New York City is a mecca for creative artists. With concert venues like Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, Carnegie Hall, Barclays Center, and the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, enjoying live music is definitely one of the top things to do in NYC. While nearly all big artists come through New York, many got their start here. Here are some of the most famous artists to come out of NYC.
The illustrious musician Lady GaGa was born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan. She was raised on Manhattan's Upper West Side and attended the Convent of the Sacred Heart from the age of 11. She studied method acting at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute, performed in plays at Regis High School, and played open mics throughout the city. At just 17 years old, she gained early admission into music school at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.
Much of her early music development took place in New York City, though she relocated to Los Angeles in 2008 to complete work on her debut album, "The Fame". Lady Gaga won her first Academy Award for Best Original Song with "Shallow" in 2019. She's also won 12 Grammys, 3 American Music Awards, and hundreds of others. As of 2020, her primary residence is a 10,270-square-foot beachfront property in Malibu, California.
Mary J. Blige
Mary J. Blige was born at Fordham Hospital in the Bronx. She lived in Savannah and Richmond Hill, Georgia for a time during her childhood, but her family later returned to New York, living in the Schlobohm Housing Projects in Yonkers. In 1988, Blige sang a cover of Anita Baker's "Caught Up in the Rapture" in a mall recording booth. Uptown Records, based in New York City, listened to the recording and signed her as a backup vocalist.
At Uptown, Blige started working with Sean Combs (AKA Puff Daddy), who produced most of her first album, released in 1992. In 1996, Mary J. Blige won her first Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for "I'll Be There for You/You're All I Need to Get By." She has since won 8 more Grammys and 4 American Music Awards, among many others. Blige lives in an eight-bedroom home in Saddle River, New Jersey.
Born on Staten Island, Christina Aguilera moved numerous times throughout her childhood due to her father's work in the United States Army. After her parents' divorce, Aguilera and her younger sister moved in with their grandmother in a Pittsburgh suburb. Christina was a cast member on "The Mickey Mouse Club" and got her musical break when she was selected to sing the song "Reflection" for Disney's animated film, "Mulan". Shortly after, she was signed by RCA and released her debut album in 1999.
Aguilera made a notable return to New York in 2008 for a two-day Rolling Stones concert at the Beacon Theater where she performed alongside Mick Jagger in "Live with Me." The concert was featured in Martin Scorsese's documentary "Shine a Light". Christina Aguilera has won 221 awards including four Grammys. Christina lives in an 11,107-square-foot Beverly Hills mansion.
One of the best-selling music artists of all time, Billy Joel was born in the Bronx and grew up in the Hicksville suburb of Long Island. Joel attended Hicksville High School but didn't graduate, as he missed an essential English exam after playing late at a piano bar the night before. In 1972, he signed a recording contract with Columbia and moved to Los Angeles where he recorded his first two albums. In 1975, he moved back to New York City and there recorded the album "Turnstiles" which features one of his most famous songs, "New York State of Mind."
In 1999, Billy Joel performed at Madison Square Garden in what he then believed would be his last tour and perhaps his last concert. However, he did go on to perform future tours including a 2006 tour that featured 12 sold-out concerts at Madison Square Garden. Joel has won numerous awards including five Grammys. His primary residence is in Long Island.
Diddy, also known as Sean Combs, was born in Manhattan's Harlem and raised in Mount Vernon, New York. He graduated from Mount Saint Michael Academy, a Roman Catholic high school in the Bronx. Combs interned at Uptown Records in New York City and later became a talent director for the label. In 1993, he was fired from Uptown and started his own label, Bad Boy Entertainment.
Using the name Puff Daddy, Combs recorded his first single as a rapper in 1997. His debut album was released later that year. In 2003, Sean raised $2 million for New York's educational system by running in the New York City Marathon. He's also donated computers and books to the city's school system. He's won several awards including three Grammys. He owned a three-bedroom apartment in New York from 2005 to 2017 and now lives in a 17,000-square-foot Beverly Hills mansion.
Barry Manilow was born as Barry Alan Pincus in Brooklyn. He grew up in Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood and graduated from Eastern District High School. Manilow studied at the City College of New York, New York College of Music, and Juilliard. Through the 1960s, he worked as a commercial jingle writer. He also performed a two-season run with Jeanne Lucas at the Upstairs at the Downstairs Club in New York.
Manilow signed his first recording contract in 1969 and released his first album in 1973. Though his popularity peaked in the 1970s, his 2006 cover album, "Greatest Songs of the Fifties" still hit number one, and the 2014 "Night Songs" album peaked at number 4. Manilow won two Emmys and one Grammy as well as other awards. He now lives in a Palm Springs mansion.
Did we include your favorite artists on our list? If we missed a great NYC musician you want to see featured, contact our team at Martin Busch Jewelers and let us know.