The “love song” to NYC features Idina Menzel, Stephen Colbert, Sara Bareilles, Cautious Clay, Mario Cantone, Andy Cohen, Chloe Flower, Peppermint, and more with a special appearance and performance by Alexa Ray Joel
NEW YORK, NY — Beloved New York City actors, singers, choreographers, musicians, television, and late-night hosts have come together to produce a video rendition of Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind” to encourage the city’s recovery from the pandemic. The effort was conceived of and produced by NYCNext, a passionate group of New Yorkers from all disciplines and industries who have joined together to help inspire New Yorkers, with a particular focus on the arts community.
The “New York State of Mind” video features an array of artists from multiple disciplines and industries – including Zeshan B., Sara Bareilles, Mario Cantone, Victoria Clark, Cautious Clay, Andy Cohen, Stephen Colbert, Jerry Dixon, Chloe Flower, Billy Joel’s daughter and singer-songwriter Alexa Ray Joel, Joseph Joubert, Tom Kitt, The Klezmatics, LaChanze, Idina Menzel, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Brian Newman, Kelli O’Hara, Joan Osborne, Peppermint, Angie Pontani, Anaïs Reno, Mark Rivera, David Rosenthal, Bobby Sanabria, Ben Stiller and Suzanne Vega.
The performers were shot in iconic New York City locations such as Birdland (Times Square, Manhattan), the Brooklyn Museum (Crown Heights, Brooklyn), Columbia University (Morningside Heights, Manhattan), La Casita de Chema (Bronx), Maimonides Park (Coney Island, Brooklyn), NYU (Greenwich Village, Manhattan), Open Jar Studios (Times Square, Manhattan), Red Hook Winery (Red Hook, Brooklyn), Russ & Daughters (Lower East Side, Manhattan), Steinway & Sons Factory (Ditmars Steinway, Queens), Tom’s Restaurant (Upper West Side, Manhattan), and the Wonder Wheel (Coney Island, Brooklyn), among many others.
“Our goal with this project is to create a collective movement of New York City pride. We want to celebrate our artists as well as the city we love and inspire everyone to step in and support NYC in whichever way works for them,” said Maryam Banikarim, co-founder of NYCNext. “This all-volunteer movement is a testament to the power of New Yorkers — creative, passionate do-ers who step in to help each other and their city when the going gets tough.”
World-renowned Grammy award-winning performer, singer-songwriter, musician, humanitarian and native New Yorker Billy Joel lent the organization the rights and permissions to use his iconic “New York State of Mind” song to support the project.
All artists featured in the film donated their time, voices, and talent to the project, each proud to display their passion for the city that never sleeps.
Said singer-songwriter, actress, author, and producer Sara Bareilles: “To sing Billy Joel’s iconic song alongside my community members at a time when the city needs us all was so meaningful to me. I’m so grateful this project came to life in such a big way.”
The film itself encourages viewers to join the movement by visiting NYCNext.org, which lists dozens of ways New Yorkers can get involved, by supporting our community of artists, local businesses and restaurants, and many more.
“I’ve always loved ‘New York State of Mind,’ and as a New Yorker myself, bringing together all of my favorite singers, artists, and musicians to collaborate on this inspiring film was a dream of a lifetime,” said Tom Kitt, who co-conceived the project and is a multi-award-winning composer and musician, as well as a founding member of NYCNext and MUSE.
“It was an epic undertaking, the equivalent of shooting 25 different music videos for one film. We wanted to show the diversity and beauty of all five boroughs. Our shared vision with NYCNext and Tom Kitt, who were the perfect collaborators, was for each artist to wake NYC from its slumber and breathe life back into the city by singing this anthemic song. I hope the heart and confidence behind these performances will inspire audiences to do their part to give back in whichever ways they can,” said Emmy Award-winning Founder and Executive Creative Director of Brooklyn-based, creative production company Smartypants and NYCNext Founding Member Joshua Seftel, who directed the film. “My team at Smartypants loves telling underdog stories and we felt we could do justice to something as iconic as ‘New York State of Mind’. It’s a song that was written in the 70s to pick NYC up when the city was struggling and was used again as an anthem after 9/11. This seemed like the perfect time to bring it back around. There’s a timeless quality about the piece. It survives and continues on, just like NYC.”
“This is an incredible love letter to NYC from an impressive cross-section of our arts and entertainment community, who have consistently shown up to give their time, creativity, and talents in support of our beloved city in times of crisis,” said the Commissioner Anne del Castillo of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. “We appreciate the dedication of NYCNext in spearheading this collective ‘New York State of Mind’ effort to connect New Yorkers and others to ways they can assist in the City’s recovery.”
This rendition of “New York State of Mind” will appear across the entire New York media spectrum — in taxi cabs, at New York City’s homecoming concerts, as part of the New York Stock Exchange’s outdoor events at Experience Square, and many other local venues and media outlets — from now through year-end. iHeartMedia New York will promote the “New York State of Mind” video on-air across all its six radio stations, as well as on the stations’ websites and social media channels, encouraging listeners to watch the performance and support the New York City community.
This project was made possible by many partners, including Edelman, MUSE, the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, NYC & Company, NuRide Transportation Group, Our Man in Havana, Partnership for New York City, Reed Smith LLP, SAG-AFTRA, Smartypants, as well as Universal Music.
Ways to get involved
There are many ways to get involved and give back to New York City through NYCNext’s amazing partners. Please visit NYCNext.org to learn more.
If you post on social media in support of our efforts, don’t forget to use the hashtag #NYCNextStateofMind.
We are a group of volunteers from all disciplines and industries, representing all five boroughs, who love NYC and have joined together to help the city we love recover and rebuild and to inspire others to take action. To date, NYCNext has produced live popup events that bring creative energy and economic support to neighborhoods in all five boroughs. We want to position NYC as a creative and innovative city that will spark its next great era through the resilience and creativity of its residents. This is not a profit-making endeavor. www.NYCNext.org.
Produced by NYCNext
Executive Producer, co-founder NYCNext, Andrew Lerner and Maryam Banikarim
Co-Conceiver/Music Supervisor/Co-Arranger and Co-Orchestrator, Tom Kitt
Director, Joshua Seftel
Full Production Credits
NYCNext Film Credits
Jesse Kranzler, Producer
Dana Kuznetzoff, Producer
Abby Raphel, Producer
NYCNext Project Credits
Grace Santa Maria
Produced by – Scott M. Riesett, Tom Kitt, and David Rosenthal
Additional Production by – Zane Mark, Brian Usifer, and Darryl Archibald
Mixed by – Derik Lee
Orchestrated and Arranged by – Tom Kitt
Additional Arrangements by – Joseph Joubert
Additional Orchestrations by – David Rosenthal
Instrumental Recording Session
Joseph Joubert – Piano
Damien Bassman – Drums & Percussion
Angie Swan – Guitars
Michael Olatuja – Bass
Scott M. Riesett – Producer
Tom Kitt – Producer
Ian Kagey – Recording Engineer
Teng Chen – Assistant Engineer
Recorded at Power Station at BerkleeNYC (New York, NY)
Mark Rivera – Saxophone
David Rosenthal – B3 and Strings
Recorded at Sonic Adventures Studio
Engineered by – David Rosenthal
Assistant Engineer – Kaz Fernando
Crystal Taliefero – Additional Percussion and Percussion Arrangements
Recorded at CTstudio
Engineer – Crystal Taliefero & Michael Lattanzi
Chloe Flower – Additional Piano
Tom Kitt – Additional Piano
Bobby Sanabria – Additional Percussion
Ben Stiller – Voice-Over
Julian Cornell – Engineer
Mingyang “Jerry” Xu, David Peck, Michael Matsakis – Assistant Engineer
Dr. Elise Sobol – Director of Music Education, NYU Steinhardt
Parichat Songmuang – Manager, Dolan Recording Studio
Dr. David Schroeder – Chair, NYU Steinhardt Music and Performing Arts Professions
Bobby Sanabria – Percussion
Recorded at Dolan Recording Studio at NYU Steinhardt
Suzanne Vega recording session credits:
Sound engineer – Colin Mohnacs
Alexa Ray Joel session credits:
Recorded by – Parker S. Lyons at MonkMusic Studios in Easthampton, NY
SmartyPants Film Credits
Joshua Seftel, Director
Jeremy Mack, Executive Producer
Anna Bick Rowe, Executive Producer
Drew Levin, DP
Jeremy Medoff, Editor
Lindsay Blatt, Talent Producer
Sabine Rogers, Field Producer
Marki Yaccino, Production Manager
Jacob Breland, Production Manager
Karl Schroder, Additional cinematography
Jesse Sanchez-Strauss, Steadicam
Calvin Falk, Steadicam
Kevin Jacobsen, Steadicam
Mike Guaspari, 1st AC
Sam Tetro, 1st AC
Adam Roberts, 1st AC
Bri McCarthy, 2nd AC
Cal Heller, 2nd AC
Nada Stjepanovic, 2nd AC / MM
Bridget McQuillan, 2nd AC / MM
Ash Bean, 2nd AC
Julia Gowesky, Gaffer
Ted Maroney, Gaffer
Derek Sexton Horani, Gaffer
Ryan McCluney, Grip
Nick Pietroniro, Grip
Kevin Villafuerte, Grip
Matt Discala, Grip
Matt Jimney, Sound Mixer
Josh Heller, Sound Mixer
Keith Lee, Sound Mixer
Laura Thomas, BTS
James Frazier, PA
Ishmael Green, PA
Scott Bausemer, PA / Driver
Anna Beth Riggs, PA
Jordan Reis Alexander, PA
Steve Benjamin, Asst Editor
Nick Cancelliere, Asst Editor
Melissa Ulrey, Asst Editor
Sophie Glassman, Intern
Lily Ross, Intern
Yankees Credits: Major League Baseball footage used with permission of Major League Baseball. All rights reserved.
Special thanks to:
Asif Ahmed, Annaleigh Ashford, Kaitlyn Brennan, Jon Butensky, John Campanelli, Kevin Carey, Brian Cashman, Grace Cashman, Cameron Crowe, Niki Russ Federman, Donna Gryn, Sarah Jeffreys, Billy Joel, Mikael Jorgensen, Emily Lazar, Claire Mercuri, MUSE, Ken Rich, Ben Stiller, Nick Trotta, Josh Russ Tupper, Lia Vollack, Michael Williams, Kim Youngberg and Jason Zillo.