change and flux. The encapsulation of sound on record, especially vernacular sound, was a central element of 20th century cultural upheaval, connected vividly to identity movements and collective struggles. Where Michael Denning’s Noise Revolution, on the 1920s implementation of electric recording, captures an earlier phase in this process, the late 1940s to early 1980s era of the LP was a further shift: Charles Keil’s “People’s Music Comparatively” noted this amplified sequel a generation ago, Albin Zak’s I Don’t Sound Like Nobody detailed 1950s record-making, and our own associate editor, Roshanak Kheshti, has explored the “aural imaginary” in Modernity’s Ear, with Alexander Weheliye’s work, such as Phonographies: Grooves in Sonic Afro-Modernity, another important touchstone.
To what extent did the LP’s impact mark a sonic and cultural shift? If few listen to vernacular culture now with the revolutionary expectations of an Amiri Baraka, should we see 33.3 as a force for change, containment, or something else?

The five presenters on the panel will begin with short digital lectures that take up their own vantage points. After each of these, we’ll discuss the topic collectively, then open matters up for Q&A from those watching. Here are the opening topics:

Leal: “El Cometa,” by Los Cometas de Villa Juarez, recorded in sun-soaked McAllen, TX, at the U.S.-Mexico border, 1969. “El Cometa”: an LP from the personal collection of my now late-grandfather, Octaviano Gonzalez. “"El Cometa": a record for dancing, a spur to movement. I sit here, thousands of miles from home and family, and I imagine my grandfather singing along to this record. Memory atop memory, time atop time. What listening is this? I aim to think through what it means to listen to a lost loved one’s LPs—to try and listen through their ears, to measure the space between your life and theirs. As I listen to the record, I interweave my lyrical reflections as a child of the borderlands, my own perspective as a music-focused humanities scholar and practicing musical artist, and short excerpts from a music-centered oral history interview I conducted with my grandfather in early 2020.

Sterne : "Scattered Speculations on Synchronization" Pitch: The 33 1/3 RPM standard emerged from synchronized film sound in the 1920s and was only later adopted for the LP, whose playback speed immediately became an issue for projectionists, artists, musicians, dancers, and other users who sought to use the record's time with something else. In this short piece, I will suggest that synchronization is connected to chrononormativity, to borrow a term from Elizabeth Freeman, and further, that the measure of synchronization--rotations per minute--is itself political, since it papers over differences that exist even within the physical format itself. Through regulating time, rate, and recursivity, synchronization via RPM installs and enforces norms (and a "normal time") which then regulates the movements and interfaces among bodies, technologies and institutions. This piece will consider what lining up so that we are all in sync with 33 1/3 "rotations per minute" means in an age of technological media, for the people and for the institutions that use this measure.

Tongson: I’ll be exploring “BPM” through Wham’s lyric “my beats per minute never been the same” (from “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go). Instead of focusing on Make it Big, their aptly titled breakout album in the U.S., the piece will stage a return of the repressed—to their first album “Fantastic” (released under their original name, Wham UK). Fantastic’s BPM is high-octane gay leather disco, with samples of early white rap, Tropicalia, and the kind of raunchy loving and thieving George Michael modeled more explicitly later in his career.

Weisbard: Keyword: Spin--I want to track how the tone present in records early as Hoagy Carmichael's "Rockin' Chair" in 1930, fat and sated but self-aware, inhabited whole LPs by the time Ray Davies sang "sit right down in your old rocking chair, you need not worry you need not care," in "Shangri-La," off the Kinks album Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire). The rocking chair, going nowhere, as the record spinning, then the LP making that spin into an expanse: that's what I'd like to trace as an aspect of how song impacts format, how certain kinds of expression need a McMansion, and how the LP expressed affluence in its vinyl frontier but decline in its endless grooves almost from the start.

Messelink: “Cheesecake Album Covers.” The “girlie” cover was a significant part of the early 1950s LP market. While the disembodied legs on Jackie Gleason’sTawny in 1953 were thought to be pushing the bounds of propriety, by 1958 nudity had become commonplace. During the years (1949-1954) of upheaval and growth following the release of the LP, record companies devised the concept of “mood music” as a way of marketing and selling popular long play albums. By 1957 the consensus was that mood music had become nude music. Drawing from period industry publications and magazines, I will briefly examine how sexual representations, in particular those featuring female models, were a significant—and much debated— aspect of the early LP market.



Moderators
avatar for Eric Weisbard

Eric Weisbard

American Studies; co-editor of Journal of Popular Music Studies, University of Alabama
Eric Weisbard is Professor of American Studies at University of Alabama, coeditor of Journal of Popular Music Studies, and author of Top 40 Democracy and the forthcoming Songbooks: The Literature of American Popular Music. He organized the Pop Conference from 2002 to 2018, editing... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Jonathan Leal

Jonathan Leal

Postdoctoral Fellow, Society of Fellows in the Humanities / Asst. Prof. of English (from 2022), University of Southern California
Jonathan Leal is a scholar-musician and Postdoctoral Fellow in the Society of Fellows in the Humanities (and in Fall 2022, Assistant Professor of English) at the University of Southern California. He is the co-creator of Wild Tongue, an album of original music by nine Latinx bands... Read More →
JS

Jonathan Sterne

Jonathan Sterne teaches at McGill University. He is author of The Audible Past: Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction (Duke, 2003), MP3: The Meaning of a Format (Duke 2012), the forthcoming Diminished Faculties: A Political Phenomenology of Impairment (Duke, 2021), and many essa... Read More →
avatar for Karen Tongson

Karen Tongson

Chair, Gender & Sexuality Studies; Professor, English and American Studies & Ethnicity, USC
Karen Tongson is the author of Why Karen Carpenter Matters, and Relocations: Queer Suburban Imaginaries. In 2019, she received Lambda Literary’s Jeanne Córdova Award for Lesbian/Queer Nonfiction for her body of work to date. She is chair of gender & sexuality studies, and Professor... Read More →
avatar for Jennifer Messelink

Jennifer Messelink

PhD Candidate, Musicology, McGill University
Jennifer Messelink is a PhD Candidate in Musicology at McGill University. Her research focuses on generic formations in postwar popular music. In particular, she examines the stylistic differences and historical significance of mood music and exotica; distinct types of instrumental... Read More →


Friday April 23, 2021 10:00am - 11:15am PDT
Room A: Sky Church

11:15am PDT

Bonus Beats 1
For our breaks between the daytime sessions, members of our Programming Committee volunteered to curate/create short bits of "bonus beats" content.

For this break, we have:

1. "Ignore Facts," a music video by Clive Davis Institute student Computerwife. "The song and video are about a time when I suddenly was completely alone in New York, depressed, working a difficult job, and slowly turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms that destroyed me very quickly. I ended up having a come down that was so intense that I finally had to call my parents and ask to come home, giving up everything I'd worked for because I couldn't handle the way I felt....The song and video are about the most intense change I've ever had. It's about my first time experiencing real darkness and learning how to control that, use it, and become stronger and more well rounded because of it."
2. Michelle Habell-Pallan interviewing punk rocker Lysa Torres about her song "Decolonize My Love."

Speakers
avatar for Michelle Habell-Pallán

Michelle Habell-Pallán

Professor of Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies; Director of the UW Certificate for Public Critical Race Scholarship; Director of the UW Honors Ecuador Study Abroad Program, University of Washington (UW)
avatar for Lysa Flores

Lysa Flores

East Los Angeles Actress, Activist, Producer and Print Maker, Lysa Flores, introduces her video, "Decolonize Our Love" in short conversion with Michelle Habell-Pallán. "Decolonize Our Love" was commissioned for Sounds of California: Boyle Heights, a project of the Alliance for California... Read More →
avatar for Computerwife

Computerwife

Computerwife is the electronic rock solo project of Adeline Warncke, a student at New York University's Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music. Her work blends elements of shoegaze, grunge revival, techno, and vaporwave to balance cute and dark within her sound. In the past she has... Read More →


Friday April 23, 2021 11:15am - 11:30am PDT
Both Room A+B

11:30am PDT

Dance Dance (Music) Revolution (Room A: Sky Church)
Room A: Sky Church

The politics and power of both dance and dance music take the parquet on this panel which brings together four different papers examining transformations within and wrought by forms of dance/music. This includes two papers looking at salsa in different ways: the role of salsa music in current prison abolition movements and on-going changes within a community of New York salsa dancers. Another paper travels further east, to Spain, to look at controversies in the flamenco community regarding issues of appropriation and exploitation. And to add some visceral bump, we have one paper/presentation oriented around the power of the stomp in tap dancing.

The paper order during the session will be: Zanfanga, La Rotta, Dormani and Slaughter. 

Speakers
avatar for Ann Powers

Ann Powers

Critic and Correspondent; Founder, Turning the Tables, NPR Music
Ann Powers is NPR Music's critic and correspondent. Her books include Good Booty: Love and Sex, Black and White, Body and Soul in American Music, Weird Like Us: My Bohemian America,and (with the aritst)Tori Amos: Piece By Piece. She is the co-editor, with Evelyn McDonnell, of Rock... Read More →
avatar for Christina Zanfagna

Christina Zanfagna

Associate Professor, Santa Clara University
Flamenco Fusion and Ethnic Confusion: Rosalía at the Crossroads of Blackness, “Gypsy-ness,” and LatinidadRosalía, the rising Spanish pop star, brought a unique brand of nuevo-flamenco music and dance to the international popular music stage at the 2020 GRAMMY Awards. It was... Read More →
avatar for Alex La Rotta

Alex La Rotta

Postdoc Research Scholar / Center for the Study of Ethnicity & Race, Columbia University
“There Should Be Never No Walls”:  The Prison Abolition Politics of Salsa MusicFollowing his 1971 concept album, Harlem River Drive, a musical-social commentary on the deprivation of Black and Brown life in early-seventies America, Latin music pianist Eddie Palmieri recorded... Read More →
avatar for Carmela Muzio Dormani

Carmela Muzio Dormani

Assistant Professor, Mercy College
Un Verano en Nueva York: Grassroots Urbanity and Creative Survival in the 2020 Salsa SceneSalsa developed in New York City as Afro-Cuban music was reimagined and popularized by Latinx musicians between the 1940s and the 1970s. Since then, salsa has exploded into an international phenomenon... Read More →
avatar for Kwabena Prentiss Slaughter

Kwabena Prentiss Slaughter

She Put Her Foot In It: Visualizing the Assertion of WillpowerIn May 2020 I developed an artistic process that integrates tap dance and electrical circuits. The thematic origin of this intervention resides within the African American food culture idiom “she put her foot in it... Read More →


Friday April 23, 2021 11:30am - 12:45pm PDT
Room A: Sky Church

11:30am PDT

The Quarantine Boogie: Music in the Times of Pandemics (Room B: Oscillator)
The Quarantine Boogie: Music in the Times of Pandemics (Room B: Oscillator)

It's a massive understatement to note that the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the flows of "normal" life and this is no less true in the musical community than any other. This panel features four papers that highlights how music and musicians have responded to disruptive forces like pandemics, not just our current one but earlier examples as well. The paper topics range from looking at how individual artists have pivoted to adjust to new realities of social interaction, to how entire geographic regions have responded to the disruptions in their midst, to traveling back nearly 100 years to see how an earlier generation of musicians responded to similar pandemics in the past.

1.”Old Hits Verzuz New Technology: How a Pandemic Ushered Legacy Artists' Catalogs into the Clout Economy”
Jabari Evans, Center on Media and Human Development, Northwestern University

2."Dolly Parton in the Pandemic: New Constructions of Authenticity and Transmedia Storytelling"
Leigh H. Edwards, Department of English, Florida State University

3."TB Blues: Infectious disease and health communication in pop music"
Jessica Cassyle Carr, the University of New Mexico College of Population Health

4."Maldito Coronavirus! Mapping Musical Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic Across Latin America"
Dan Margolies, Virginia Wesleyan University + J.A. Strub, University of Texas at Austin

Moderators
avatar for Charles L. Hughes

Charles L. Hughes

Rhodes College
Charles L. Hughes is the author of Country Soul: Making Music and Making Race in the American South and the forthcoming Why Bushwick Bill Matters. He teaches at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee.

Speakers
avatar for Jabari Evans

Jabari Evans

Research Fellow, Northwestern University
Old Hits Verzuz New Technology: How a Pandemic Ushered Legacy Artists into the Clout EconomyThis presentation focuses on the live streaming event called Verzuz, the webcast concert series created by Hip-Hop music producers Timbaland and Swizz Beatz. Drawing on empirical data from... Read More →
LH

Leigh H. Edwards

Professor of English, Florida State University
Dolly Parton in the Pandemic: New Constructions of Authenticity and Transmedia StorytellingThis paper examines why Dolly Parton has emerged as such a resonant artist in the COVID-19 pandemic, with press coverage of her calling her a “patron saint” who has tried to save the world... Read More →
avatar for Jessica Cassyle Carr

Jessica Cassyle Carr

Instructor / Writer, University of New Mexico
TB Blues: Infectious disease and health communication in pop musicSongs confronting COVID-19 were prominent in 2020. One of the biggest pandemic sonic successes was “Ghen Cô Vy” an adaptation of an already-popular song written by Khắc Hưng and sung by Vietnamese pop act MIN... Read More →
DM

Dan Margolies

“Maldito Coronavirus!” Mapping the Musical Responses to the Covid Pandemic Across Latin AmericaThe Covid pandemic has been a profoundly sonic experience. Mr. Cumbia released his ubiquitous “La Cumbia del Coronavirus” on January 22, 2020, a week before the World Health Organization... Read More →
JS

J.A. Strub

“Maldito Coronavirus!” Mapping the Musical Responses to the Covid Pandemic Across Latin AmericaThe Covid pandemic has been a profoundly sonic experience. Mr. Cumbia released his ubiquitous “La Cumbia del Coronavirus” on January 22, 2020, a week before the World Health Organization... Read More →


Friday April 23, 2021 11:30am - 12:45pm PDT
Room B: Oscillator

12:45pm PDT

Bonus Beats 2
For our breaks between the daytime sessions, members of our Programming Committee volunteered to curate/create short bits of "bonus beats" content.

For this break, we have music scholar and musician, Charlie McGovern performing a pair of songs, "I Count the Tears" and "I'm Pulling Through."

RJ Smith helped pull this together and he shares why: "I met Charlie McGovern at a long past Pop Conference, and have seen him at many since. I only knew him through the annual event, until the last year or two. The uncertainty, the president, the guns and the lockdown, all brought him out in a new way on social media. I knew he could play, but this has been special. What he plays has been a crucial part of it—when spirits dipped especially low, he came through with a soul song, a lament, a ray of light. He’s been that in the moment."

Speakers
CM

Charles McGovern

American Studies and History, William and Mary
Charlie McGovern teaches American studies and History at William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA. He wrote Sold American Consumption and Citizenship in American Life, 1890-1945, and he co-founded the Duke University Press series Refiguring American Music. He’s working on a book on... Read More →


Friday April 23, 2021 12:45pm - 1:00pm PDT
Both Room A+B

1:00pm PDT

Prince: Disrupting Notions of Blackness (Room A: Sky Church)
Room A: Sky Church

Prince: Disrupting Notions of Blackness

Prince’s legacy as a Pop music icon is undisputed. His influence on popular culture is endless. In addition to being one of the greatest entertainers of all time, he was a groundbreaking songwriter, musician, arranger, composer, producer, and entrepreneur. Prince was also the ultimate disruptor. In a career that spanned five decades, Prince challenged systems, spaces, and sounds. In the process, he disrupted widely held notions about what it meant to be a black artist, activist, and, ultimately, a black person in a society that remains at odds with its own concepts of blackness, freedom, and equality. Through analysis of his music, lyrics, and individual acts of protest, this panel seeks to expand the discussion of Prince’s legacy by examining his role as a disruptor.

The paper order will be: Duff, Cummings, McInnis

Moderators
avatar for Michaelangelo Matos

Michaelangelo Matos

Michaelangelo Matos is the author of Can't Slow Down: How 1984 Became Pop's Blockbuster Year (Hachette, 2020) and The Underground Is Massive: How Electronic Dance Music Conquered America (Dey Street, 2015) and contributes to The New Yorker. He lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Speakers
avatar for De Angela L. Duff

De Angela L. Duff

Associate Vice Provost & Industry Professor, NYU
Controversy: The Blueprint of Prince’s Musical Transformation and DisruptionIn the 15 November 1981 Baltimore Sun article, "Whites Are Missing Good Rock By Blacks," Geoffrey Himes proclaimed, "As young and talented as Prince is, he has a better opportunity to demolish the rules... Read More →
avatar for Kamilah Cummings

Kamilah Cummings

Editor. Writer. Educator.
Purple, Lace, & Race: Prince and the Art of Protest In many ways, Prince’s entire career was a disruption. Although his contributions to racial discourse in the public sphere are often overlooked, from his music and films to his ever-evolving performance of identity, Prince artfully... Read More →
avatar for C Liegh McInnis

C Liegh McInnis

Poet and Short Story Writer, Psychedelic Literature
The Art of Double Disruption: How Prince Worked in the Tradition of Jean Toomer and Richard Wright to Rebel Simultaneously against White Supremacy and Black Self-LimitationIn 1944, Harper and Brothers accepted Richard Wright's autobiography, American Hunger, for publication that fall... Read More →


Friday April 23, 2021 1:00pm - 2:15pm PDT
Room A: Sky Church

1:00pm PDT

Staying Flux-ible: Artists Adapting to Change (Room B: Oscillator)
Staying Flux-ible: Artists Adapting to Change (Room B: Oscillator)

Life is on hold: everything is changing. Artists have always drawn from their life in their work, and now Laura Jane Grace suggests how an emerging sonic transfeminine can challenge gendered and genre myths. Now, too, technology is rewriting seemingly finished work. The internet has shaped this threshold moment, and Tiktok users become co-creators, revising work and forgrounding vernacular contributions. Lurking over everything is the growing presence of AI, as musicians turn their vision to the machine-made. Nothing remains static: music is changing.

The paper order will be: Ashton, Murtishaw, St. Asaph, and Harper. 

Moderators
Speakers
HA

Hilarie Ashton

(Un)Doing Gender: Laura Jane Grace and the Sonic TransfeminineGender is, as Judith Butler teaches, performance and flux, not unlike music. In this presentation, I'm returning to the sonic feminine, a frame I brought to the conference two years ago. I deployed it to think about the... Read More →
avatar for Katherine Morayati

Katherine Morayati

Roboptimism: The Musicians Building On, Meming On, and Clawing Back the AI RevolutionEvery new technology is immediately followed by old anxieties – such as, in music, concerns about “fake musicians” (i.e., library music by another name) and AI usurping songwriters. But artists... Read More →
avatar for Charlotte Murtishaw

Charlotte Murtishaw

"Truth Hurts": Lizzo, copyright law, and reckoning with digital serfdomIn 2019, shortly after pop star/rapper Lizzo’s single “Truth Hurts” went viral, two industry producers filed a plagiarism suit focused on the song’s most memeable quip: “Just took a DNA test / I’m 100... Read More →
PC

Paula Clare Harper

Ratatousical and the Unintuitive Unintuitiveness of TikTok Musical ProductionOn the microvideo platform TikTok, music and sound are central to its noisy viral circuitry; videos are linked through use of shared audio, and the microsoundtrack thus functions as portal to potentially-viral... Read More →


Friday April 23, 2021 1:00pm - 2:15pm PDT
Room B: Oscillator

2:15pm PDT

Bonus Beats 3
For our breaks between the daytime sessions, members of our Programming Committee volunteered to curate/create short bits of "bonus beats" content.

For this break, we have Michelle Habell-Pallan interviewing Mexican-Australian MC, Maya Jupiter, about her song "Madre Tierra."

Speakers
avatar for Michelle Habell-Pallán

Michelle Habell-Pallán

Professor of Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies; Director of the UW Certificate for Public Critical Race Scholarship; Director of the UW Honors Ecuador Study Abroad Program, University of Washington (UW)
avatar for Maya Jupiter

Maya Jupiter

Australian hip-hop activist and feminista Maya Jupiter introduces her video “Madre Tierre” (feat. Los Cojolites) through the lens of Media Justice in a short conversation with Michelle Habell-Pallán. Now in Los Angeles, Maya serves on the advisory board at Peace Over Violence... Read More →


Friday April 23, 2021 2:15pm - 2:30pm PDT
Both Room A+B

2:30pm PDT

Black Music at its Interstices: From “Coon Songs” to Hip Hop (Room B: Oscillator)
Black Music at its Interstices: From “Coon Songs” to Hip Hop (Room B: Oscillator)

The diverse topics presented on this panel explore the interstitial nature of Blackness, Black people, and Black sounds within popular music in the United States. Spanning from the 1890s, a key moment transition to the modern music industry, through the contemporary moment—as we find ourselves in a continuous state of political, cultural, and technological flux— each of the authors provide analyses and raise questions that unsettle normalized understandings of what is at stake in popular music making. From the “coon song” craze of the 1890s, to early 20th- century Black Pentecostal revival circuits, and culminating in 1970s soul (Minnie Riperton) and contemporary R&B/hip hop (and conceptions of the “ho” figure), we consider the following questions: how were Black children and adolescents (girls, in particular) formative and formed by Black Pentecostal revival circuits during the Great Migration?; how might sampling elicit resistance and temporality through its mechanisms of performance and improvisation?; how do the affective logics of horror, desire, and pleasure impact the spectatorial conceptualization of the ho figure’s corporeality and ontology?; and finally, how did the invention and employment of early recording technologies that coincided with the explosion of the “coon song” shape the making of the commercial music industry in its infancy?
                                   
  The paper order will be: Dromgoole, Fekade, Ibaorimi, and Morrison.   

Moderators
avatar for Alisha Lola Jones

Alisha Lola Jones

Assistant Professor, Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology; Faculty Director of the Global Pop Music Initiative, Indiana University (Bloomington)
Rev. Dr. Alisha Lola Jones is an assistant professor in the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology and faculty director of the Global Pop Music Initiative at Indiana University (Bloomington). Dr. Jones is a board member of the Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM, a member of the... Read More →

Speakers
AD

Ambre Dromgoole

“God feeling”: On Black Girl Musicians and the Sanctified Church                   When asked to reflect on her childhood accompanying Black pentecostal congregations in Detroit, legendary jazz musician and composer Alice Coltrane said “the people in the audience were... Read More →
BF

Beza Fekade

From Riperton to Tribe, and Back Again: Hip Hop Sampling’s Sonic Temporality and ResistanceAs poet and cultural critic, Hanif Abdurraqib (2020) wrote, “The casual music fan may know Minnie Riperton best not by a song, but by a song within a song. ‘Lovin’ You’..... At the three-minute mark of that tune, a perfect piercing note unfolds over the birdsong and the dreamlike electric piano." It was in that instance that her s... Read More →
avatar for Zalika U. Ibaorimi

Zalika U. Ibaorimi

PhD Candidate (African and African Diaspora Studies), The University of Texas at Austin
The (Ho)rror of It All: Ganja & Hess, Summer Walker and the Soundtrack of Ho OntologiesMireille Miller-Young postulates that hos exist as outcasts—part victim and part threat. The ho is articulated by Black feminist scholars and sex workers through triangulated dialectics which... Read More →
MD

Matthew D. Morrison

Assistant Professor, Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, New York University
A Decade in Transition: The “Coon Song” and American Popular Music in the 1980sThe 1890s is the epitome of a decade “in flux” within the U.S. popular music industry. As the phonograph, along with other industrial developments, went from a novel invention to a commercial product... Read More →


Friday April 23, 2021 2:30pm - 3:45pm PDT
Room B: Oscillator

2:30pm PDT

ruins, rebellion, & resurgence (Room A: Sky Church)
ruins, rebellion, & resurgence (Room A: Sky Church)

Stories of popular music and change are not limited to the stage. Transformations resulting from physical places, intellectual spaces, music business controls; and image, identity, and race politics have resulted in symbolic strike-backs with metamorphic results. This panel explores popular music stories of transition, including recent efforts to raze Detroit's United Sound Systems, 20th century punk rock youth culture in El Paso; 21st century fusing of country, visual media, and gender and sexuality; and a Billboard chart resurgence of 1960s and 1970s white pop stars in the 1980s.

The paper order will be: Gholz, Soto, Lopez, and Mumme.

Moderators
avatar for Holly Kruse

Holly Kruse

Professor of Communications, Rogers State University
Holly Kruse is Greg Kunz Chair in Communications and Professor of Communications at Rogers State University and researches communication technology, social formations, and social interaction. She is the author of the books Off-track and Online: The Networked Spaces of Horse Racing (MIT... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Carleton S. Gholz

Carleton S. Gholz

Founder & Executive Director Emeritus, Detroit Sound Conservancy
The Audacity of Groovesville: Don Davis and Detroit’s Black Music Industry After MotownOn May 16th, 1972, as Motown Records was preparing to move its headquarters from Michigan to California, musician, songwriter, record producer, Groovesville Music label owner, and Black Detroiter... Read More →
avatar for Alfred Soto

Alfred Soto

Visiting Instructor, Florida International University
Revenge of the Boomers: How the Poppy Bush Interzone Created a Safe Space for Aging Rock BandsIf George H.W. Bush had been a pop song, he would’ve been The Beach Boys’ “Kokomo.” George Bush, after all, was the “Kokomo” of presidents: indistinct, often absurd; a substitute... Read More →
avatar for Tara Lopez

Tara Lopez

Associate Professor of Sociology, Northern New Mexico College
“Chucotown Soundtrack:  1990s El Paso Punk Rock”Although derided as “a dusty bowl on the cusp of the U.S.-Mexican border,” El Paso, Texas has a deep-rooted cultural history that belies such flippant dismissals. In particular, at a crucial time of flux and transition between... Read More →
LP

Lisa Pollock Mumme

"You know the tune so the words don't matter": Queer Country and Masculine PageantryRichard Dyer famously described John Wayne as an example of "straight camp." But the hypermasculine persona of the cowboy is and has been ripe for the queering. Very recent depictions of the queer... Read More →


Friday April 23, 2021 2:30pm - 3:45pm PDT
Room A: Sky Church

3:45pm PDT

Bonus Beats 4
For our breaks between the daytime sessions, members of our Programming Committee volunteered to curate/create short bits of "bonus beats" content.

For this break, we have:

1. "i don't write songs for boys," a 2021 music video from NYU Clive Davis Institute student Livia O. 

2. ""Strings Attached": Melissa A. Weber interviews violinist, songwriter, arranger, producer and concertmaster Gina Kronstadt.

Speakers
avatar for Melissa A. Weber

Melissa A. Weber

Curator, Hogan Archive of New Orleans Music and New Orleans Jazz, Tulane University Special Collections
Hailing from New Orleans, Melissa A. Weber serves as curator of the Hogan Archive of New Orleans Music and New Orleans Jazz, a division of Tulane University Special Collections. She also teaches a History of Urban Music course in the College of Music and Media at Loyola University... Read More →
avatar for Gina Kronstadt

Gina Kronstadt

Gina Kronstadt was born in Raleigh North Carolina. Her family was from the South but moved to Salt Lake City Utah after her chemist father was offered a dream job. Gina was surrounded by music constantly while growing up, being that her mother was a lover of Classical music. At the... Read More →
avatar for Livia O

Livia O

A New Zealand born singer, songwriter, producer based in New York, Livia O is an alternative electronic pop polymath whose observational, conversational lyrics paired with glitchy, experimental sonics are inspired by artists like Bon Iver and The Japanese House. Livia’s move to... Read More →


Friday April 23, 2021 3:45pm - 4:00pm PDT
Both Room A+B

4:00pm PDT

Black Critics Matter (Room B: Oscillator)
Black Critics Matter (Room B: Oscillator)

This roundtable session focuses on the indispensable role that Black critics have played in telling the story of Black music, and it brings together a cluster of multigenerational pathbreaking thinkers whose work has transformed critical writing about popular music culture. I am seeking to curate a session that documents this era of racial reckoning through the heightened recognition of Black cultural arts criticism—its vitality, its originality, its pioneering experimentalism and the daring interventionist role it has played (now as well as across the 20th and 21st centuries) in how we think about, theorize, and engage with Black sounds.

If 2020 has reminded us of anything, it’s that the struggle for African American autonomy in the American body politic is a multifaceted one tied to necessary and interlocking social, political as well as cultural revolutions in valuing Black life. Culture critics, we know, play a pivotal role in identifying and narrating the dimensions of that value. But in the history of popular music culture across the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, how often have we extensively imagined Black folks as critics, as knowledge producers in relation to their own expressive cultures? Elizabeth Mendez Berry and Chi-hui Yang remind us that such questions “matte[r] because culture is a battleground where some narratives win and conversation about our collective imagination has the same blind spots as our political discourse.” Adds the venerable Black feminist culture critic Margo Jefferson, the “role of the critic of color is to unveil and unearth the structures that lie behind and underneath and propel these narratives which always star the same figures.” Arts criticism is, in effect and as they suggest, ultimately world-making. It has the power to both reflect and expand a community’s relationship to the expressive modes of being that saturate our quotidian lives and inform our communicative lexicons. Or, as Toni Morrison once put it bluntly, “as far as the future is concerned, when one writes, as critic or as author, all necks are on the line.”

As we consider the potential for radical transformation in this era defined by flux, we might take evermore seriously the ways that Berry and Yang urge the public to “think of cultural criticism as civic infrastructure that needs to be valued not based just on monetary impact”—that is, which artists receive the most exposure and reap the most revenue (though this is important, too, in a world of institutional inequities)—but also based on criticism’s “capacity to expand the collective conversation at a time when it is dangerously contracting. Arts writing,” they contend, “fosters an engaged citizenry that participates in the making of its own story.” From Harlem Renaissance era ballers like Sylvester Russell, Lester Walton and Nora Holt to post-Civil Rights era pioneers like Phyl Garland and Lorraine O’Grady, from Village Voice breakthrough geniuses like Thulani Davis and Greg Tate to break-the-glass-ceiling-at-Vibe- and-Billboard Danyel Smith, from New York Times early aughts trickster K Sanneh to the 2010 Black queer visionaries of the Times, Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham, Black critics have been setting the record straight and engaging Black citizenry “in the making of its own story” since Black folks gained entrance to the segregated recording industry. They were the ones long beckoning us to “turn and face the [gloriously] strange...” before, in the time of, and after our dear Starman...

   

Moderators
avatar for Kimberly Mack

Kimberly Mack

Kimberly Mack is an Assistant Professor of African American literature and culture at the University of Toledo. Her book, Fictional Blues: Narrative Self-Invention from Bessie Smith to Jack White, was recently published by the University of Massachusetts Press. Kimberly’s second... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Thulani Davis

Thulani Davis

Thulani Davis is an interdisciplinary scholar and writer working in several genres. She is the author of six books, a dozen theater works and has had a long journalism career in politics and cultural criticism. Her next book, forthcoming from Duke University Press, The Emancipation... Read More →
avatar for Daphne A. Brooks

Daphne A. Brooks

William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of African American Studies, American Studies, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, a, Yale University
Daphne A. Brooks is William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of African American Studies, American Studies, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and Music at Yale University. She is the author of two books: Bodies in Dissent: Spectacular Performances of Race and Freedom, 1850-1910 (Durham... Read More →
avatar for Greg Tate

Greg Tate

Greg Tate is a writer, musician and cultural provocateur who lives on Harlem’s Sugar Hill. His books include Flyboy In The Buttermilk (1992), Midnight Lightning—Jimi Hendrix And The Black Experience, (2003); Everything But The Burden —What White People Are Taking From Black... Read More →
avatar for Danyel Smith

Danyel Smith

author, and host of Spotify's "Black Girl Songbook"
Award-winning journalist Danyel Smith is the author of the forthcoming Shine Bright: A Personal History of Black Women in Pop (One World / Random House, September 2021). Danyel is also host of Black Girl Songbook,  a podcast that centers the sounds and stories of black women.. Danyel’s... Read More →
WM

Wesley Morris

New York Times
Wesley Morris is a critic at large for The New York Times. Previous to The Times, Mr. Morris worked at Grantland as a staff writer and the Sportstorialist columnist and cohost of “Do You Like Prince Movies?” He was a film critic at The Boston Globe from 2002 to 2013, and before... Read More →


Friday April 23, 2021 4:00pm - 5:15pm PDT
Room A: Sky Church

4:00pm PDT

“South Gotta Change”: Southern Music in a Moment of Transformation (Room A: Sky Church)
“South Gotta Change”: Southern Music in a Moment of Transformation (Room A: Sky Church)

The music of the South has long been a potent and contested symbol within popular music. Genres associated with the region – country, blues, “Americana,” bluegrass, Latinx music, Indigenous traditions, et cetera – have formed a sonic bedrock of U.S. pop styles while also standing in for larger conversations about race, region, history and “tradition” on a changing cultural and political landscape. In recent years, as the era of #BlackLivesMatter and “Make America Great Again” has reinvigorated conversations about the music and its meanings, the South’s artists and audiences have leapt into the center of these complex conversations. Artists from Rhiannon Giddens to Sa-Roc to Che Apalache to Adia Victoria and beyond have challenged genre boundaries, canonical narratives and contemporary representations in powerful interventions. Audiences have responded to these calls by reclaiming lost histories and proclaiming the music’s renewed relevance in contemporary conversations. And all have continued to push against the commercial exclusions, narrative distortions and socio-political backlashes that accompany their work.

This roundtable considers Southern music in this moment of disruption. The participants – a diverse group of scholars, writers and artists – will consider how artists, audience members and the recording industry have reacted to this moment, as well as challenges and opportunities characterize the future. They will also contend with the very notion of “Southern music” as a category, exploring both its potential and ambivalence in regards to race, gender, genre and other key issues. And they will discuss the music’s roles in assuring that, as Victoria suggests in her powerful 2020 release, “the South gotta change.”

Moderators
avatar for Charles L. Hughes

Charles L. Hughes

Rhodes College
Charles L. Hughes is the author of Country Soul: Making Music and Making Race in the American South and the forthcoming Why Bushwick Bill Matters. He teaches at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee.

Speakers
DC

David Cantwell

David Cantwell is a critic and author who is currently at work completing a revised, expanded edition of his book Merle Haggard: The Running Kind.
AM

Amanda Martinez

Amanda Marie Martinez is a Doris G. Quinn fellow and a PhD candidate in the history department at UCLA, where she is completing a dissertation on race and the country music industry from the 1970s-1990s. Her work has appeared in the Journal of Popular Music Studies and California... Read More →
AW

Andrea Williams

Andrea Williams is a Nashville-based journalist writing about culture, music, and sports for a number of top publications, including Vulture/New York Magazine, Mother Jones, The New York Times, and many others. Her writing has established her as a leading voice about race and country... Read More →


Friday April 23, 2021 4:00pm - 5:15pm PDT
Room B: Oscillator

5:15pm PDT

Flower Bomb Friday: Songs In the Key of Stevie Wonder (Room A: Sky Church)
Flower Bomb Friday: Songs In the Key of Stevie Wonder (Room A: Sky Church)

Flower Bomb launched on the Clubhouse platform in late 2020 and the idea is simple: every Friday at 7pm PST, hosts Morgan Rhodes, Joy Trible and Hans Elder pick an artist to "give flowers." Participants would select a song by the artist, then provide a short (1-2 minute) testimonial about why it's important to them. The Flower Bomb crew then plays a snippet of that song.

In association with this year's Pop Convergence, Flower Bomb is hosting a live, early show for us (on one of our existing Zoom channels) dedicated to the music of Stevie Wonder whose entire career has embodied the ideas about flux and transformation that this year's Pop Con is devoted to.

During their segment, the Flower Bomb hosts will call up people to share their testimonial about a Stevie song, and then Hans will play a snippet.

To facilitate the process, we're asking for interested folks to sign-up first and have a few song choices in mind. Flower Bomb can then draw from that list and have your song prepped to go.


Friday April 23, 2021 5:15pm - 6:15pm PDT
Room A: Sky Church

6:15pm PDT

The Power of Club Quarantine: A Special Conversation with D-Nice and Jason King about Uniting the World Through Music in Times of Flux (Room A: Sky Church)
The Power of Club Quarantine: A Special Conversation with D-Nice and Jason King about Uniting the World Through Music in Times of Flux (Room A: Sky Church)

A First-Time Collaboration between Pop Conference and the Kennedy Center’s Hip Hop Culture Program

This year's version of the Pop Conference focuses on themes of change and flux in popular music. Few artists in contemporary music have had a year marked by surprising shifts and pivots like New York born and bred DJ, rapper and producer Derrick “D-Nice” Jones. In the midst of widespread global pandemic lockdowns and social restrictions in March 2020, D-Nice launched Homeschool at Club Quarantine: a nightly DJ party on
Instagram Live designed to bring people together. Club Quarantine became an instant sanctuary and runaway success, virtually uniting people from all walks of life, including many prominent celebrities, to dance "together" and socialize online. Leveraging his Club Quarantine platform in service of others, D-Nice supported numerous social justice, civic and humanitarian efforts, and raised awareness about health and wellness protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic. For his vital contributions to music, culture and society, D-Nice was awarded the 2020 Webby Artist of the Year in the Special Achievement category, a LEVEL "Best Man of 2020" Award, a 2020 BET Hip Hop Award for Best DJ of the Year, a 2020 BET Shine A Light Award and the 2021 Entertainer of the Year Award at the NAACP Image Awards.

With a 30+ year trajectory of uniting people through music, D-Nice'ss pre-pandemic career has also been full of transitions and shifts: he was an early founder of Boogie Down Productions and produced the Stop the Violence Movement's classic Self-Destruction before becoming signed as a solo artist to Jive Records where he released his debut album and classic single “Call Me D-Nice.” As a DJ, he has rocked dance floors from Times Square to South Africa and events ranging from Essence Music Festival to the White House. Equally excelling as a photographer, he has both documented the Culture and provided its soundtrack. D-Nice will join Jason King—Pop Conference co-producer, Clive Davis Institute Chair, and fellow Kennedy Center Hip
Hop Culture Council Member—in a conversation about the connections between music, flux, change and the enduring connective power of the DJ.

This program is co-presented with the Kennedy Center Hip Hop Culture Program’s Council Conversations series.

Speakers
avatar for Jason King

Jason King

Chair & Professor, Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, New York University
Jason King is the Chair of New York University’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music. Jason is a musician, DJ, performer, producer, songwriter, scholar, curator, journalist and a widely published scholar, writing on the cultural politics of artists like Beyonce, Drake, Roberta... Read More →
avatar for D-Nice

D-Nice

For an artist, the hardest skill to master is the ability to transcend, be it the era that created them, the work that defined them, or even the fame that elevated them. However, those who are successful are rewarded with a title that can only be earned: legend. Derrick “D-Nice... Read More →


Friday April 23, 2021 6:15pm - 7:00pm PDT
Room A: Sky Church

7:00pm PDT

The Flaming? Midnight Musical (Room A: Sky Church)
The Flaming? Midnight Musical (Room A: Sky Church)

The Flaming? Midnight Musical is a late(r) night session that celebrates the spiritual and social fire, that is, great musical skill explored in the spectrum of Black music forms. Traditionally, the midnight musical serves as entertainment for churchgoing young adults that did not "go to the club" on Friday nights. However, somehow attendees managed to go to both venues. At these concerts, organizers showcased community and college gospel choirs to demonstrate their musical prowess, a sonic representation of the best "church party" that they could ignite. This concert will activate the virtual performance space, erasing the boundaries between sacred and secular, by featuring artists who represent the best of both worlds.

The Talent:
    • Tamara Jade
    • Charles Anthony Bryant
    • Larry Brownlee
    • Angela Marie Jones
    • Patrick Dailey
    • Harold Wheat
    • Philip Bingham
Special thanks to Indiana University Global Pop Music Initiative for their sponsorship of this event. 

Moderators
avatar for Alisha Lola Jones

Alisha Lola Jones

Assistant Professor, Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology; Faculty Director of the Global Pop Music Initiative, Indiana University (Bloomington)
Rev. Dr. Alisha Lola Jones is an assistant professor in the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology and faculty director of the Global Pop Music Initiative at Indiana University (Bloomington). Dr. Jones is a board member of the Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM, a member of the... Read More →

Speakers
LQ

LaQuentin “Q” Jenkins

LaQuentin “Q” Jenkins, M.Div., originally from Sumter, SC, is a worship leader, song writer, arranger and educator with a driving passion for the Black Church, music ministry and congregational worship. “Q” is best known for his work with the award winning Claflin University... Read More →
avatar for Tamara Jade

Tamara Jade

Tamara Jade is an independent artist, entertainer, producer, and content creator, hailing from Bowie, Prince George's County, Maryland. While on NBC’s The Voice, she garnered the first 4-Chair Turn of the season. John Legend described her voice as having a "fire in it" and that... Read More →
avatar for Charles Anthony Bryant

Charles Anthony Bryant

C. Anthony Bryant is emerging as one of the most versatile, powerful, and technically sound voices of our day. A highly sought after vocalist, orator, pedagogue, composer, and coach, Bryant has performed in houses of worship, clubs, and concert halls, both in the United States and... Read More →
avatar for Angela Marie Jones

Angela Marie Jones

A native Washingtonian, Angela Marie Jones seeks to form a full-bodied faith legacy that promotes critical thought, ecumenism, and interfaith dialogue that may influence younger generations through areas of the arts, business, and mentorship. Growing up in the household of Word of... Read More →
avatar for Patrick Dailey

Patrick Dailey

Patrick Dailey has been described as possessing “a powerful and elegant countertenor voice” (Los Angeles Daily News) and a “VOCAL STANDOUT” (Boston Classical Review). An active performer, voice teacher, educator, vocal director, arts curator, researcher, and arts/community... Read More →
avatar for Harold Wheat

Harold Wheat

Minister Harold Wheat, Jr. has worked with voices and musical instruments at the performance level for more than 45 years. Viewing his gift of music as ministry in every application, he has worked with both voices and instrumentalists in college, community, church, workplace, and... Read More →
avatar for Philip Bingham

Philip Bingham

Phil Bingham has achieved recognition as a consummate musician, pianist, music educator and minister of music. He started his musical career at the age of eight, playing piano at Bethany C&MA Church in Bronx, New York, attended the original High School of Music and Art in NYC. The... Read More →



Friday April 23, 2021 7:00pm - 9:00pm PDT
Room A: Sky Church
 
Saturday, April 24
 

10:00am PDT

Flipping the Script: Traditions in Transition (Room B: Oscillator)
Flipping the Script: Traditions in Transition (Room B: Oscillator)

Music establishes a sense of place but no place remains static forever. Four takes on temporal sounds in eras of flux and flow. Questions emerge, including: In a year when live music is all but impossible, how can political and social transformation flourish on the internet? How do times and places defined in movies by period-specific sounds live—long after the period has past? What happens when the police disrupt a Black hip hop beach party in the heart of the Reagan era? Finally, what do TikTok’s participatory digital networks mean to our sense of who we are?

Paper order will be: Arrieta, Bimm, and McLeod.

Moderators
avatar for Glenn Hendler

Glenn Hendler

Professor of English & American Studies, Fordham University
Glenn Hendler is Professor of English and American Studies at Fordham University, USA, where he teaches courses in US literature and culture, sound studies, and cultural theory. He writes on popular and unpopular literature in the 19th century, film, television, music, and contemporary... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Alexandria Arrieta

Alexandria Arrieta

PhD Student, University of Southern California
“This audio has potential”: Boundless Audio and the Performance (and Appropriation) of Identity on TikTok“This audio has potential” is a comment frequently left by TikTok users when they think a video’s sound is going to go viral. The app, which enables users to lift audio... Read More →
avatar for Morgan Bimm

Morgan Bimm

PhD Candidate, York University
When the DIY Venue is a Blog: Tastemaking Spaces in Flux In this presentation, I argue that the ‘liveness’ of music scenes has always been channelled, in moments of flux, into new spaces for music criticism and community. Drawing on interviews collected for my dissertation chapter... Read More →
KM

Kembrew McLeod

“Places with the Racist Faces”: Virginia Beach, Greekfest ’89, and Hip HopGreekfest began in Virginia Beach during the early 1980s, when sororities and fraternities from East Coast HBCUs started a beach picnic during Labor Day weekend in my hometown. Many white residents and... Read More →


Saturday April 24, 2021 10:00am - 11:15am PDT
Room B: Oscillator

10:00am PDT

What is the Creative? Rethinking the Social Value of Creativity in the Absence of Live Space (Room A: Sky Church)
What is the Creative? Rethinking the Social Value of Creativity in the Absence of Live Space (Room A: Sky Church)

We propose that the function of creativity has been distorted by the neolliberal economic structure, but the pandemic is a point of rupture seismic enough to force us to to re-imagine the role and value of the artist. We explore the way in which the capitalist alignment of artistry with income, creative practice with revenue and success with profit is fundamentally at odds with the ethos of art and creativity. We also look to the fourth industrial revolution as a pending/present technological and societal flux which adds a layer of complication for many artists, in particular musicians who, somewhat ironically, have often been pushed back into live work to sustain their livelihood. We use this moment of global pause to reimagine the role of the artist, including how technology might be used to establish new ways for music makers to survive, prosper and contribute during our moment of need.

When the pandemic hit, most musicians experienced a devastating loss of work, as global touring and live performances were suspended indefinitely. At the same time, the world looked to art for salvation; to escape, to heal, to hope. It became clear that art is not entertainment; it is humanity; in particular the cultivation of human connection and an ability to imagine a future different to—and better than—the one we inhabit. And so we are calling on creatives to step into the role of social curators; asking how we can realise this responsibility and use it to sustain a creative ecosystem as well as transform the world around us. The panel is a group of artists who have all pushed boundaries with their careers, technology and societal commitments, alongside a senior software engineer and myself—a producer and curator—as moderator.

We explore if the role of the artists can now be detached from the revenue they generate, and whether the intellectual labour of imagination is the foundation for building a new future. In this model, can we conceptualise art as a career that should be subsidised by governments—or can we establish cooperative organisations in which artists generate mutually supporting income streams and revenue possibilities? What functions of the music industry should we bring forward with us, and what should we leave behind? What can we contribute, what can we share, and what can we do to help our community and those beyond it?

Across all these questions we also ask how technology can be used to support these futures in ways that benefit the artists instead of the traditional gatekeepers of money and power within the industry.

The roundtable is a virtual cookout in which everyone brings a ‘dish’ to the table, an idea or proposal of how they would like to move the role of the creative forward, to be shared, sampled and debated around the room.

Moderators
avatar for Tavia Nyong'o

Tavia Nyong'o

Chair and Professor of Theater and Performance Studies, Yale University
Tavia Nyong'o writes and teaches black art and culture at Yale University, where he is Chair and Professor of Theater and Performance Studies and affiliated faculty with American Studies and African American Studies. His most recent book, Afro-Fabulations: The Queer Drama of Black... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Freda Knowles (she/her)

Freda Knowles (she/her)

A curator and producer who has specialised in aligning art and activism, Freda Knowles has produced live music across the world as well as founded a number of initiatives that seek to develop the ways in which creativity can enact social change. Recent projects include Lift Every... Read More →
avatar for Christian Scott

Christian Scott

A native of New Orleans, Christian Scott is a modern jazz music artist, trumpeter and composer. Raised in a family of legendary musicians, Scott’s musical approach attempts to “stretch” jazz’s rhythmic, melodic and harmonic conventions to encompass as many other musical forms... Read More →
avatar for Shabaka Hutchings

Shabaka Hutchings

One of the leading figures of the UK’s creative scene, Shabaka Hutchings embraces the kinetic intensity of his native Barbados, as well as elements from the punk, dance, electro and jazz worlds in his diverse, diasporic style. He has forged strong bonds with South Africa as well... Read More →
avatar for Sarah Elizabeth Charles

Sarah Elizabeth Charles

Sarah Elizabeth Charles is a vocalist/composer based in New York City whose work is rooted in the power of art to articulate change. She has led her own band, SCOPE, for ten years; recorded three critically acclaimed studio albums under her own name, and has collaborated and recorded... Read More →
avatar for Samora Pinderhughes

Samora Pinderhughes

Samora Pinderhughes is a composer/pianist/vocalist known for striking intimacy and carefully crafted, radically honest lyrics alongside high-level musicianship. He is also known for his use of music to examine sociopolitical issues and fight for change.Samora is the first-ever Art... Read More →
avatar for Talib Nelson

Talib Nelson

A self-taught software engineer, Talib Nelson is senior architect for the media giant Shutterstock alongside creating and running a tastemaker music site This Is Real Music which has been promoting underground and emerging artists for over a decade. His passion for tech is rooted... Read More →


Saturday April 24, 2021 10:00am - 11:15am PDT
Room A: Sky Church

11:15am PDT

Bonus Beats 5
For our breaks between the daytime sessions, members of our Programming Committee volunteered to curate/create short bits of "bonus beats" content.

For this break, we have:

1. "You See Me," a 2020 music video by NYU Clive Davis Institute student Océane. "Can you ever truly see or know someone? "You See Me" relates to the idea "flux" by portraying the ways in which a person can be seen over the passage of time. We all fit into the story of history, and with this comes the ups and downs that come with life. Although it may be impossible to ever truly see a person, there is a beauty in appreciating darkness and light within each of us."
2. Michelle Habel-Pallán in conversation with recording artists Quetzal.


Speakers
avatar for Michelle Habell-Pallán

Michelle Habell-Pallán

Professor of Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies; Director of the UW Certificate for Public Critical Race Scholarship; Director of the UW Honors Ecuador Study Abroad Program, University of Washington (UW)
avatar for Quetzal

Quetzal

 After a short conversation with Michelle Habell-Pallán , Quetzal Flores from the Grammy Award-winning East Los Angeles band Quetzal introduces a Pop Con live performance of “La Vuelta/The Turn” from their new Smithsonian Folkways CD “Puentes Sonidos. ” Quetzal crosses... Read More →
avatar for Océane

Océane

Océane (Maya Cherie Océane Malamba Lopez) is a Sophomore at New York University where she studies Recorded Music at the Clive Davis Institute. Océane’s original pieces have been featured by the Goodman Theatre, the Chicago Humanities Festival, and the Lyric Opera Chicago. Her... Read More →


Saturday April 24, 2021 11:15am - 11:30am PDT
Both Room A+B

11:30am PDT

Listening Queerly: Sounds of the Asian/American Diaspora in Flux (Room A: Sky Church)
Listening Queerly: Sounds of the Asian/American Diaspora in Flux (Room A: Sky Church)

This critical karaoke session thinks alongside Asian American musicians and artists to reckon with the violence of the present. Across analyses of queercore, country, house parties, and gallery installations, we seek to listen queerly, which Thea Quiray Tagle theorizes as “otherwise possibilities for living together and being in relation that can better realize our mutual and collective survival.” In doing so, we collectively reflect on the political reverberations of 2020 through how Asian American racialization proceeds in flux--that is, we heed critiques in organizing and academic theory of how the Asian diaspora can perpetuate antiblackness and settler colonialism as part of a larger upheaval in socially engaged thought. Through the critical karaoke format, a presentation that emphasizes accompaniment and the mutual exchange between artist and critic, we seek to highlight Asian American artists’ interventions into race, space, and genre with a special attention toward mutual relationality. We argue that the sights and sites of Asian American sound are central toward that task.

Paper order will be: Liu, Ishii, Pereya, and Tagle.

Moderators
Speakers
RL

Runchao Liu

Bad Punk: Queer, Angry, Asian, and Some Punk StoriesThis presentation curates an Asian American punk soundtrack to tell some bad punk stories of Asian America in a critical karaoke format. My inspiration of theorizing “Bad Punk” comes from other similar two-word combinations... Read More →
DS

Douglas S. Ishii

“Square Peg”: Or, Asian Americana in Yellow RoseThe soundtrack for the 2019 independent drama, Yellow Rose, opens with Eva Noblezada, 2017 Tony Award nominee for Best Actress in a Musical, singing the film’s title track, “Square Peg.” The music film, set around the Austin... Read More →
JP

Jewel Pereyra

“No Requests”: Pinay Mobile DJ Cultures in the Washington, D.M.V. AreaPresenterThis critical karaoke presentation details the myriad ways that Filipina Mobile DJs construct and fashion their racial and gendered identities within the Washington, D.M.V. (D.C., Maryland, and Virginia... Read More →
avatar for Thea Quiray Tagle

Thea Quiray Tagle

Assistant Professor of critical ethnic studies and queer studies, UMass Boston
Y’all Better Listen: Queer Punctuations of Public Space During Crisis This critical karaoke performance ruminates alongside three sound pieces accompanying artworks by queer Asian diasporic, Black, and Indigenous artists/poets/musicians/performers Art 25, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, and... Read More →


Saturday April 24, 2021 11:30am - 12:45pm PDT
Room A: Sky Church

11:30am PDT

Pop Musicking and Survivance in Native North Pacific Communities (Room B: Oscillator)
Pop Musicking and Survivance in Native North Pacific Communities (Room B: Oscillator)

A growing community of scholars working with, by, and for Native North Pacific communities are rethinking the role of pop musicking in ongoing Indigenous-led self-determination movements. This roundtable focuses on community-based music projects with Quinault, Colville, and Yakama Nations, all of whom serve as stewards to the lands and waters currently known as Washington State. We seek to expand current understandings of survivance -- coined by Anishinaabe literary theorist Gerald Vizenor to better account for praxes of “survival” and “creative continuance” (1994, 2008) -- to account for the significance of Indigenous aurality, orality, and musicality. Our roundtable responds to the following three questions:

  • What is the role of pop music in Indigenous survivance? 
  • How do Native pop musicians sound and relate to ongoing colonial precarities?
  • How are musicking projects for the Quinault, Colville, and Yakama Nations offering new ways forward to (re)imagine futures otherwise?   

Jessica Bissett Perea (Dena’ina) serves as the roundtable chair and offers introductions to our larger themes/questions.

SimHayKin Swawilla Jack (San Poil/Nez Perce/Moses-Columbia/Nespelem/Lakota) discusses her work as an immersion language teacher at the Salish School of Spokane, where she develops multimedia (print, audiovisual, digital, performance) materials to advance language learning and retention. She considers the significance of Indigenizing top 40 karaoke songs and performance as a tool for Nsilxcín (Colville-Okanagan) language resurgence.

Tory Johnston (Quinault) is an emerging musician-scholar working on the significance of collaborative composition as a community building project that can center Quinault approaches (theories, methods, and praxes) to productively bridge ecomusicology with tribal resource management. He explains how Quinault musicking is water-centered, or hydrological, and how we can listen to collaborative compositions as forms of sovereignty.

Jack Flesher describes his work with Music Alive! in the Yakama Valley (MAYV), which is an ongoing, collaborative project in the UW School of Music that engages in cross-cultural community work through music education. As a member of the MAYV team, Jack works to facilitate collective songwriting workshops for students at the Yakama Nation Tribal School. These workshops aim to empower Native youth to explore their identities through music and create their own songs to express self-determined tribal and cultural values.

John-Carlos Perea (Mescalero Apache/German/Irish/Chicano) serves as the roundtable respondent and offers questions/comments for future directions and facilitate Q&A with attendees.



Moderators
JB

Jessica Bissett Perea (Dena’ina)

Jessica Bissett Perea (Dena’ina) is a musicologist and assistant professor of Native American Studies at the University of California, Davis. Her work centers critical Native American and Indigenous studies approaches to music, sound, and performance; Critical race, gender, and... Read More →
JP

John-Carlos Perea (Mescalero Apache/German/Irish/Chicano)

John-Carlos Perea (Mescalero Apache/German/Irish/Chicano) is an ethnomusicologist and associate professor of American Indian Studies in the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University. His research interests include urban American Indian lived experiences and cultural... Read More →

Speakers
SS

SimHayKin Swawilla Jack (San Poil/Nez Perce/Moses-Columbia/ Nespelem/Lakota)

SimHayKin Swawilla Jack (Nez Perce/San Poil/Moses/Lakota) is a PhD candidate in Native American Studies at UC Davis whose research advances language resurgence as/in/with her home community, the Colville Confederated Tribes. Her dissertation, “A History of Language Policy and Practice... Read More →
TJ

Tory Johnston (Quinault)

Tory Johnston (Quinault) is a PhD student in Native American Studies at UC Davis. Informed by his ancestral connection to the shoreline of the Pacific Northwest, he seeks to explore Indigenous approaches to sound and music studies. His research interests include Quinault/Indigenous... Read More →
JF

Jack Flesher

Jack Flesher is a white settler PhD student in Ethnomusicology at the University of Washington where he is also completing certificates in Public Scholarship, Ethics, and Philosophy for Children. His work focuses primarily on the cultural politics of emotion and affect and often explores... Read More →


Saturday April 24, 2021 11:30am - 12:45pm PDT
Room B: Oscillator

12:45pm PDT

Bonus Beats 6
For our breaks between the daytime sessions, members of our Programming Committee volunteered to curate/create short bits of "bonus beats" content.

For this break, we have:

1. "White Rabbit," a 2020 music video by Songs for Tony (including alumnus from NYU Clive Davis Institute): "Disruption and turbulence are foregrounded. The mechanical loop distorts and modulates before disintegrating and reemerging as a slower, more menacing version of itself (mirrored in the video by our transformation into otherworldly levitating vampires). We try to make each element sound like either an animal or a machine - fuzzed-out drum sequences, synthesizers and kaleidoscopic vocals glomming together into a mechanized White Rabbit to lead us into a new industrial dancepunk wonderland."
2. "ZD005," a 2021 music video by NYU Clive Davis Institute alumnus Zhon Doe: "We're in a pretty-person industry. But “prettiness” changes. And pretty people are interchangeable. Yet somehow what people find pretty seems set in stone."

 

Speakers
avatar for Songs For Tony

Songs For Tony

Songs For Tony is a new dancepunk project between Alex MacKay (Cutouts, CHAI) and Del Montgomery (D.Light, Mikaela Davis).About "White Rabbit:" Our first song 'White Rabbit' arrives with a music video, in which we perform a vampiric ritual in upstate NY. Released in time for Halloween... Read More →
avatar for Zhon Doe

Zhon Doe

NZ-born, NY-based artist and technologist Zhon Doe sounds like a young Tchaikovsky going through a Depeche Mode phase. He is classically trained on symphonies and melodrama, and self-taught in the ways of synth-based R&B songwriting. Doe created the concept of Aural Surrogacy, and... Read More →


Saturday April 24, 2021 12:45pm - 1:00pm PDT
Both Room A+B

1:00pm PDT

Shifting Cultural Memory: Explorations in Black Voice (Room A: Sky Church)
Shifting Cultural Memory: Explorations in Black Voice (Room A: Sky Church)

“Don't waste your candor/On bystanders” sings Moses Sumney. This panel considers the power candid Black voices posess, how they can convert bystanders into activists, lovers, joyful children, writers, fans. From Sumney to Odetta, from Cynthia Dagnal-Myron to Chance the Rapper, the panel explores how Black voices and bodies have been marked by personal and collective history, and how they speak to it.

The order of papers will be: Landgraf, Shaviro, De Coste, and Mack.

Moderators
avatar for Melissa A. Weber

Melissa A. Weber

Curator, Hogan Archive of New Orleans Music and New Orleans Jazz, Tulane University Special Collections
Hailing from New Orleans, Melissa A. Weber serves as curator of the Hogan Archive of New Orleans Music and New Orleans Jazz, a division of Tulane University Special Collections. She also teaches a History of Urban Music course in the College of Music and Media at Loyola University... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Steven Shaviro

Steven Shaviro

MOSES SUMNEY: SHADES OF “GRAE”Moses Sumney’s 2020 album grae struggles over what it means to be “in-between,”" to be “multiple,” to experience one’s identity as “a kind of patchwork” – in short, what it means to not fit into any of the binaries that conventionally... Read More →
avatar for Skye Landgraf

Skye Landgraf

MA candidate, English, George Washington University.
Odetta Sings Dylan and the Sonic Labor of Black Female MusiciansThis talk will explore the oft overshadowed role of black women artists in the protest archive by examining the artistic relationship between Odetta, often referred to as the voice of the civil rights movement, and Bob... Read More →
avatar for Kyle DeCoste

Kyle DeCoste

PhD Candidate, Ethnomusicology, Columbia University
Lil Chano From 79th: Voicing Black Boy Joy in the Music of Chance the RapperIn 2016, journalist Danielle Young coined the hashtag #BlackBoyJoy to describe Chance the Rapper’s creative output—in particular, the carefree Black boyhood he epitomizes through his music. As hashtags... Read More →
avatar for Kimberly Mack

Kimberly Mack

“It's our version of Almost Famous, huh?”: Towards a Reimagined Canon of Rock CriticismRock music is Black music. Evolving out of the blues and, later, rhythm and blues, rock and roll circa 1950s-early 1960s had a Black face, with artists like Chuck Berry and Little Richard leading... Read More →


Saturday April 24, 2021 1:00pm - 2:15pm PDT
Room A: Sky Church

1:00pm PDT

Re / vision / ist History (Room B: Oscillator)
Re / vision / ist History: A Focused Roundtable (Room B: Oscillator)


What even is time? This 2020 question will continue to haunt us into 2021, and Pop Con’s theme is the perfect invitation to interrogate and examine the dynamic interplay of art and time. Our proposed roundtable, Re / vision / ist History, explores multiple facets of music spanning several decades.

Erin MacLeod takes us back to the 2010s with the Alaclair Ensemble, an ambitious hip hop collective and concept group based on imagining an alternate history in which the lower Canadian Rebellion was actually won by the Patriots in 1838. In imagining an alternate history of Quebec, one of which is establishing the Declaration of Independence of Lower Canada, Alaclair Ensemble explores treconfiguring separatism, literally and figuratively. The multimedia and bilingual piece examines the limits and possibilities of Alaclair Ensemble’s efficacy, influence, and musicality.

Andrea Warner starts in 1965 and works her way through to the present day with “28 Ways of Looking at a Song.” She explores the feminist highs & hair-raising lows of Buffy Sainte-Marie’s most covered classic, “Until It’s Time For You To Go.” From Elvis, Cher and Päivi Paunu to Barbra Streisand, François Hardy, and the New Birth, this multimedia piece examines how a song changes or retains its shape depending on the cover, the singer, the context, and the pop culture climate.

Isis Semaj-Hall examines Lee Scratch Perry's music to consider how he upsets colonial time with his form of Jamaicanfuturism. Listening carefully to his haunted production in the 1970s to his riddles and wordplay he voiced in the 1990s on "African Hitchhiker", "Angel Gabriel and the Space Boots", "Too Much Money", "Lee the Upsetter", and "(I Got the) Groove", this lyric-focused piece argues that Scratch's Jamaicanfuturist time is not rooted in money as it is in the West that he rejects. Rather, for this musical African alien, he decolonizes time, making it sense-based not cents-based. If the listener repeats, rewinds, and replays, instead of fast forwarding through the musical message, colonial notions of time as money and time as space become less stable.

Moderators
avatar for Paula Mejía

Paula Mejía

Senior Editor at Texas Monthly; co-founding editor of NPR Music's Turning the Tables
Paula Mejía is a Senior Editor at Texas Monthly whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, the New York Times, and other publications. She is a co-founding editor of NPR Music's Turning the Tables series and her first book, a 33 1/3 series volume on the Jesus and Mary... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Andrea Warner

Andrea Warner

Writer
Andrea Warner (she/her) writes and talks. She is the author of Buffy Sainte-Marie: The Authorized Biography and We Oughta Know: How Four Women Ruled the '90s and Changed Canadian Music. Andrea has co-hosted Pop This! podcast since 2015 and is a panelist on CBC’s Pop Chat podcast... Read More →
EM

Erin MacLeod

Erin MacLeod (she/her) has a PhD in communications from McGill, has taught at the University of the West Indies and presently teaches at Vanier College in Montreal, located on the traditional and unceded territory of the Kanien’kehà:ka (Mohawk). Her research interests lie in relationships... Read More →
avatar for Isis Semaj-Hall

Isis Semaj-Hall

Isis Semaj-Hall examines Lee Scratch Perry's music to consider how he upsets colonial time and finds liberation in a renewed convergence with what John Mbiti (1969) calls an African sense of time. Listening carefully to his haunted production in the 1970s and the riddles and wordplay... Read More →


Saturday April 24, 2021 1:00pm - 2:15pm PDT
Room B: Oscillator

2:15pm PDT

Bonus Beats 7
For our breaks between the daytime sessions, members of our Programming Committee volunteered to curate/create short bits of "bonus beats" content.

For this break, we have:

1. "New Year’s Day (Live)," a 2020 music video by NYU Clive Davis Institute student Sabrina Song: "This piece is a live performance of my song "New Year's Day". It was written on January 1st, 2020, and was inspired by the overwhelming and conflicting feelings that come with every new year. There is so much unnecessary pressure to create new goals, reflect and improve, and I always find myself feeling stress rather than optimism. "New Year's Day" illustrates the constant state of uncertainty and flux that I feel as a young person, with the camera lens perspective representing the pressure I feel to be "logged on" and always active on social media."
2. Michelle Habell-Pallán interviewing punk rock artist Alice Bag about her song, "Sister Dynamite."

Speakers
avatar for Michelle Habell-Pallán

Michelle Habell-Pallán

Professor of Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies; Director of the UW Certificate for Public Critical Race Scholarship; Director of the UW Honors Ecuador Study Abroad Program, University of Washington (UW)
avatar for Alice Bag

Alice Bag

L.A. punk icon Alice Bag introduces her video “Sister Dynamite” after a short conversation with Michelle Habell-Pallán. Bag’s  album, Sister Dynamite, is her third solo effort, making a thrilling return to the full-throttle punk that Bag pioneered with her legendary first-wave... Read More →
avatar for Sabrina Song

Sabrina Song

Sabrina Song’s music is a blueprint for how to break and unbreak your own heart. Drawing from singer-songwriter and indie rock influences like HAIM, Carole King and Mitski, the 21-year-old creates introspective, cathartic indie pop. Sabrina is a Long Island native currently based... Read More →


Saturday April 24, 2021 2:15pm - 2:30pm PDT
Both Room A+B

2:30pm PDT

Pod Out the Jams: Podcasting and the Changing Mediums for Music Writing (Room A: Sky Church)
Pod Out the Jams: Podcasting and the Changing Mediums for Music Writing (Room A: Sky Church)

Over the course of the 2010s, podcasting went from being dominated by informal, conversational/testimonial-style content to encompassing a wide range of formats, with varying levels of production quality, not to mention profit potential. As an inherently auditory medium, it’s unsurprising that music-oriented podcasts would arise and even within this specific subset, the range of styles has encompassed everything from song/album analysis to critic roundtables to history-driven storytelling to investigative journalism. This comes at a time where opportunities for print-based music writing continues to contract and web-based outlets have struggled to maintain long-term economic stability. Podcasting, for certain, is faced by similar challenges in navigating this mercurial landscape but the medium is still young enough where both the creative and financial potential is still under-explored. Our roundtable discussion brings together active podcast creators and hosts to discuss the possibilities – and liabilities – involved in turning to podcasting as a medium for music writing in all its diversity. Some of the key questions that our panel would be engaging in include:

-How is podcasting similar or different from other music writing mediums? What are some of its unexpected benefits or shortcomings?

-How challenging has it been to adapt to the medium for those used to text-based forms of music writing, whether creatively, technologically, etc.?

-What is the potential that has yet to be realized, whether creatively, financially or otherwise?

-How may the ongoing consolidation amongst podcast networks, combined with the threat of network-exclusive access, alter our expectations of music podcasting into the 2020s? Do similar consolidations in the print/web-world offer lessons or cautionary tales to learn for podcasters?

Moderators
avatar for Oliver Wang

Oliver Wang

Professor of Sociology, CSU-Long Beach
Oliver Wang is a professor of sociology at CSU-Long Beach and the author of Legions of Boom: Filipino American Mobile DJ Crews of the San Francisco Bay Area (Duke Univ. Press, 2015). He is a founding member of the Pop Conference Executive Committee, chair of the 2021 Pop Convergence... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Sidney Madden

Sidney Madden

NPR Music
JC

Jon Caramanica

New York Times
Jon Caramanica is a pop music critic at the New York Times and the host of their Popcast podcast.
avatar for Chris Molanphy

Chris Molanphy

Chart Columnist/Pop Critic, Slate/Hit Parade
Chris Molanphy is a chart analyst and pop critic who writes about the intersection of culture and commerce in popular music. For Slate, he hosts the Hit Parade podcast and writes their “Why Is This Song No. 1?” series. His work has also appeared in Rolling StonePitchf... Read More →
avatar for Puja Patel

Puja Patel

Editor-in-Chief; host of The Pitchfork Review, Pitchfork
Puja Patel is the editor-in-chief of Pitchfork and hosts The Pitchfork Review. She was previously the editor of SPIN, a senior editor at Deadspin, and has contributed to the Village Voice, MTV, Rolling Stone, and Fader among others. 



Saturday April 24, 2021 2:30pm - 3:45pm PDT
Room A: Sky Church

2:30pm PDT

Session Players/Latina Feminist Critics: Nine Songs for Public Health (Room B: Oscillator)
Session Players/Latina Feminist Critics: Nine Songs for Public Health (Room B: Oscillator)

Licia Fiol-Matta, Deborah R. Vargas, and Alexandra T. Vazquez

At this roundtable we are both session players and Latina feminist critics. The session player is a position that we collectively aspire to, as one who can and must go where the work is, without the fanfare of fame or social media profile or, just as often, credit. They go undeterred from bringing everything they’ve got, doing it properly, or in the words of our poet laureate Tego Calderon, “Dai, pero elegante” to any assembly. The Latina feminist critic is less an identitarian position--we don’t want to distract ourselves or you with scars we’ve accumulated in battle—but more a shared repertoire that we’ve been lucky to play together for some years, across the scalene area of Texas Mexico, Cuba Florida, Puerto Rico New York, the multitudes that have entered and left it, and the attention their stories deserve and require--not for a special issue of race, gender, and place in music--but for being more attuned to life and the living.



Moderators
AT

Alexandra T. Vazquez

Associate Professor, Department of Performance Studies, New York University
Alexandra T. Vazquez is Associate Professor in the Department of Performance Studies at NYU. Her book, Listening in Detail: Performances of Cuban Music (Duke 2013), won the American Studies Association’s Lora Romero Book Prize in 2014. Her work has been featured in NPR’s “Turning... Read More →

Speakers
LF

Licia Fiol-Matta

Professor of Spanish and Portuguese, New York University
Licia Fiol-Matta grew up in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and is Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at New York University. She writes on Latin American and Latinx literary and cultural studies, women’s and gender studies, and music. Fiol-Matta is the author of A Queer Mother for the... Read More →
avatar for Deborah R. Vargas

Deborah R. Vargas

Deborah R. Vargas is Associate Professor and The Henry Rutgers Term Chair in Comparative Sexuality, Gender, and Race at Rutgers University. She is the author of Dissonant Divas in Chicana Music: The Limits of La Onda (University of Minnesota Press) and co-editor with Nancy Raquel... Read More →


Saturday April 24, 2021 2:30pm - 3:45pm PDT
Room B: Oscillator

3:45pm PDT

Bonus Beats 8
For our breaks between the daytime sessions, members of our Programming Committee volunteered to curate/create short bits of "bonus beats" content.

For this break, we have DJ Natasha Diggs and her 10 minute, "Soul in the Horn: The Pop Con Edition" pop-up mix. Known as the 45 Queen, one of the most sought-after DJs in the world. She has performed with artists such as Erykah Badu, Mark Ronson, Grandmaster Flash, Cut Chemist, Spinderella, Prince Paul, 45 King, and more. Thanks to Melissa A. Weber for inviting Diggs to share this mix.

Speakers
avatar for DJ Natasha Diggs

DJ Natasha Diggs

Natasha Diggs is a NYC based DJ & producer who has created waves with her diverse musical stylings throughout the globe. Coined the 45 Queen, and known for rocking crowds with her 45 vinyl sets, she follows in the footsteps of a rich NYC nightlife legacy.As resident of two of New... Read More →


Saturday April 24, 2021 3:45pm - 4:00pm PDT
Both Room A+B

4:00pm PDT

“Going, Going, Gone: The Future After Marvin’s Masterpiece” (Room A: Sky Church)
“Going, Going, Gone: The Future After Marvin’s Masterpiece” (Room A: Sky Church)

Anniversaries are meant to mark the occasion of an opening: renewed life, new directions, committed love. In that, they inevitably carry with them something else, those things that are left behind or displaced on the day or season but inevitably linger, even through celebration. Loneliness, gloom, and vulnerability remain and yearly amass sharper and more expansive evidence of having been there. Music carries all of this and with each rotation reinvents the world, what we know and hoped to know. Marvin Gaye’s classic What’s Going On? (1971) responded to a terrifying, terrified, and fragile nation and asked a question with staying power. “Going, Going, Gone” assembles a panel of Black music scholars and musicians to offer multitextual and creative accountings of the future that Gaye queried. Prolonged listening in Washington, D.C. and Detroit, studies of technique in studio outtakes, and the poetics of his influence overlay a stunning record that, fifty years later, continues to shorten the distance between anniversary and memorial.

Moderators
avatar for RJ Smith

RJ Smith

RJ Smith is the author most recently of American Witness: The Art and Life of Robert Frank (Da Capo Press, 2017). His The One: The Life and Music of James Brown (Gotham Books) was one of the New York Times’ 100 Notable Books of 2012. The Great Black Way: L.A. in the 1940s and... Read More →

Speakers
NH

Natalie Hopkinson

Associate Professor, Department of Communication, Culture and Media Studies, Howard University
Natalie Hopkinson is Associate Professor in the Department of Communication, Culture and Media Studies at Howard University. She is the author of Go-Go Live: The Musical Life & Death of a Chocolate City(Duke University Press, 2012) and A Mouth is Always Muzzled: Six Dissidents, Five... Read More →
LD

Lynnée Denise

DJ Lynnée Denise is an artist, scholar, and writer whose work reflects on underground cultural movements, the 1980s, migration studies, theories of escape, and electronic music of the African Diaspora. Her work on DJ scholarship has been featured at prestigious institutions and in... Read More →
MA

Mark Anthony Neal

James B. Duke Distinguished Professor and Chair of African and African American Studies, Duke University
Mark Anthony Neal is the James B. Duke Distinguished Professor and Chair of African and African American Studies at Duke University. He is the author of several books including What the Music Said: Black Popular Music and Black Public Culture (1999), Soul Babies: Black Popular Culture... Read More →
GP

Guthrie P. Ramsey

Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Term Professor of Music, University of Pennsylvania
A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Guthrie P. Ramsey, Jr. is a music historian, pianist, composer, and the Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Term Professor of Music at the University of Pennsylvania. A widely-published writer, he’s the author of Race Music: Black... Read More →
avatar for Shana L. Redmond

Shana L. Redmond

Professor, Musicology, Global Jazz Studies, and African American Studies, UCLA
Shana L. Redmond (she|her) is a public-facing scholar of Black culture and politics and the author of Anthem: Social Movements and the Sound of Solidarity in the African Diaspora(NYU Press, 2014) and Everything Man: The Form and Function of Paul Robeson(Duke UP, 2020), which was... Read More →



Saturday April 24, 2021 4:00pm - 5:15pm PDT
Room A: Sky Church
 
Sunday, April 25
 

11:00am PDT

Artist Relations and the Power of the Interview w/ Jason King and Liz Pelly (Room A: Sky Church)
Artist Relations and the Power of the Interview w/ Jason King and Liz Pelly (Room A: Sky Church)

With support from Critical Minded, the Pop Convergence is expanding our mentorship offerings with seven hour-long sessions designed to assist up-and-coming music writers from underrepresented and marginalized communities. All sessions are now filled for direct participants but this is a public session that audience members are allowed into.

Session Description: Anyone who aspires to write music journalism needs to sharpen their skills at conducting artist interviews; the artist interview is also a core feature of music curation for podcasts, music documentaries, and live events. Writers are often tasked with artist relations, which can include finding, pitching and recruiting musicians for features, and for a wide range of curated projects and events—that wrangling is a skill on its own. In this workshop, writers and scholars Jason King and Liz Pelly discuss how writers can conduct effective interviews through by becoming skilled at asking savvy questions and by becoming effective listeners; and they’ll address best practices in artist relations that every music writer should master.

Speakers
avatar for Jason King

Jason King

Chair & Professor, Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, New York University
Jason King is the Chair of New York University’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music. Jason is a musician, DJ, performer, producer, songwriter, scholar, curator, journalist and a widely published scholar, writing on the cultural politics of artists like Beyonce, Drake, Roberta... Read More →
avatar for Liz Pelly

Liz Pelly

Adjunct Professor, writer, critic; Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music
Liz Pelly is a writer and critic based in New York. She covers music, culture, media, streaming and the internet. Her byline appears most often at The Baffler, where she is a columnist and contributing editor. She currently teaches at NYU's Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music... Read More →


Sunday April 25, 2021 11:00am - 12:00pm PDT
Room A: Sky Church

11:00am PDT

Strategizing a Book Launch w/ Regina Bradley (Private Mentorship Session)
With support from Critical Minded, the Pop Convergence is expanding our mentorship offerings with seven hour-long sessions designed to assist up-and-coming music writers from underrepresented and marginalized communities.

Session Description: So you wrote a book, huh? Congrats! Now for the hardest fun you'll have in the book writing process: promoting your book. This workshop focuses on how to cultivate your "seller's pitch" for a wide-range of academic and non-academic readers and use social media to your advantage.

Note: This session is private and will only be open to invited participants. All spaces are now filled. 

Speakers
avatar for Regina Bradley

Regina Bradley

Dr. Regina N. Bradley is an alumna Nasir Jones HipHop Fellow (Hutchins Center, Harvard University, Spring 2016), Assistant Professor of English and African Diaspora Studies at Kennesaw State University, and co-host of the critically acclaimed southern hip hop podcast Bottom of the... Read More →



Sunday April 25, 2021 11:00am - 12:00pm PDT
Private Mentorship Room

12:00pm PDT

Art of the Pitch w/ Paula Mejía and Jenn Pelly (Private Mentorship Session)
With support from Critical Minded, the Pop Convergence is expanding our mentorship offerings with seven hour-long sessions designed to assist up-and-coming music writers from underrepresented and marginalized communities. Interested participants can sign-up here.

Session Description: From pithy reviews to longform reporting, all stories start with a pitch. How do you distill a complicated subject into a concise email? How do you persuade an editor to take a chance on a little-known artist or a big idea? In this mentorship session, we'll break down the art of the pitch from conceptualizing an idea to drafting that email and hitting send.

Note: This session is private and will only be open to invited participants. All participant slots are now filled. 

Speakers
avatar for Jenn Pelly

Jenn Pelly

Contributing Editor, Pitchfork
Jenn Pelly is a contributing editor at Pitchfork and author of The Raincoats. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, NPR, The Wire, and elsewhere.
avatar for Paula Mejía

Paula Mejía

Senior Editor at Texas Monthly; co-founding editor of NPR Music's Turning the Tables
Paula Mejía is a Senior Editor at Texas Monthly whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, the New York Times, and other publications. She is a co-founding editor of NPR Music's Turning the Tables series and her first book, a 33 1/3 series volume on the Jesus and Mary... Read More →


Sunday April 25, 2021 12:00pm - 1:00pm PDT
Private Mentorship Room

12:00pm PDT

Public Writing For Academics w/ Hua Hsu and Oliver Wang (Room A: Sky Church)
Public Writing For Academics w/ Hua Hsu and Oliver Wang (Room A: Sky Church)

With support from Critical Minded, the Pop Convergence is expanding our mentorship offerings with seven hour-long sessions designed to assist up-and-coming music writers from underrepresented and marginalized communities. All sessions are now filled for direct participants but this is a public session that audience members are allowed into.

Session Description: The goal of this session is to discuss ways in which academics and scholars can seek opportunities to bring their expertise to a wider, public audience. Especially in a time of rampant misinformation and anti-intellectualism, informed voices are more important than ever but it's not always easy to bridge scholarly expertise over to general audiences without making a concerted attempt at writing with greater legibility and understanding what venues would be most open to having academics contribute essays, op-eds, etc. Both speakers have spent their professional lives split between academia and journalism and will be offering suggestions on how to navigate between those spheres. 

Speakers
avatar for Oliver Wang

Oliver Wang

Professor of Sociology, CSU-Long Beach
Oliver Wang is a professor of sociology at CSU-Long Beach and the author of Legions of Boom: Filipino American Mobile DJ Crews of the San Francisco Bay Area (Duke Univ. Press, 2015). He is a founding member of the Pop Conference Executive Committee, chair of the 2021 Pop Convergence... Read More →
avatar for Hua Hsu

Hua Hsu

Associate Professor/Staff Writer, Vassar College/The New Yorker
Hua Hsu is a staff writer at the New Yorker and author of the forthcoming memoir, Stay True. He is an associate professor of English at Vassar College and serves on the boards of the Asian American Writers Workshop and Critical Minded, an initiative to support cultural critics of... Read More →


Sunday April 25, 2021 12:00pm - 1:00pm PDT
Room A: Sky Church

1:00pm PDT

How To Write a Hot Take…That Lasts w/ Ann Powers (Room A: Sky Church)
How To Write a Hot Take…That Lasts w/ Ann Powers (Room A: Sky Church)

With support from Critical Minded, the Pop Convergence is expanding our mentorship offerings with seven hour-long sessions designed to assist up-and-coming music writers from underrepresented and marginalized communities. All sessions are now filled for direct participants but this is a public session that audience members are allowed into.

Session Description: The think piece has become the coin of the realm in cultural journalism -- often quickly produced in response to a new release or cultural event. This presents opportunities for music writers, but also serious challenges. How can writers be prepared to formulate ideas about music quickly, providing necessary context and interpretation, in ways that draw in readers -- and, more importantly, have an impact past the usual hot take's short sell-by date. Powers, who has been writing cultural criticism for the popular press, will discuss developing an information toolbox to use when writing quick-react essays; integrating first-person, historical and theoretical material to create balanced and compelling views; and developing an authoritative voice in a highly reactive world.

Speakers
avatar for Ann Powers

Ann Powers

Critic and Correspondent; Founder, Turning the Tables, NPR Music
Ann Powers is NPR Music's critic and correspondent. Her books include Good Booty: Love and Sex, Black and White, Body and Soul in American Music, Weird Like Us: My Bohemian America,and (with the aritst)Tori Amos: Piece By Piece. She is the co-editor, with Evelyn McDonnell, of Rock... Read More →


Sunday April 25, 2021 1:00pm - 2:00pm PDT
Room A: Sky Church

1:00pm PDT

Writing Biographies w/ RJ Smith and Karen Tongson (Room B: Oscillator)
Writing Biographies w/ RJ Smith and Karen Tongson (Room B: Oscillator)

With support from Critical Minded, the Pop Convergence is expanding our mentorship offerings with seven hour-long sessions designed to assist up-and-coming music writers from underrepresented and marginalized communities. All sessions are now filled for direct participants but this is a public session that audience members are allowed into.

Session Description: This mentorship session examines the process of researching, writing and selling biographies. The session will open out into a discussion with all present regarding issues involved in writing about the arts, for few literary forms support such a sprawl of approaches and voices that both draw and diverge from traditions in criticism, history and personal history writing more than does the biography.

Speakers
avatar for Karen Tongson

Karen Tongson

Chair, Gender & Sexuality Studies; Professor, English and American Studies & Ethnicity, USC
Karen Tongson is the author of Why Karen Carpenter Matters, and Relocations: Queer Suburban Imaginaries. In 2019, she received Lambda Literary’s Jeanne Córdova Award for Lesbian/Queer Nonfiction for her body of work to date. She is chair of gender & sexuality studies, and Professor... Read More →
avatar for RJ Smith

RJ Smith

RJ Smith is the author most recently of American Witness: The Art and Life of Robert Frank (Da Capo Press, 2017). His The One: The Life and Music of James Brown (Gotham Books) was one of the New York Times’ 100 Notable Books of 2012. The Great Black Way: L.A. in the 1940s and... Read More →


Sunday April 25, 2021 1:00pm - 2:00pm PDT
Room B: Oscillator

2:00pm PDT

Finding Your Voice: A Writing Workshop with Joan Morgan and NYU Students of The Collective Blive Recorded Music Chapter (Room A: Sky Church)
Finding Your Voice: A Writing Workshop with Joan Morgan and NYU Students of The Collective Blive Recorded Music Chapter (Room A: Sky Church)

With support from Critical Minded, the Pop Convergence is expanding our mentorship offerings with seven hour-long sessions designed to assist up-and-coming music writers from underrepresented and marginalized communities.

Session Description: In the age of cluttered timelines and constant social media commentary, finding one’s authentic voice can be just as challenging as it is crucial. The Collective Blive Recorded Music Chapter, a New York University Tisch School of the Arts club for rising Black multidisciplinary artists at NYU, is hosting a conversation and journalism workshop with Dr. Joan Morgan, in partnership with the Pop Conference’s 2021 Convergence Event “Turn and Face the Change: Popular Music in Times of Flux” and the grantmaking and learning initiative Critical Minded. After a discussion with Dr. Morgan concerning her journey to her singular, critically acclaimed writing style, NYU students will receive real-time feedback on their original music journalism pieces.

Dr. Joan Morgan is the Program Director of the Center for Black Visual Culture at New York University. She is an award-winning cultural critic, feminist author, Grammy nominated songwriter and a pioneering hip-hop journalist. Morgan coined the term “hip-hop feminism” in 1999, when she published the groundbreaking book, When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost: A Hip-Hop Feminist Breaks it Down which is taught at universities globally. Regarded internationally as an expert on the topics of hip-hop, race and gender, Morgan has made numerous television, radio and film appearances. She has been a Visiting Scholar at The New School, Vanderbilt, Duke and Stanford Universities. She was a Visiting Assistant Professor at her alma mater, New York University, in the department of Social and Cultural Analysis. Her most recent book is She Begat This: 20 Years of the Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Jamaican-born and South Bronx bred, Morgan is a proud Native New Yorker.

Note: While mentorship and workshop for this event with Dr. Morgan is available only to selected NYU students, the event is open to the public to observe and free to attend by all. You can sign up to receive the link for this event here.

Speakers
avatar for Joan Morgan

Joan Morgan

Program Director, the Center for Black Visual Culture, New York University
Dr. Joan Morgan is the Program Director of the Center for Black Visual Culture at New York University. She is an award-winning cultural critic, feminist author, Grammy nominated songwriter and a pioneering hip-hop journalist.  Morgan coined the term “hip-hop feminism” in 1999... Read More →


Sunday April 25, 2021 2:00pm - 3:30pm PDT
Room A: Sky Church