Today was the first day of my journey playing all 29 Manhattan locations for “Play Me I’m Yours” and to say that it was a rewarding and touching experience is an incredible understatement!
My day began at 9am in Times Square on 42nd Street for the piano unlocking ceremony! I arrived to find the piano surrounded by press, staff for Sing for Hope, the artist Luke Jerram who thought up “Play Me I’m Yours,” and a few kids singing a Broadway show tune! It was a beautiful sight to see this multi-colored group of people circling this multi-colored upright piano in the middle of Times Square. I was lucky enough to be asked to play after the artist spoke and performed my song “When It Rains” and “Joey’s Song.” But the most beautiful sight of all was watching New Yorkers walk down the street in typical hurried fashion, and then suddenly stop, take out their headphones and listen for a moment. So often we get so caught up in our own world, our blackberrys and our ipods, that we forget to open our eyes and our ears and take notice of all of the special and unique moments happening around us! What a special gift we have been given by Sing for Hope and Luke Jerram to have something on our streets that, even if only for the next 10 days, pulls us out of isolated world and draws us to something bigger!
The second stop of the day was in Columbus Circle at the entrance of Central Park. I played a few songs and was interviewed by a few news networks here as well. Halfway through Tearing Me Down a HUGE circus-like band began playing nearby, and yet people continued paying attention and simply moved closer to listen. I had to laugh at the crazy juxtaposition of music, but also thought “this is what NYC is all about!” We are a melting pot of people, of music, of noise! New Yorkers don’t hold back and have learned to tune in and focus intently on what we want to hear, or to see, or to strive for! We have to! Because we are always competing with something louder or someone more talented or someone with just a little bit more experience. But that is what also makes New York City the most interesting city in the world. You have to buckle down if you want to make a dent in a city of millions of people with big voices and even bigger dreams! All of this insight and inspiration from one little piano, in one little park, in one little city in this great big world! If Luke Jerram were here right now I would give him one big high five!
My third show of the day was near the New York Public Library and my sister, her roommate, and one of my best friends showed up to cheer me on…which I am incredibly grateful for! But the coolest experience of the day happened at the fourth piano I played in Greely Square. I sat down and performed two of my songs, “Loving You” and “Tearing Me Down.” After playing, a man nearby commented on how much he loved my songs and asked if I knew the song “In the Arms of the Angel” by Sarah McLaughlin. I said that I “kind of” knew the song..but didn’t know the chords to play it on the piano. So he sat down and played and harmonized with me as I sang. In the middle of Manhattan, a city known for people that keep to themselves and wear a hard armored exterior, here were two individuals, one black, one white, and the two nearly 15 years apart in age, singing together in perfect harmony….spontaneously uniting to share in a common passion! They say that music unites, but it has never been so apparent as it was today!
Tomorrow, Tuesday June 22nd at 7:00pm I will be in Harlem Art Park to play and to listen! Check out some footage on facebook and youtube!
And see me interviewed by skynews and playing in Columbus Circle here: