From the Roski School of Fine Arts to the Keck School of Medicine of USC, it’s no secret that USC is replete with incredibly talented individuals. In keeping with this tradition, the Thornton School of Music has consistently managed to foster excellence in students for generations. The popular music program, one of the school’s most recent successes, is no exception. At only four years old, the program has held class with the likes of famed Jay Z producer Young Guru, been featured in numerous local and national publications and even performed with The Beach Boys. Even with this impressive resumé, however, the school’s greatest triumph is its students. Twenty-year-old sophomore Katie Stump, one of the shining lights of the program, is proving exactly why the popular music major deserves its highly lauded reputation.
On Friday, Feb. 28, Stump will be headlining a special show at Tommy’s Place to celebrate the release of her latest record, Puzzle Pieces. A California native, Stump lets the SoCal spirit thrive in all of her music. Her laid-back, sun-soaked musical style fits in perfectly with the USC atmosphere and one wouldn’t be surprised to hear her tunes blaring from a boombox on Venice Beach.
“I like to think of my sound as a combination of pop and country singer-songwriter music, with a hint of folk mixed in,” Stump said.
In keeping with this style, fans of Taylor Swift or Colbie Caillat will instantly recognize the bubbly guitars, light drums and empowering themes. Anyone at the show can expect to tap his or her foot along to songs about love, loss and seizing the day.
“Lyrically I enjoy drawing from honest experiences, good and bad, that I or the people around me are going through,” Stump said. “This album in particular has a lot of positive, motivational messages throughout, which I also really enjoy sharing with my listeners.”
With songs such as “Today” and “Chasing Summer,” Stump shows her lighter side. After a long winter, warm themes of spring and summer are definitely welcome. That said, she isn’t afraid to delve into more emotional material, and Stump shows her maturity as a writer on tracks like “I Told You So” and “Stay.” Even though Katie might seem sweet on the surface, she’s definitely not your average pop star in the making. Incredible prowess on the guitar as well as a knockout voice make her tastefully simple songs come alive.
“I have been working on these songs for a long time, so it would mean the world to me to see them enjoyed by the audience,” Stump said. “I also hope to strengthen my connection with my fans as well as make some new ones.”
For anyone who has seen her play before, Stump’s dedication to her music and fans is clear. Though compelling on her own, Stump will be backed by a band of fellow Thornton students Devon Eisenbarger, Leila Milki, Mike Harper and Livia Slingerland. With incredible songs and this fantastic lineup, it will be hard for anyone to come away from the show without wanting to find out more about this up-and-coming artist.
Friday’s show starts at 7:30 p.m. at Tommy’s Place, with singer-songwriter Meg De Lacy followed by popular music student Max Quilici. Stump will take the stage and start her 45-minute set of all original material at 9 p.m. For those interested in finding out more about Stump, visit katiestump.com or search for her on iTunes. Physical copies of Puzzle Pieces will also be available at the show.