Surrounded By Music In New York City

I recently took a week-long trip to NYC with my family. New York is an incredible city with extraordinary people, performers, shows and buildings. While I was there, I wanted to check out any music-related NYC landmarks and experiences that I’m always hearing about. Here’s some of the things I was up to!

              Tori Kelly Popup Concert

imageI woke up one sunny, Monday morning in NYC and began scrolling through my Instagram feed. I stopped scrolling when I saw that Tori Kelly had been on Good Morning America just a few hours before. I freaked! I figured she was hanging out in NYC somewhere, so I went through her Twitter page and tried to figure out where she might be. After a while, I found out she was planning to do a popup concert in Union Square for dedicated fans that went through a scavenger hunt to find her.

Around 5 pm that day, I was standing less then 3 feet away from Tori, watching her belt out the lyrics to her latest hit “Nobody Love,” and a few others. Although it was super hot outside, it was so worth it to see Tori again!

  Hard Rock Cafe

While my family and I were exploring Times Square, we made a stop at the legendary NYC Hard Rock Cafe. The place was decked out in all types of guitars, autographs, and outfits worn by famous artists on stage, such as Hailey Williams from Paramore. I was in a music lover’s dream. I picked up one of their classic T-shirts during my visit, and it’s pretty cool to wear it & say I’ve finally been to a Hard Rock Cafe! (Below is a picture of me wearing my shirt to work.)

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 Strawberry Fields (John Lennon Memorial)

imageOn the edge of Central Park is a small, quiet area designed to be a memorial for the legendary John Lennon. The spot is directly across from the Dakota Apartments, where Lennon was shot in 1980. It’s surrounded by a green, plant/hill area called Strawberry Fields, named after The Beatles’ iconic song “Strawberry Fields Forever.” In the middle of the path to Strawberry Fields is a mosaic (that is supposed to represent a teardrop) with the word “Imagine” placed in the middle, which is the title of John Lennon’s most famous song.

The spot was beautiful, with so many people stopping to admire the design which was covered in flowers. Nearby, a busker softly serenaded the crowd with songs by The Beatles, including one of my favorites: “Let It Be,” which I caught a small clip of. It was so moving to experience this amazing tribute to John Lennon in person.

 NYC buskers & street performers

All over NYC are buskers, street performers and young artists who are making a living by  serenading crowds rushing by in subway stations & on NYC streets. I loved it, because pretty much everywhere I visited in New York I was surrounded by music. One of my favorite moments was seeing a man in Central Park who was playing the saxophone. I played the saxophone for about four years, so I always love watching others play.

imageAnother one of my favorite moments was walking through Washington Square Park during the evening. It was so alive! Under the Washington Square Arch, people were taking turns belting out their favorite tunes, dancing and laughing the night away. It was so cool to see a group of complete strangers connect over music in that way. If you’re an August Rush fan, you’ll instantly recognize this spot from the movie.

imageIn the middle of Central Park under a beautiful bridge, a singing group called Infinity’s Song filled the air with their incredible voices. People stopped immediately as the passed, drawn to the sound of their harmonies. The group switched off singing solos, then all together as their voices reverberated off the walls of the bridge, creating amazing acoustics. Check out my video of them below. (Fun fact: the day after I took this video, Tori Kelly found them in Central Park, too. She was intrigued by their voices, and ended up asking them to join her onstage the next night at her sold-out show at the Best Buy Theater in NYC. Incredible.)

                                      Bleecker Street Records

image11713198_871068056299071_1481854557_oEven while rushing around crazy-busy NYC, I still found time to stop and do one of my favorite things: browse through records & CDs at a record shop. I stopped in  the famous Bleecker Street Records, which is located in the heart of NY in Greenwhich Village. I bought some cool stickers (The Who & R.E.M) for my laptop while I was there, and got lost in the store for a bit. Downstairs, I met a friendly (and fuzzy) record store employee who liked being pet. (See left!)

Bleecker Street Records was pretty cool, but it’s nothing compared to the amazing record store I work in, Music Millennium.

imageBroadway Musical

On my last night in NYC, I went to a Broadway musical at the Stephen Sondheim Theater with my mom! We saw “Beautiful,” which is a musical about singer Carol King’s life and music. It was absolutely amazing! The sets and costumes were incredible, the transitions were flawless, and the actors had beautiful voices. Carol King’s songs were weaved into the story of her life, which was so fun to watch and listen to. I would definitely recommend getting tickets to see this show if you are planning to take a trip to NYC anytime soon!

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CONCERTS: Tori Kelly

imageTori Kelly

Last week, my friend Annie & I finally got to see one of our favorite artists live on her #WhereIBelongTour: Tori Kelly! Tori started out on YouTube, and after being eliminated from American Idol, she began working on her own music when her YouTube career took off. She has an incredible voice that seems to have no limits–she can cover every song flawlessly, always adding her own sense of flair to the piece. She is able to sing extremely high notes, and she reminds me a bit of artists like Ariana Grande & Mariah Carey. I’ve been a fan of Tori for about two years, and she’s recently been making music with a few of my other favorite artists, including Ed Sheeran!

Tori’s opener was Us The Duo, an extremely cute, singing couple. Us The Duo got started on Vine, similar to Tori’s career on YouTube. They went viral and eventually gained a loyal fan base of over 4 million people. Now they’re touring all over the world. I absolutely loved their set. They sang a cover or two, and performed a ton of songs from their chart-topping album No Matter Where You Are. Their chemistry on stage was so genuine. They sang into each others’ eyes, and kept sneaking looks at each other as they took turns with their parts. ADORABLE.

us the duoPhoto via

When Tori finally came on, the crowd went wild. She had been teasing us for hours on Snapchat and Twitter, tweeting out things like this:

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Tori debuted songs off her upcoming album, Unbreakable Smile, which really got me hyped for it’s release on June 23rd. Additionally, she belted out a few throwback songs that everyone knew the words to, like her most popular single, “Dear No One.”
My other favorite song that she performed was “Confetti.”

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She had an insane amount of energy on stage. She got the crowd involved and excited during her loud, fast-paced songs, (like her most recent single “Aint’ Nobody Love“) and when she sang her heartfelt, personal songs the audience quieted and it seemed as if she was singing to each one of us individually.

CGoICFVVAAAItwQIf you get a chance to see Tori live, I’d highly recommend it! She aslo loves meeting people, and often has fun meet and greets set up before her shows. I didn’t get to meet her, but I heard about the experience. On this tour, Tori ran a contest for fans to hang out with her before the show & drink tea. She posts a Snap of #teawithtori after each city she visits! (Tori’s SnapChat: KoriTelly)

If you are trying to meet Tori but don’t want to pay, get in line pretty early when going to one of her shows. Rumor has it that she says a quick hello to super dedicated fans waiting outside!

                     Find Tori:

YouTube

Twitter

Instagram

Website