Thornton junior is a musical jack of all trades

Kaye jamming out at a sofar show in downtown Los Angeles. Photo courtesy of Liza Kaye

Glittery eyeshadow, vintage looks and vibey electronic pop music are the semblance of Liza Kaye, a junior majoring in popular music. If you have ever scrolled through an Instagram profile and felt the need to be best friends with someone, you understand the power of Kaye’s influence through social media. 

Kaye’s Instagram flawlessly seams together artsy photos with friends and addicting videos showcasing her musical talents. Her videos exhibit her style of R&B and bedroom pop.  

Hailing from Dallas, Kaye was introduced to music at a young age by her father who plays piano. Kaye picked up piano at age 10 and is still a pianist at heart, she said. Throughout high school, she took on music production internships that helped her love for music evolve from piano to business and management. 

“I definitely want to have a hand in the business side of things without losing touch of also being a musician,” Kaye said. “I’d say just the progression of going from a pianist to a producer helped me realize that there’s lots of avenues within music.” 

Cool girl and fashionista Kaye said she loves the collaborative nature of the Thornton School of Music. Before the pandemic, the synergetic environment of the school allowed one to chat with a producer, musician and music marketing expert, all while walking down the hallway between classes. 

“Any team member you essentially need is basically right in front of you,” Kaye said. “It’s nice to have everyone you could potentially meet in one spot.”

Using her knack for piano, Kaye combines her love of playing and producing by posting covers on SoundCloud and Instagram and playing for some of her classmates. 

Beyond being a student and pianist, Kaye is also a producer and manager and interns for music mogul Nick Jarjour at A-List Music and Co. There, Kaye is in charge of running studio sessions, tracking social media analytics and monitoring rehearsals and artists and A&R. 

Kaye manages Jordyn Simone, a fellow junior popular music major, who is a singer-songwriter and was a 2018 contestant on “The Voice.” 

“At the end of the day, I like to work with an artist musically but also help them pitch to a label or work on their social media,” Kaye said. 

Kaye and Simone fit like a lock and key. The two have multiple videos together with Kaye playing piano for the sweet honey vocals of Simone. 

In a video with more than 900 views, Kaye plays while Simone covers the opening vocal track of Kanye West’s “All Falls Down.” The comments are exclusively rave reviews of the duo. 

Simone and Kaye met freshman year after a mutual friend urged the two to work together. Both were hesitant at first, but after meeting, they knew there was something special blossoming creatively between them. 

“Liza is a jack of many trades,” Simone said. “And so for that [we were] like ‘I’m trying to get my career off the ground, and you’re trying to get your career off the ground, why don’t we try to work together, you know, as friends, as good work associates and as musicians?’ So that’s kind of how it formed.” 

The two are now an inseparable duo and live together. On some days they collaborate on projects, writing and producing, while on other days they just spend quality time as friends.

“You know there’s some times where me and Liza will decide to produce a song … write something or get an idea fleshed out,” Simone said. “Then there are some days where we just get high and watch movies. It just depends.” 

HBO’s “Euphoria” was a Twitter-certified cultural reset, and many people have attempted to mimic the iconic looks from the show. Kaye embodies the female badassery of the show effortlessly, Simone said. 

“[Liza] gives edged up girl next door vibes,” Simone said. “She’s like an eccentric, eclectic art hoe.” 

Outside of Thornton, Kaye has also collaborated with 19-year-old Berklee College of Music bass performance major Zoe Sparks. After Kaye reached out to Sparks, they immediately admired each other’s talents. 

In a cover of Ariana Grande’s “Only One,” Sparks strums her bass and sings. Kaye adds a groovy piano on top of the already phenomenal vocals of Sparks. 

“She has a very unique style,” Sparks said. “I just feel like she’s really innovative with the way she goes about playing her music.” 

Post-graduation, Kaye wants to focus on A&R for an artist of her choosing and continue to stay in touch with her musical side. 

“I want to be playing all the cards with one artist,” Kaye said. “I want to be in the studio with them working on music, but I also want to be overseeing their projects. I want to make sure they’re signing with the right people and just kind of overlook everything.” 

The dynamic duo is attempting to get as much accomplished in college due to the lack of job stability in the music industry, Simone said. She and Kaye, who plans to attend graduate school abroad, aim to continue their working relationship after graduating from USC. 

“I think what makes Liza a very great human not only to be in the music industry but also as an individual is her very calm temperament,” Simone said. “When she speaks, her words are justly heard.” 

Kaye has found inspiration through her current mentor Jarjour. Jarjour began his career as a drummer and now works in A&R. 

“Essentially very similar to what I’m doing in the fact that he started from a musical background and has built into this kind of large bigger mogul that’s doing all avenues, not really tying him down to one specific career choice,” Kaye said.

Experimenting and working with music is a form of self-expression for Kaye, she said. 

“It gives such a great ability to be able to communicate raw emotions and to convey a specific feeling without specifically saying that you’re feeling this way,” Kaye said.