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Story Behind the Song: Aly Tadros, "Silence of the City"

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The stories sung by Aly Tadros are consequential ones, stories steeped in personal experience and insightful observations. They’re taken from her own hopes and fears, wisdom learned the hard way through trials. With a new album, her third, on the way, we asked the singer-songwriter to let us into her process, with the story behind the song “Silence of the City,” and she graciously agreed. Make sure to pre-order Aly’s latest at her PledgeMusic campaign.

Some people would say you’ve got to be certifiably insane to try and make it as a musician in New York.

Most days, I agree with them.

I moved to New York City four years ago, and haven’t had a dull moment since. During my first year, my car was towed (twice), broken into (once); I’ve been flashed more times than I can count, and I was nearly peed on last week. Somehow, I still love it here. There’s an almost masochistic determination to make it in New York.

Shortly after moving here, I joined a songwriting group. Each week, we got a new phrase to write a song with. The first phrase was “The Loud Silence," which is the epitome of my apartment. I sat down at my little desk and started freewriting about all the noises I usually do my best to tune out: garbage trucks barreling down Eastern Parkway, my roommate boiling water in the kitchen, the upstairs neighbors rustling around their apartment….

What fell out of me was a song about adjusting to life in the city. All of its sounds; its stresses. What about it feels liberating, and what about it makes me batty.

Living here isn’t always easy. Trying to make it as a musician doesn’t make it easier. New Yorkers are hard to impress. They’ve seen it all.

But, if you can learn to embrace it, you’ll find inspiration everywhere. The small, sweet things are what New York’s rough edges bearable.

The trick is in paying attention.

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Seana Anderson

Seana Anderson commented

Great, Aly. What's the box the guy is playing?

Yelimar Rodriguez

Yelimar Rodriguez commented

It's called a cajon! It's a drum.