research and writing

Freedom Girls: Voicing Femininity in 1960s British Pop

Available now from Oxford University Press, Freedom Girls is about girl singers in England in the mid-1960s.  I explore how performers like Dusty Springfield, Cilla Black, Lulu, Sandie Shaw, Marianne Faithfull, Millie Small, P.P. Arnold and others used their singing voices to respond to and create new ideas about what it meant to be a young woman during the so-called “Swinging Sixties.” This project is based on deep dives into the archival record: I draw on teen magazines, the music press, oral histories, records and scripts from TV and radio, television footage, sound recordings, and more to reconstruct how the sounds of young women’s voices inspired new possibilities–and new anxieties–during a time of social change.

Learn more about the book!

Selected Music Writing

“What’s a Girl Gotta Do to Get into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?” The Avid Listener. 23 May 2016.

“Pop Divas Turn an ‘Old’ Sound into Power and Authority,” Hippo Reads, 2015

“Fighting On and Singing Along with Prince’s ‘Baltimore,’” Hippo Reads, 2015

Rocking the Library in LA,” Hippo Reads, 2015

Sex, Theft, and Freedom: Top Summer Music Reads,” Hippo Reads, 2015

Rebel Girl: Lesley Gore’s Voice,” Oxford University Press blog, February 28 2015

“Dead Boyfriends, Rebel Girls, and the 1960s Splatter Platter,” The Toast, September 30 2014.

Selected Academic Publications

Can I Get a Witness: Musicians Performing Politics in the U.S. Congress,” with Darin DeWitt and Matthew Atkinson. Ethnomusicology Review 21, no. 1 (2017).

“Vocal Authorship: Marianne Faithfull and ‘Sister Morphine,’” in The Singer-Songwriter Handbook, eds. Katherine Williams and Justin Williams. Bloomsbury Academic, 2017.

“Lab Meeting: Four Interviews with Scientists on Science Out of Feminism,” with Rachel C. Lee. Catalyst 3, no. 1 (2017).

“Millie Small, the Lollipop Girl: Voice, Migration, and the Reception of ‘My Boy Lollipop,’” Journal of Popular Music Studies

“Ability, Authority, and the Aging Ingenue’s Voice,” in Voicing Girlhood in Popular Music, eds. Jacqueline Warwick and Alison Adrian. Routledge, 2016.

The Biggest Feminist in the World: On Miley Cyrus, feminism, and intersectionality,” American Music Review Vol. 43, No. 2 (Spring 2014): 1-5.

“Starstruck:  On Gaga, Voice, and Disability,” in Lady Gaga and Popular Music: Performing Gender, Fashion, and Culture, eds. Martin Iddon and Melanie Marshall. Routledge, 2014.

“Brill Building, The,” “Avalon, Frankie,”  “Funicello, Annette,” “Gore, Lesley,” “Greenwich, Ellie,”  “Teen Idols.”  Encyclopaedia entries.  The Grove Dictionary of American Music, 2nd Edition.  Oxford University Press, 2013. [Available through; subscription required]

Editorial work

As the Program and Research Developer at the UCLA Center for the Study of Women, I edited and curated our research blogs, and oversaw publication projects such as Policy Briefs, outreach materials, journal articles, etc.

I served as Editor-in-Chief of Echo: A music-centered journal from 2011-2013. In addition to overseeing the day-to-day operations of the journal, I also oversaw a major redesign of the journal’s website, and organized three annual conferences that brought together scholars, artists, musicians, and the community.

In 2010, I co-edited a special “Writing About Music” edition of the UCLA Center for the Study of Women’s newsletter with Jill Rogers and Nina Eidsheim. Available here.

Archival and curatorial work

As a Fellow at the UCLA Library’s Center for Primary Research and Training; and later, as an archival assistant in UCLA Performing Arts Special Collections, I processed and wrote finding aids for collections of historical material from the music and entertainment industries. I wrote or contributed to the finding aids and research guides to the papers of Jimmy Durante, Diahann Carroll, screenwriter Gwen Bagni-Dubov, and television critic Terrence O’Flaherty, in addition to other collections of historical material from film and television.

In Winter 2013, I collaborated with UCLA Performing Arts Special Collections archivist Julie Graham and the UCLA College Library to mount “Selling Tinseltown: Art and Design from the Hollywood Promotional Machine,” a public exhibit of motion picture and television advertising items from the 1910s to the 1990s.

Contributor – Blogging.LA

From 2009 to 2011, I was a contributing writer at Blogging.LA (previously known as LA.Metblogs), a group blog about culture, life, and goings-on in Los Angeles. I wrote about music, art, and culture; about my life in the city; and about LA history. Along with my fellow bloggers, I planned and hosted the first-ever Donut Summit in 2010, and a sequel in 2011. This hugely successful event was our attempt to bring people together to find the greatest donut in Los Angeles, and was covered by several local media outlets, including the LA Times, who quoted my donut-themed William Blake parody in their article. I now lay claim to the dubious honor of being a published donut poet.

I wrote many, many posts for Blogging.LA over the years; selected (non-donut-related) highlights are below.

Long-lost LA Restaurants from the 1940s and 1950s, July 2011
Menu Mining: Drunken Shrimp at the Gumbo Pot, October 2010
LA’s Greatest Landmarks: The Capitol Records Building, August 2010
LA’s Greatest Landmarks: Randy’s Donuts, August 2010
LA Plays Itself in the Movies: It’s a Bikini World, April 2010
LA Plays Itself in the Movies: Mildred Pierce, April, 2010
LA Plays Itself in the Movies: Riot on the Sunset Strip, April 2010
Sea Monsters in San Gabriel, March 2010
Bye Bye Goody’s, February 2010
Contemplating the Spudnut, January 2010