Gov. Kathy Hochul and MTA announce winner of first-ever Riders' Choice Award

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Thursday, July 27, 2023
All-female brass band wins Riders' Choice Award honor
New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced Brass Queens as the winner of the first-ever MTA Music Under New York Riders' Choice Award.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- New Yorkers who take the subway knows that live music and the New York City subway system go hand in hand.

It's one of the many pairings that make New York, well, New York.

In celebrating the countless musical talents underground, the city announced the launch of its first-ever "Riders' Choice Award," a contest featuring artists through MTA's Music Under New York program, which has allowed local musicians to perform for commuters on train platforms dating back to 1985.

Sponsored by the "We NYC" campaign, the award competition launched last month with more than 40 performers auditioning at Grand Central Madison.

That pool was then sized down to three Riders' Choice finalists before a winner was declared on Thursday.

Picking up the top prize was Brass Queens, an all-female brass band that blends funk, soul, and hip-hop that calls on New Orleans second-line tradition.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul and the MTA made the announcement in Times Square.

"This competition celebrates subways and music - two integral parts of the fabric of New York," Gov. Hochul said. "Brass Queens exemplifies what it means to be a New Yorker and I am excited to watch them impress commuters and tourists alike throughout the subway system with their incredible sound."

After a week of public voting, Brass Queens took home the grand prize with 55.7% of more than 55,000 votes.

As recipients of the Riders' Choice Award, they will now get a recording studio session from Atlantic Records.

The Riders' Choice Award is the latest project developed and facilitated by WENYC, a new campaign funded by the members of the Partnership for New York City to inspire and encourage New Yorkers to show their love for their city through civic action and community engagement.

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