Happy Thanksgiving! Thankful for Spontaneous Sharing in The Underground.

I am filled with joyful and warm memories from The Underground as we approach Thanksgiving through this wet and snowy day. Without fail, each time I venture out to one of my busking gigs, I meet someone who fills me with inspiration and happiness. Asking them "What Inspires You?" is often on the tail of a spontaneous and inspirational interaction that we have just shared. Such was the case with Rose, a traveler I spotted in LIRR station with a mandolin case. It turned out she was up for a little jam session and broke out her mandolin for me as a crowd formed around us. It's hard to be a part of the spontaneous action and film the action, but no matter the frame, the composition is all there. Check her out below in a playlist of similar moments. I am so very thankful for moments like these and I carry you all in my heart as we remember to be grateful on Thanksgiving. 

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

NYC Subway Girl

Gallery of clips co-edited by Ian James MacRae Jackson 

See more inspirations from my Inspiration Project and Video Gallery.  I have 100's of clips featuring the amazing people I meet.

Cathy Grier aka NYCSubwayGirl sings

The best way to show why I perform in the subway and in public spaces, is to share some of my experiences.

I am usually the one performing and filming so I don't get a chance to show you what I do.  These clips were taken in various locations around NYC above and below in public spaces. With some surprise spontaneous guest performers.

Performing songs Question Of Desire, Dedicate, Cool Trick, Comin' Back To Me, What Fools Do- words and music Cathy Grier Singerfish publishing SESAC with Amazing Grace-traditional, Love Is In Need Of Love Today-Stevie Wonder

A week of NYC life

The past week of subway performances went really well.  I enjoyed a trip out to Staten Island on the ferry to perform in the St. George terminal.  What a life where my commute is actually where I work. The crowds were welcoming and warm.  I also played at Grand Central shuttle stop and had a conversation with a Columbia student who is a journalism major doing her thesis on Subway performers.  It's always interesting to chat about the experience.  There definitely is a curiosity about performing in public spaces and quite a social experiment.  We walked through the station and passed Select Blenz a Doo-Wop group I've known for years, who perform on the subway cars.  We chatted and for the first time we sang spontaneously together.

I also played at the Bowling Green station for the first time and musician Vo Era walked by and jammed for the crowd.  My partner Michele came by and did a clip of us playing. Since it was so close to Zuccotti Park we went above ground and came upon fabulous Eve Ensler in a gathering of people sharing stories of why they were at Occupy Wall Street.  I filmed Melanie Butler a young woman who stopped by to check out the tent and donate supplies.

Saturday we went to the Big Apple Film Festival to watch Give and Take, a documentary about street musicians made by Carl Kriss and Chris Viemiester.  Funny true story is I got stuck  for 40 minutes on a downtown N train on my way.  Never having been stuck on a subway car before, I was happy to be chatting with a group of French people in town to run the NY Marathon. After 35 minutes of my rusty french speaking, I interrupted the passengers to tell them about the runners, and to sing La Vie En Rose.  No sooner had I begun the song, but the car lept into movement. We all applauded and I was happy I actually sang on a subway car for the first time. 

The film Give and Take has a wonderful narrative with a score by Luke Brandfon. Carl and Chris used one musical motif perfectly to bring in each story creating wonderful transitions. Many street performers I know are in the film including Natalia Paruz the Saw Lady.  Her story is remarkable. Having been a dancer, one fateful day she was hit by a taxi ending her career. Her parents in wanting to cheer her up took, her on a trip where she was captivated by a Saw player.  Her new life began. The film also captures other heartfelt stories, Renard Harris a harmonica playing bluesy storyteller waiting to hear if he was accepted into the Music Under NY program, Douglas a homeless man endlessly acquiring on e-bay replacement guitars from the ones he kept "losing." And of course yours truly.  It was fun to not only see me on the big screen, but to hear my song Good Thing over the end credits. check out the trailer and hopefully you'll get a chance to see it one day.

Billy and Nigel jam in SI ferry terminal NYC


Musicians Billy Maluw and Nigel Schat with friend Marvin visiting from Amsterdam, Netherlands, arrived inside the SI ferry terminal with instruments on their shoulders. I asked if they wanted to jam. Of course they said yes. They joined in and we had a great time. They jammed on my songs Jungle and then performed on their own. The crowd loved it, including one very enthusiastic dancer.

What Inspires them? Music performing in New York City

check out their What's Your Inspiration? clip I made


Pure Joy=Why I perform in public spaces?

A day at St. George ferry terminal filmed by Nana

"What Inspires me is coming and performing to people like you, because I find that performing in public spaces is one of the most liberating experiences of performance.  Talk to any subway perfomer and they'll probably tell you the same thing, how wonderful it is to do what we do- we love it!" NYC Subway Girl

Through My Eyes words/music C. Grier Singerfish Publishing SESAC