Kali Uchis to be honored at USC Thornton's 2024 Commencement

On Friday, May 10th, USC will celebrate its 141st Commencement. At its satellite Commencement ceremony that day, the USC Thornton School of Music will honor Kali Uchis. The Grammy, Billboard and American Music Award winning singer-songwriter will receive the Outstanding Artistic Achievement award. 

Colombian-American superstar Kali Uchis first rose to prominence with her debut studio album, Isolation, which received widespread acclaim and peaked at number 34 on the Billboard 200. Her second studio album and first Spanish-language project, Sin Miedo (del Amor y Otros Demonios) went double platinum, as verified by the Recording Industry Association of America, and features the double platinum global smash hit “telepatía.” Her third album, Red Moon in Venus, peaked at number four on the Billboard 200, while her fourth album and second Spanish-language project, Orquídeas, peaked at number two earlier this year, marking her highest chart position to date.

Uchis was featured on Kaytranada's single “10%,” which won the 2019 Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording. Her other accolades include an American Music Award, two Billboard Music Awards, Premios Juventud and Premios Nuestra Tierra awards, a Latin Grammy Award nomination and more.

In addition to honoring Uchis, USC Thornton will also honor alum Michael Abels (’84), a Pulitzer-Prize winning composer best known for his genre-defying scores for the Jordan Peele films Get Out, Us and Nope. Abels will receive the Outstanding Alumni award.

“USC Thornton is pleased to honor two exceptional and versatile musical artists who are doing groundbreaking work,” said USC Thornton Dean Jason King. “Kali Uchis has been charting new territory with award-winning musical projects in Spanish and English while collaborating with a host of exciting young artists. She’s achieved critical and commercial success on her own terms, and her story of crossing cultural and stylistic borders is incredibly inspiring. Michael Abels has been winning critical acclaim for film scores, concert work and opera, and has been at the forefront of promoting the work of composers of color. Both speakers are, in their own ways, models of creative achievement for Thornton students, and I look forward to hearing their remarks at Commencement.”

USC’s 141st University-wide Commencement Ceremony will be held at 8:30 a.m. in Alumni Park on Friday, May 10th. USC Thornton’s satellite ceremony will immediately follow, beginning at 11:00 a.m. on Pardee Way.

Press photo, credit: Amaury Nessaibia