NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music hosts the 2022 Pop Conference featuring Grammy winners Youssou N’Dour, Arooj Aftab, and Lido Pimienta, Jamila Woods, and Aurelio Martinez

Pop Conference — the longest running music writing and pop music studies conference of its kind—will bring together the world’s leading pop scholars, journalists, writers, musicians for four days of virtual events exploring pop music’s role in shaping the way we think about borders, race and home, from April 21 to 24. This year’s online conference is hosted by NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, Tisch School of the Arts, and is free and open to the public with advance registration.

Pop Conference 2022 features four days of panels, roundtables, and mentorship sessions, including an opening keynote panel in collaboration with Billboard called “The Way Back Home: How Musicians Navigate Race and Borders” featuring acclaimed musicians Youssou N’Dour, Arooj Aftab, Lido Pimienta and moderated by Ann Powers.

Other events include original concert performances by Jamila Woods and Aurelio Martinez broadcast from New York City; a special tribute panel to legendary music writer Robert Christgau, who celebrates his 80th birthday this week; and two closing keynote panels on Sunday April 24th paying honor to the respective written and musical legacies of beloved writer/bandleader Greg Tate, who passed away in December 2021.

This year’s Pop Conference theme is “When I Think of Home: Race and Borders in Popular Music” and will kick-off Thursday, April 21st at 7 p.m. ET with a panel looking back at the twenty years of the Pop Conference, hosted by original organizer Eric Weisbard and acclaimed writers, journalists and scholars. That panel is followed by the official opening night keynote featuring Arooj Aftab, recent Grammy Award winner for Best Global Music Performance; Canadian-Colombian, Grammy-nominated and Polaris Prize-winning interdisciplinary artist, musician and curator Lido Pimienta; and legendary singer, songwriter, musician, businessman, activist, ambassador and politician Youssou N’Dour, one of the most highly celebrated African musicians of all time.

The keynote address, “The Way Back Home: How Musicians Navigate Race and Borders” brings together three three trailblazing musicians whose work illuminates the main themes of this year’s conference—borders, home, and race—and has helped reimagine the role and power of popular music as it circulates in a rapidly globalized world. The panelists explore how their music crosses borders of all kinds, and in turn transforms those borders—forcing us, in the process, to rethink notions of home and homelands, as well as race and identity.

“One of the most powerful things about popular music has always been the way that it travels, bringing people together across far-flung places in solidarity and affirmation. This year’s Pop Conference is an amazing opportunity to deeply consider the work that pop music does to create those connections across borders and racial divides and to think more deeply about its relationship to place,” said Jason King, Chair of the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music.

Pop Conference is known as one of the foremost venues for discussion of music in the world. The conference has resulted in multiple publications, including three collections of essays: This Is Pop: In Search of the Elusive at Experience Music Project, Listen Again: A Momentary History of Pop Music, and Pop When the World Falls Apart: Music in the Shadow of Doubt.

This year’s programming committee includes: RJ Smith (writer), Regina Bradley (Kennesaw State University), Markus K. Dowling (writer), Steacy Easton (writer & artist), Jason King (Chair, New York University’s Clive Davis Institute), Kimberly Mack (Univ. of Toledo), Amanda Marie Martinez (UCLA), Paula Mejía (Texas Monthly), Elizabeth Nelson (writer, The Paranoid Style), Jessica Bissett Perea (UC Davis). This year’s Pop Conference is produced by RJ Smith and Jason King.

This year’s Pop Conference is supported by Critical Minded, a granting and learning initiative cofounded by The Nathan Cummings Foundation and The Ford Foundation to support cultural critics of color in the United States, where they are underrepresented in the coverage of all artistic disciplines.

To register and see the full schedule, please visit https://www.popconference.org/

For any questions about the conference, please email tisch.recordedmusic@nyu.edu

Media inquiries should be directed to Sarah Binney at sarah.binney@nyu.edu.

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About the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music
The Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at New York University is the premier educational training ground for future leaders in the music industry. The Clive Davis Institute— founded by chief patron and music impresario Clive Davis himself — has developed a reputation for recruiting and developing the most compelling new talent in the business. Alumni include dynamic young producer-songwriter Nija; musical phenoms FLETCHER and Raveena; visionary producer and performer Arca; chart-topping songwriters Take a Daytrip, Emily Warren and Madison Love; and Capitol Records' recording artist Maggie Rogers. The Institute, which officially launched in 2003 and has been the home of instructors like ?uestlove, Q-Tip, Bob Power, Angela Winbush, and Robert Glasper, and also boasts a steady stream of talented graduates barnstorming other industry areas like business, journalism, tech, and production. The 2021-22 artist-in-residence at the Institute is five-time Grammy Award-winning artist, songwriter, musician, and producer Jack Antonoff; Katie Vinten, Senior Vice President of A&R at Columbia Records and CEO of Black Diamond Artist Management, is the executive-in-residence. In 2021, the Clive Davis Institute appointed a new advisory board, composed of exceptional music industry leaders, to complement the work of the Institute’s faculty and staff by serving a crucial role as both a sounding board and a source of ideas. The advisory board includes Binta Niambi Brown, Caron Veazey, Dream Hampton, Drew Dixon, Lanre Gaba, Meshell Ndegeocello, Nicole Wyskoarko, Nija Charles, Puja Patel, Rebeca León, Suzanne De Passe, Sylvia Rhone, and Wendy Ong.




Press Contact

Sarah Binney
Sarah Binney
(212) 998-6829