Friday, March 19, 2010

Let 'It' Out.

TOM - There's this guy here in New York that sings in the subways. Well, there's a lot of people that sing in the subways of New York, but there's nobody quite like
this guy in my opinion. He's probably one of the best singers I've ever seen in person. I've only seen him sing three times in the past two years or so, the third time being just last week. He has this amazing voice that sounds kind of like a cross between Percy Sledge and Marvin Gaye. He sings all these 60's Motown songs with pure perfection. He sings over karaoke tracks of songs like 'My Girl' which blast from his old, beat up boom box. His voice is so strong you could hear him from the end of the platform, even across the platform, all without a mic. That's how strong his voice is. He sounds so authentic too, a little too authentic actually. It's as if he was signed to Motown back in the day, was just about to make it big like Marvin and Smokey, but he let the booze and possibly drugs get to him first. This guy sings like he's in a studio booth somewhere, never misses a note and never gets drowned out by the subway noise. He sings effortlessly while he counts his money(which he collects alot of) and flirts with all the women. He sits the whole time, making little dance moves with his hands while singing out the side of his mouth. He's
old and missing some teeth.I don't know what his life is like when he's not singing. Maybe he's homeless and spends the nights on the street or sleeps there in the subway. Maybe he's a grandfather and goes home to his wife at the end of the night. I don't know. All I know is when I saw him last Friday on the L platform in Manhattan, he made me really enjoy waiting for the train. I took my headphones off and just stood there, watching and smiling. Unlike most subway
acts, I don't think he's crazy. I also don't think he's looking to get 'discovered'. He doesn't need any validation, he's a pro. It seems to me like he does it because it makes him really happy. I think that's the thing that really impresses me about him, he doesn't try too hard, or at all. 'It's' in him, all he's doing is letting it out.


mike freiheit said...

I still wanna see the comic story of his life, pally.

james flames said...

Very well said, and great illo. I know this guy - the L train platform, yep, seen him, heard him, and yeah it's like "who is he?!"
I miss NY.
And yes, I agree, make a story of his life and do a strip. That would be awesome.

H. Stewart said...

yeah, I know this guy, too. Exploitin' hipsters for dollars, he's smart.

thomas pitilli said...

Thanks guys!
Yeah, he sure got this hipsters dollars!

alex fine illustration said...

I wish we had more guys like him in Baltimore. Around here Dan Deacon gets all the hipster dollars. Great drawing, it's really sets up the scene.