NYC is a World Music Stage

I met Moroccan musician Hassan Ben Jaafer while I was performing in Union Square, he walked by and instantly took out his Krarbes (metal castanets) and began to play along. He then showed me the bass he made. Unfortunately the sound wasn't loud enough to share with you here.  I posted an excerpt of his band Innove Gnawa when I came upon him later that week busking in 34th ST. station.

Keep You Out words and music Cathy Grier

co-edited by Ian James MacRae Jackson


Nathan Madden inspiration

I met dancer Danny Madden (currently in Chicago on Broadway) as he walked through Union Square and stopped to listen.  We chatted and so I got a chance to ask my favorite question.

What inspires Nathan? "Relationships between people, and our ability to really engage in them or not, so when you see people really engaging and expressing themselves I think that's art and that's inspiration."   

What's Your Inspiration?


I met Tony at Union Square he filmed me for his website I love that he is so inspired by subway musicians and helping others get a chance to hear us. Thanks Tony

What inspires Tony? "Success, the good in people." He was hit hard by super storm Sandy and experienced the goodness of the people who helped him out. he wants to give back, pay it forward.

What's your inspiration?

here's the clip Tony made of my song  Comin' Back To Me

Harper + Carter inspired

I met Carter at 54 Below when we both performed as part of Susie Mosher's Backstage show.  I invited Carter to come and jam with me at my subway gig and she showed up with her friend Harper. It was fun sharing what it's like to perform in a very busy station. 

What inspires Carter? "People, no matter where they come from, they're beautiful." and Harper? "women, nature, paintings, cinema."

here's a full version clip of

Carter's song St. Peter's song 

What's your inspiration?

Courtney Bassett inspired subway jam

While playing in Union Square I met Courtney who stopped to listen.  What inspires Courtney?  "People, nature, strong women."  Ely from Israel was also listening and joined in. He took the camera to film us singing Imagine.  Ely wasn't sure what Inspiration meant. I pointed to his heart and said "what's in here."  His response?  "Peace, love and music." This is a wonderful example of the people I meet who by chance slow down and listen or just join in. 

What's your inspiration?

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Ikeem PoetrynMotionNYC re-inspired

I first met Ikeem of PoetrynMotionNYC, with his dancing buddy Shawn in Union Square on their way to their own busking gig.  2 months later our paths crossed again and he shared how he was inspired by my What's Your Inspiration?" project.  I asked him how so and his reply "makes me wanna do what I'm doing differently than just dancing, just makes me think more, think bigger"

You can see Ikeem and Shawn's original What's Your Inspiration? clip as part of a post Hurricane Sandy blog with inspiration clips of other people I met in Union Square on the same inspirational day.

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I Love NY, Inspired post Sandy

As Hurricane Sandy was barreling towards the NYC region. last Thursday I was performing in Grand Central Shuttle and Friday at Union Square in relative bliss unaware of the pending devastation. Those days couldn't have been more inspiring. In Union Square, it was an unusually full day of many people stopping to chat. I was interviewed by a film crew who found me for their webseries "Back of The Busk" we had a fun time.

Since we're all hurting from the devastating storm, I hope these Inspirations make you smile. We are resilient, we are strong and no matter what we are inspired.

Mithun Bhat inspiration Back of The Busk producer

Nick Capezzera Inspired Back Of The Busk cameraman and editor

Michael Inspiration Back of The Busk producer

Hardy Inspiration Back Of The Busk interviewer

Delpin Tardio Inspired Union Square Music Under New York guitarist

Ikeem + Shawn Unique Force dancers (now PoetrynMotionNYC)

Candy The Clown NYC

Joe from Brooklyn

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What Inspires Richard Allen?

I met Richard Allen at Union Square to talk about his wedding plans where I'll be singing and performing. Salieu Suso was set up to perform and we had an amazing day jamming together.
What Inspires Richard? Poetry, film, music and Isabelle of course!

what's your inspiration?


What Inspires Terry Halsey?

Terry filmed my songs Jungle and Comin' Back To Me while I was at Union SQ. We chatted about what he calls "Authentic Human Gesture," very compelling. "We're always unaware of how we might be impacting other people." His inspiration and a great NYC tip: "Tutuma Social Club" 56th St @ Lexington Ave where the afro-jazz Peruvian music is '"r-r-rockin."

Here's his clip of my song Jungle: