Which of these undiscovered musical acts should be crowned Manhattan’s best?
The Greene Space’s 2014 Battle of the Boroughs kicked off Friday, February 7 with a showcase of the borough’s most exciting hidden musical talents. From hip-hop to chamber pop, world music to psychedelic rock, 12 acts representing the energy of Manhattan’s music scene competed. The audience’s votes are in…and here are the five finalists!
Watch their performances, then vote for your favorite by Sunday, February 16 at 11:59pm ET. The Manhattan winner will be announced Monday, February 17 at 12pm ET and go on to compete against the other borough winners in the Ultimate Battle on June 27.
Video Favorite Award
Your favorite band didn’t make it to the finals? Help them win a produced behind-the-music video of their band. The performance video with the most YouTube views during their borough’s weeklong voting period wins!
Text your vote with the codes below, or use the online form at the bottom of this page.
Preachermann and The Revival
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The 10-member group from Harlem, fronted by Preachermann Ed Holley, took us to church with their infectious blend of gospel, funk and rock. “That right there you can only get in New York; you can only get that from Harlem,” judge Wes Jackson, executive director of the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival, said after their performance.
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Martina Car has been writing music since she was 15, but she never imagined she’d be pursuing it as a career. A year ago, she left behind her graduate studies in biology and a job that had her “performing brain surgeries on ants” to focus on music. The judges praised the Union Square singer-songwriter’s lyrics and piano playing, and the emotion that laced her performance.
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German-born Joe Stone brought a country and blues flavor to the Battle, and opened by dedicating his song to “the guy who tried to hit on my ex-girlfriend.” Judge Lindsey Cook, A&R Executive at RCA Records, lauded the Lower East Side musician’s distinct voice and called his performance “super fun, a great idea for a song.”
Julie Hill and Element Ensemble
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The five-member ensemble led by vocalist Julie Hill calls its music chamber pop — a blend of classical chamber music with a pop/rock sensibility. The group met as students just two years ago at the Manhattan School of Music. Judge Caryn Havlik, producer of WNYC’s New Sounds, said the performance was “truly magical,” calling Hill’s conservatory voice unexpected and the ensemble “a rock band in disguise.”
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The West Village band says their folk/rock/indie sound is influenced by their relationship to their city — a concrete jungle they say inspires their intensity, theatricality and focus. Judge Wes Jackson said it was the members’ personal interplay that stood out. “When the beat drops and the keyboardist is just jumping out of his socks, and the two vocalists are almost…having a conversation,” he said. “That was the extra bit I don’t see very often.”