Humans of NYCFC: Alice Tan Ridley

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Alice Tan Ridley has been performing in the subways of New York City for more than 30 years. Stopping commuters in their tracks for decades with her brand of life-affirming soul singing is part of the fabric of the city for thousands of workers every single day.

The mother of Precious star Gabourey Sidibe and an America’s Got Talent semifinalist, Ridley will be performing the national anthem on Family Day before NYCFC’s showdown with Atlanta United on May 7.

This is her story…

Humans of NYCFC: Alice Tan Ridley -

I’ve been singing in the Subways for more than 30 years, since before my kids were born and my favorite thing about performing is seeing the smiles on people’s faces. They’re rushing to make their next connection – so much is going on – time, time, time, time – but when they see me singing, that goes out of the window. They say “wait a minute – let me stop here for a while” – then they stop and listen to a couple of songs and they’re off again, but what they take with them is the feeling. They take the vibes that the song has given them. I have people coming up to me saying “I sang with you that day and I felt like a real star” – so, it’s very rewarding, not just for me. I see them with no smile on their faces but when they stop, the smiles are everywhere. It’s a beautiful thing.

Everyone in my house was singing from when I was a baby. I just picked up what everybody else was doing and I’ve been singing all of my life since. I moved to New York from Georgia when I was 17-years old and I did daycare for years, I worked with the board of education for years and all through that I was still singing some place. I sang at the Cotton Club for three years doing gospel brunches every Sunday and then I kind of wanted to go places with it.

I’m going to truly love singing the national anthem at Yankee Stadium before NYCFC’s game against Atlanta – I better not mess it up! I only get one shot! I always said if I ever get the chance to sing the national anthem – and I’ve never had the chance before – I’d be so thrilled. Gee whizz, I’ve wanted this since I was a baby. It’s a good thing that we’re going to be together on that day – sports brings people together, music brings people together, parties bring people together and we’re going to have a party in the Bronx. I can’t wait.

Don't miss seeing Alice perform the national anthem before our game vs Atlanta! Pick up your ticket via the link below...

Humans of NYCFC: Alice Tan Ridley -
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