Rachel Avery

Department: 
Music Research
Area(s): 
Music History/Musicology
Group: 
Doctoral Student
Current research: 

My dissertation engages with singer-songwriter Laura Nyro, considering her interaction with the music industry and analysing her oeuvre through the perspectives of genre and queer aesthetics. I illustrate the exceptional nature of Nyro's engagement with the industry, as she wielded unprecedented artistic control and did not conform to the roles then standard for women. Since Nyro's music confounds simple generic categorisation, I consider the contexts and meanings attached to the genres that inform her sound, as well as generic cues in marketing materials for her albums. Finally, I draw upon queer theory to argue that the qualities of her music that may otherwise be dismissed as bizarre are meaningful expressions of fluidity and eccentricity, reflecting a queer aesthetic. In these three domains, I argue that her distinct artistic persona is shaped by the very features that effected her outsider status. 

Program: 

Ph.D. Musicology

Graduate supervision: 

Supervisor: Lloyd Whitesell