Battle of the Boroughs 2014: The Ultimate Battle

WNYC & The Greene Space’s Battle of the Boroughs has come to be one of my favorite events to attend. A blend of great original music and borough pride, it’s a show you’ve got to see. The Ultimate Battle is best of all because of the prizes at stake and the healthy competitive air to see which borough is voted the best. Sadly, Manhattan won again this year, but I am happy to report that all of the musicians that performed were all worthy of winning the ultimate battle.

As mentioned in my post on the Bronx battle , Royal Khaoz, an AMAZING reggae fusion band represented the Bronx with a suave and energetic performance. They perform in various locations throughout the city and trust me when I tell you it’s well worth it to travel downtown to see them.

5J Barrow represented Manhattan and had such strong chemistry between its band members. You could tell they were genuinely having fun and could communicate just by looking at each other. Their performance was high energy and a great way to start the show off.

From Staten Island, Leila Hegazy gave us a soulful performance as she masterfully tapped away at the keys of the piano. She also happens to be a close friend of one of my coworkers, so that was cool, too.

Out of Queens came Annika, a talented singer-songwriter who just finished up her junior year of high school. She made me regret the many (MANY) hours I spent sleeping when I was that age.

From Brooklyn, came the funky Hey Lady. Another high energy group with great chemistry, Hey Lady’s music had audience members swaying in their seats and clapping their hands.

Check out the slideshow below for photos of the performers.


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Bronx Battle of the Boroughs 2014

So I know this post is WAY overdue, but it’s because I moved! Of course, I’m still in the Bronx, but I’ll be sure to give more info in a later post.  Now, onto the good stuff.

Two weeks ago some of the Bronx’s most talented musicians graced the stage of The Greene Space to compete for the winning title to go against the top musician from each borough in the Ultimate Battle in June. This year’s contestants were:  August Hill,Flowfreequan ,Park After Dark,Nando Griffiths and Pure Fyah ,Stef Lebaux ,Bob Gaulke ,Angels in the Chamber ,Tatiana Scott ,Royal Khaoz ,Bryan Durieux Project , and Yurby.

If you read last year’s post, you’ll remember that Flowfreequan and Yurby both competed in last year’s battle.  I think they came back even better this year. And of course, if you missed last month’s Spotlight on Stef Lebaux, you can catch it here. You can watch videos of the show by visiting the Green Space’s website.

A clear fan favorite was Royal Khaoz ( as evidenced, of course by the fact that they won the most votes and will be representing the Bronx in June). As someone who doesn’t really listen to much reggae at all, I was definitely impressed by their charisma, ability to involve the crowd, and of course, their catchy music. I was singing their song way after the show was finished.

Another band that stood out to me was the Bryan Durieux Project. Their song “The Disappearing Act” was soulful and the kind of song that makes you unconsciously sway along. They had a likability factor that the judges picked up on as well.

I could go on and on about every musician, but we’d be here forever! Check out the photos of the show below:

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Fifth Annual Battle of the Boroughs Line Up!

It’s that time of year again- time for The Greene Space at WNYC and WQXR’s Battle of the Boroughs. I had such a great time last year (you can read about my experiences here and here) and I know you will, too! The Manhattan battle was last week, but you can catch videos of the performances online. Make sure you buy your tickets early because they sell out FAST!

Below, find the line-up and information about the contest:

The Greene Space at WNYC and WQXR Announces the Fifth Annual



Top Prize in Annual City-Wide Competition to Discover NYC’s Best Emerging Musical Talent Includes Guest Artist Appearance at Amateur Night at The Apollo

Series Kicks Off with the MANHATTAN BATTLE

on Friday, February 7 at 7pm


This year’s contestants drew from over 400 submissions that yielded a broad range of top performers from Staten Island, Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx and Manhattan. From Arabian-influenced metal and gypsy/cabaret to rock-reggae and an all-woman drum circle, the 60 musical acts that have been chosen as finalists span all genres and capture the energy of New York City’s music scene. These musicians represent their boroughs, their neighborhoods, and the distinctive cultures that make New York City what it is.


Beginning with the Manhattan Battle on Friday, February 7, followed by other borough-specific battles throughout the spring, these musicians will compete in Borough Battles at The Greene Space, WNYC and WQXR’s intimate and acoustically-superior street-level performance venue. The borough winners will go on to the final showdown, The Ultimate Battle, on Friday, June 27. The winners will be selected through votes from both the live studio audience and the online audience watching via live webcast. Voting will be available online at and via mobile phone by texting vote codes to 69866. Every Battle will be emceed by award-winning WQXR hostTERRANCE MCKNIGHT.


“It’s exciting that after five years, The Greene Space’s “Battle of the Boroughs” continues to attract such a high caliber of artists,” said McKnight. “In no other city is there such a high volume and range of undiscovered talent making great music in bars and basements, on the streets and in small clubs. Public radio has always been an avenue to finding new music. The Greene Space is thrilled to open its doors and showcase the best of the best live – in the space and online – giving these hardworking musicians a broader audience than they’ve often ever known.” 


This year, insightful commentary will be provided by musicians, singers, industry executives, and WNYC and WQXR staffers, including:


  • Helga Davis, Q2 Music contributing host, singer and featured performer in Philip Glass’ “Einstein on the Beach”
  • Alicia Olatuja, Soloist with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir since 2007, and has performed often with artists such as Christian McBride, Chaka Khan and Bebe Winans.
  • Nick Sansano, Producer who has worked with Public Enemy, Ice Cube, and more
  • Bob Power, Producer who has worked with Erykah Badu, India.Arie, Miles Davis, and more
  • Tamar-Kali, Hardcore-Soul Queen
  • Eren Cannata, Producer, Singer/Songwriter
  • LaRonda Davis, President of The Black Rock Coalition
  • Lindsay Cook, A&R Executive at RCA Records


The last act standing at the final battle will win an exclusive concert at The Greene Space with live video webcast, a four-hour professional, multi-track recording session, a gift certificate to Tekserve for $2,500, a professional photo shoot, a produced music video and a guest artist appearance at Amateur Night at The Apollo.


Audiences can support their borough and hear an eclectic mix of innovative talent from all across NYC during the following Battles in The Greene Space:


Friday, February 7:  MANHATTAN

Joe Stone—Country/Blues

Matt Panayides Group—Jazz

Preachermann and The Revival—Atomic Soul


Léla Sophia—Indie /Pop

Visions—World Music

TriBeCaStan—World Music/Jazz/Americana

5j Barrow – Folk/Indie Rock

Sun Looks Down—Dream-Pop and Psychedelic Indie Rock

Julie Hill and Element Ensemble – Chamber Pop

Jeremiah Birnbaum—Rock



Friday, March 7: QUEENS

Tati Ana–Electronic Rock



Born of Scars—Hard Rock

Nick Moran—Funky Blues

85thHip Hop

Tarantinos NYC—Spanish

Jeneen Terrana—Folk Rock

Jim Wilson’s Ticket—Rock

Hypocrite and Slanderer—Rock

Jessica Rowboat—Singer/songwriter

Chris Shamkin—Singer/songwriter 


Friday, April 4: THE BRONX

August Hill—Hip Hop

Flowfreequan—Hip Hop

Park After Dark—Rock

Nando Griffiths and Pure Fyah—Reggae


Stef Lebaux—Electronic/Trip hop

Bob Gaulke—Pop

Gary Novikoff & Angels in the ChamberFolk Pop


Royal Khaoz—Reggae/Rock

The Brian Durieux Project—R&B/Soul

Yurby– Alternative folk Rock/blues


Friday, May 2:   STATEN ISLAND

Tom Cintula & The Buffalo 24—Acoustic Pop/Rock

Leila Hegazy—Singer/songwriter 

Aerial Marie—Alternative Pop-Rock

Mike Fuego—Hip Hop

Giga Herbs–Mystical-Mythical-Indie-Space-Rock


Canvas Radio—Acoustic Folk Rock

Sara J—Pop/Folk


Frank Schiazza—Soul Pop

Rising Sun All Stars—Soul/Hip Hop


Friday, June 6:   BROOKLYN

The Debutante Hour—New Soul/Pop

Michelle Amador—Americana



Orphan Jane—Gypsy/Cabaret

The Hue-man Ethnic Movement—Hip Hop

Dear Comrade—Indie Rock

Batala NYC—Drum Circle

Pontus—Progressive Rock

Flying Home—Swing

Roberto De Parana—Bossa Nova

The Harmonica Lewinskies*–Blues Rock/Funk/Dad Rock



Friday, June 27:     THE ULTIMATE BATTLE

Winners from Each Borough Compete for the Grand Prize




Where: The Greene Space at WNYC and WQXR

44 Charlton Street (at Varick Street)

New York, NY 10014

Tickets:         Tickets for all events are on sale now at

One Borough: $15 ticket; $30 ticket includes open wine and beer bar.


All Borough Badges$125 for VIP admission to all six battles with open bar.


Official Website:



New York Public Radio is New York’s premier public radio franchise, comprising WNYCWQXRThe Jerome L. Greene Performance Space, and New Jersey Public Radio, as well as, and As America’s most listened-to AM/FM news and talk public radio stations, reaching 1.1 million listeners every week, WNYC extends New York City’s cultural riches to the entire country on-air and online, and presents the best national offerings from networks National Public Radio, Public Radio International, American Public Media, and the British Broadcasting Company. WQXR is New York City’s sole 24-hour classical music station, presenting new and landmark classical recordings as well as live concerts from the Metropolitan Opera, the New York Philharmonic, among other New York City venues, immersing listeners in the city’s rich musical life. In addition to its audio content, WNYC and WQXR produce content for live, radio and web audiences from The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space, the station’s street-level multipurpose, multiplatform broadcast studio and performance space. New Jersey Public Radio extends WNYC reach and service more deeply into New Jersey. For more information about New York Public Radio, visit


Battle of the Boroughs: Bronx Edition

Last night, WNYC and WQXR sponsored the fourth annual Battle of the Boroughs competition at The Greene Space. To sum it up, Battle of the Boroughs gathers the best of the best from each borough and audience members (and the public) get to vote for who they’d like to represent their borough at the Ultimate Battle in June.

The musicians representing the Bronx were: Blue Meadow, Corky Has a Band, I am B 13, Yurby, Al-Lisha Burns, Bill Santen, Flow Freequan, Captains of Industry, Tee Dot Ohh and Liya Marie, Emily Angell, marie-claire, and Tyrone-Birkett/Emancipation.

The event was hosted by Terrance McKnight and the night’s commentators were

Though I’d love to give you a full review on each and every act (they were all really great. I’m excited to find out the finalists on Monday!), I don’t think you’re in the mood to read some long tome on the internet. Below are the groups that stood out to me the most:

Blue Meadow



Blue Meadow was  the first group to perform. They began slowly coming to life as each member began to play his instrument. By coming to life, I mean that they were literally slumped over before and sprang up when one of their band members gestured to them. One of the coolest things I noticed about the band is that all of the members sing. The drummer was actually the first person to begin singing, so that was pretty awesome. They have a smooth, rhythmic rock thing going out, kind of like Maroon 5, but with a little more soulfulness. I could definitely see me buying their music.

Corky Has a Band


While live tweeting the battle, I said, “Corky Has a Band Just Did Unimaginable Things to a Piano Just Now” and I was not lying. Described as hyper-vaudevillian, their music is as surprising as it is carefully orchestrated. The duo incorporates the entire instrument into their performance in a purposeful discordant harmony.  And there was a kazoo.  Who can play a kazoo and make it work in 2013? Probably only Sergeant Whiskers and Professor Tickles.

I am B 13


He had me when he said, ” This is dedicated to the rappers who rapped about nonsense.” YES.  Commentator Helga Davis (love her)  said it perfectly after I am B 13’s performance when she said, “I can tell you read.” Educated rap is a beautiful thing. It’s so refreshing to hear multisyllabic words in a rap song. He said ‘pantomime,’ you guys. Plus, there’s just something really endearing about a rapper with braces who says lines like, ” If you got a problem with me, go to a mathematician.”

Captains of Industry 


Captains of Industry utilized a recording someone had made on a seemingly ordinary day in Germany. or Austria. The base of their completely improvised performance was a soundtrack of cars honking, dogs barking, and people walking. The drummer used some sort of plastic tubes instead of drum sticks, which was very cool because you could hear the sound echoing through them. It kind of reminded me of Australian dj group, The Avalanches.

Check out some photos of the other musicians:

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