Pop Conference 2024: ‘Legacy, Music Collections, and Archives’

The panels and presentations at Pop Conference 2024 were an education in music history — topics ranged from how a Mexican military brass band helped shape Jazz in New Orleans, to a deep dive into the rave scene subculture.

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USC’s Thornton School of Music was a fitting backdrop for Pop Conference 2024 in Los Angeles. This year’s theme was ‘Legacy, Music Collections, and Archives.’

Speaking to DMN, presenter Lily Moayeri explained how she turned a career’s worth of band interviews into a successful podcast, Pictures of Lily. “We just did episode 80 last month which was Noel Gallagher — it was an interview I did with him from 1995. Next episode is going to be Daft Punk from 1997. And I have two or three more Daft Punk interviews as well, so they might be coming down the line. And I have a lot of interviews with Noel, so they might be coming down the line too,” Msayeri said.

Another awesome topic was peeling back the layers of country music, and how artists like Beyonce and others are starting to shed light on part of the genre’s rich history that was once suppressed from the public.

Jwly Hight, Journalist for Nashville Public Radio spoke about figures that have been traditionally held up as the founding parents of country music, such as Jimmy Rogers and The Carter Family, and so on. “Alice Randall, her own mission has been to bring black voices and brown voices into country music and to redefine how the history of country music and that narrative is told,” said Hight, adding, “[Randall’s] written a book [My Black Country] that not only centers her own legacy, but goes back to the very beginning of commercially recorded country music.”

“[It] shows that there have been black originators and pioneers all along, even though they have been erased from so many tellings of the story,” Hight explained.

The highlight of Pop Con 2024 was a trip down memory lane with keynote speakers Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman.

The legendary musicians and songwriting duo recalled their days creating magic in the band, Prince and the Revolution, recording their own music, and collaborating on countless successful music and film projects.

Lisa told the story of how she first met and auditioned for Prince. After he picked her up from the airport in his hometown of Minneapolis, Lisa lit a cigarette in Prince’s Fiat. Later at his home, Prince was about to get her a ‘plane ticket back to LA’ until he heard her play the piano in his basement. “And the rest was history,” Lisa said.

Pop Conference 2024 took place March 7-9 in Los Angeles.