WELOVENYC: "The Subway Is A Powerful Place"

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  • Favorite song: Native New Yorker- Odyssey
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  • Angry tweet:  «People who don’t understand sidewalk etiquette. Move over»

If you ride the subways of New York, you can see some amazing talent. I mean, some of the worlds best performers in my opinion. You might think they never make it further, but let’s get a closer look at the multi-instrumentalist and comedic personality, Rachelle. Her career and artistry got tuned in through repeatedly performing on the subway from the late 80’s.

«It was a way to connect to the audience with a humorous and seductive approach. Playing on the street and subway gives you a thick skin. Especially back then when the attitude in the city was more rough. People could scream at me that I sucked. I learned how to keep my shit together»

(see the embedded video interview further down)

The Rudeness That Foster Comedy

Apparently, rudeness can be good. At least if you like to learn the hard way. I’ve heard it before, that New Yorkers prefer the honest and no-bullshit attitude. Has it really blurred out a bit? As a NYC newcomer, I find that people here give it to me straight. But I don’t have the 52 years of experience like Rachelle.

«When a lot of art schools opened up in NYC, people came here from California and their attitude is more smiley and positive. Everything became a bit more polite and generic.»

«I still stop and see the magic in NYC. One thing I love about this city is that if you have a thought in your head throughout the day, there will be symbols of what you’ve been thinking or it will manifest.»

«The rude attitude was fun. I miss it sometimes because it was a good laugh. I’ve always loved comedians and I put a lot of comedy into my shows. I like being laughed at. I’m a little quirky. I feel like a comedic personality. I like the idea of that there’s a little bit of unfiltered communication going on»

Anchoring Through Music

The New York Times has called her songs and performances "romantic, rhapsodic, and casually hilarious.» She found her signature from exposure on the streets and subways. Today, she is signed with a German music label, doing solo, duo and group shows in Europe and in NYC, mesmerizing the audience. Refusing to be put in any musical category, the only thing you’ll get from her is «genre fluid».

«I’m always going to be changing. My favorite artists are the one publishing an album and then exploring a whole different side. David Bowie certainly did that. Joni Mitchell also did that. For me that’s a legitimate way of being.»

If she can make the audience feel something, forget about time or cry for whatever reason, then she did something good. If they can get anchored through her performances she did something great.

«There’s restless feelings in this city. I definitely channel that through my performances. Performing in a lot of way is anchoring to me and hopefully to the listeners as well»

The Subway Is A Peacemaker

We’re going underground again. You see, there’s more value to the subway than what the eye can see. Let’s hear it from an expert who’s both performed and been a regular on the trains for years.

«Public transit is one of our cities greatest gifts or opportunities. The subway is a powerful place. We’re all in there meditating because we can’t go anywhere.»

«I think the subway saves our city from becoming dangerous. If you ride the subway, you will always stand 6 inches from somebody you never see in your neighborhood or day to day life. In other cities people are in their cars all the time. There’s a lot more separation and segregation. Riots happening other places, I could not ever imagining the same thing happen here. The subway has a huge unifying power here»

The Crack That Always Let The Light In

Let’s hold her hand a bit longer and leave the underground. Rachelle loves it here and I can’t help but being curious if the city still surprises her.

«There’s restless feelings in this city. I definitely channel that through my performances. Performing in a lot of way is anchoring to me and hopefully to the listeners as well»

«I still stop and see the magic in NYC. One thing I love about this city is that if you have a thought in your head throughout the day, there will be symbols of what you’ve been thinking or it will manifest.»

«There could be a performer singing what I’m thinking. A book someone’s reading. Street art. All these things confirming that I’m not alone having these thoughts. I think that is what makes this city so magical. If you have a shitty day there’s always that one crack open where you can see the light. It’s always there if you want it to. The light is always out there»

Time is running out. It’s been such a pleasure. Presence. Light. Quality talk. Time is crucial in this city, so let’s leave it with a couple of reflections on that before running into the jungle again.

«Time is defined differently here than any other place. Everywhere else I go people ask me why I’m walking so fast. There is a saying about the New York minute because of the fast pace life here. Everything needs to happen instantly and more things happen in a minute here than any other place.»

No wonder people here need anchoring with the New York minute as part of their everyday life. I can’t wait to work on mine and see you perform Rachelle. Thank you for sharing!

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