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Friday, November 13, 2020 5:30 PM // UMS Digital Presentation

POP BREAKDOWN
A conversation on sonic, visual and cultural transgressions in pop music

 

What is the point of Pop in 2020?

Join a talk about the social, racial, cultural intersections of pop music and performance with UMS Digital Artist-in-Residence Tunde Olaniran, singer/songwriter Siena Liggins, producer and classically trained vocalist/instrumentalist Shara Nova (My Brightest Diamond), and musician, singer-songwriter, actor and LGBTQ advocate Olly Alexander (Years & Years).

The four guests will talk about Olaniran’s newest song, WDWHI, where they are as individual artists in 2020, as well as their various relationships to pop music and performance over the course of their careers. They will also answer audience questions.

Recommended Readings

Briana Younger, “From Prince to Whitney to Nicki: The Plight of the Black Pop Star” (Vice)
Taliah Mancini, “Pop Music Has Always Been Queer” (The Nation)

 

About the Artists

Tunde Olaniran

Tunde Olaniran is a singer/songwriter, producer, author, choreographer. His debut album (Transgressor) led to praise from critics at The New York Times, Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, and countless others. He was named NPR‘s Top Artist to Watch at SXSW 2017. He released his second studio album (Stranger) in 2018, which was called a “finely calibrated mix of purpose and playfulness, executed to stylish perfection” by NPR, “pop caffeine” by Bust Magazine, a “totally vibrant declaration of worth” by The FADER, and “at once triumphant and defiant” by The New Yorker.

Olly Alexander

Olly is a musician and actor, his band is called Years & Years.

Shara Nova

Shara Nova has released five albums under the moniker My Brightest Diamond and has composed works for yMusic, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Young New Yorkers’ Chorus, Brooklyn Rider, Nadia Sirota and Roomful of Teeth among others. In 2019 she composed an “opera for a city” with director Mark DeChiazza and over 600 musicians along with the Cincinnati Symphony entitled “Look Around.” Her orchestrations have been performed by the Aarhus Symfoni, North Carolina Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, American Composers Orchestra and the BBC Concert orchestra. Her baroque chamber p’opera “You Us We All” premiered in the US in October 2015 at BAM Next Wave Festival. Nova is a Kresge Arts fellow, a Carolina Performing Arts Creative Futures fellow funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, a Knights Grant recipient and a United States Artists fellow.

Shara is composing a multi-screen, musical film with composer / performer Helga Davis (of Einstein on the Beach) entitled ‘Ocean Body’ to premiere in Detroit at Wasserman Gallery in February 2021. The work examines the decade-long close friendship between Davis and Nova and seeks a necessary bridge for the division that exists not only in our society, but in ourselves.

Siena Liggins

Over the last year the Atlanta-based Detroit native Siena Liggins has gone from a behind-the-scenes songwriter to one of Billboard’s Top Ten new LGBTQ artists who has shared stages with the likes of Lizzo, Doja Cat, and Leikeli47. She has been featured on playlists across every streaming platform, including the cover of Tidal’s rising pop playlist this summer. With an aptness for savoir-faire paired with flirtatious wordplay and catchy hooks, Siena’s work highlights her experiences and worldview in an unapologetically saucy and honest way. Her songs have been called “Queer Pop Perfection (wussy mag)”, and Siena thinks that might have something to do with her writing approach:

“i write songs for me. i can’t spend time thinking about if the lyrics are too provocative or if the melody is too bubblegum and if those two concepts clash a little bit. i’m just making songs that i’ve always wanted to hear— queer, catchy, tweetable. i mostly make them for other girls who like girls, but in the process it seems like i’m tapping into feelings that we all share, regardless of whose DM’s we slide into.”

After building her fanbase with single songs releases, Siena’s debut full-length album is due out in early 2021, and she can’t wait for you to hear it.

SUPPORTING SPONSOR

  • Julia Darlow and John O’Meara
  • Anne and Paul Glendon
  • Joe Malcoun and Caitlin Klein

PATRON SPONSOR

  • Carol Amster
  • Stephen and Rosamund Forrest
  • Beverley and Gerson Geltner
  • Susan and Richard Gutow
  • James and Nancy Stanley

FUNDED IN PART BY

  • UMS Sustaining Directors
11/13/20 5:30 PM
UMS Digital Presentation

POP BREAKDOWN
A conversation on sonic, visual and cultural transgressions in pop music

Play Video Play

What is the point of Pop in 2020?

Join a talk about the social, racial, cultural intersections of pop music and performance with UMS Digital Artist-in-Residence Tunde Olaniran, singer/songwriter Siena Liggins, producer and classically trained vocalist/instrumentalist Shara Nova (My Brightest Diamond), and musician, singer-songwriter, actor and LGBTQ advocate Olly Alexander (Years & Years).

The four guests will talk about Olaniran’s newest song, WDWHI, where they are as individual artists in 2020, as well as their various relationships to pop music and performance over the course of their careers. They will also answer audience questions.

Recommended Readings

Briana Younger, “From Prince to Whitney to Nicki: The Plight of the Black Pop Star” (Vice)
Taliah Mancini, “Pop Music Has Always Been Queer” (The Nation)

 

About the Artists

Tunde Olaniran

Tunde Olaniran is a singer/songwriter, producer, author, choreographer. His debut album (Transgressor) led to praise from critics at The New York Times, Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, and countless others. He was named NPR‘s Top Artist to Watch at SXSW 2017. He released his second studio album (Stranger) in 2018, which was called a “finely calibrated mix of purpose and playfulness, executed to stylish perfection” by NPR, “pop caffeine” by Bust Magazine, a “totally vibrant declaration of worth” by The FADER, and “at once triumphant and defiant” by The New Yorker.

Olly Alexander

Olly is a musician and actor, his band is called Years & Years.

Shara Nova

Shara Nova has released five albums under the moniker My Brightest Diamond and has composed works for yMusic, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Young New Yorkers’ Chorus, Brooklyn Rider, Nadia Sirota and Roomful of Teeth among others. In 2019 she composed an “opera for a city” with director Mark DeChiazza and over 600 musicians along with the Cincinnati Symphony entitled “Look Around.” Her orchestrations have been performed by the Aarhus Symfoni, North Carolina Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, American Composers Orchestra and the BBC Concert orchestra. Her baroque chamber p’opera “You Us We All” premiered in the US in October 2015 at BAM Next Wave Festival. Nova is a Kresge Arts fellow, a Carolina Performing Arts Creative Futures fellow funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, a Knights Grant recipient and a United States Artists fellow.

Shara is composing a multi-screen, musical film with composer / performer Helga Davis (of Einstein on the Beach) entitled ‘Ocean Body’ to premiere in Detroit at Wasserman Gallery in February 2021. The work examines the decade-long close friendship between Davis and Nova and seeks a necessary bridge for the division that exists not only in our society, but in ourselves.

Siena Liggins

Over the last year the Atlanta-based Detroit native Siena Liggins has gone from a behind-the-scenes songwriter to one of Billboard’s Top Ten new LGBTQ artists who has shared stages with the likes of Lizzo, Doja Cat, and Leikeli47. She has been featured on playlists across every streaming platform, including the cover of Tidal’s rising pop playlist this summer. With an aptness for savoir-faire paired with flirtatious wordplay and catchy hooks, Siena’s work highlights her experiences and worldview in an unapologetically saucy and honest way. Her songs have been called “Queer Pop Perfection (wussy mag)”, and Siena thinks that might have something to do with her writing approach:

“i write songs for me. i can’t spend time thinking about if the lyrics are too provocative or if the melody is too bubblegum and if those two concepts clash a little bit. i’m just making songs that i’ve always wanted to hear— queer, catchy, tweetable. i mostly make them for other girls who like girls, but in the process it seems like i’m tapping into feelings that we all share, regardless of whose DM’s we slide into.”

After building her fanbase with single songs releases, Siena’s debut full-length album is due out in early 2021, and she can’t wait for you to hear it.

SUPPORTING SPONSOR

  • Julia Darlow and John O’Meara
  • Anne and Paul Glendon
  • Joe Malcoun and Caitlin Klein

PATRON SPONSOR

  • Carol Amster
  • Stephen and Rosamund Forrest
  • Beverley and Gerson Geltner
  • Susan and Richard Gutow
  • James and Nancy Stanley

FUNDED IN PART BY

  • UMS Sustaining Directors