Johnstown—From New York City subway stations to stages across America, Alice Tan Ridley has allowed her powerful voice to lead the way.
The Georgia native and "America's Got Talent" contestant has been singing full-time since 1992, beckoning attention from subway riders to national magazines.
Combine raw power, charm, pure funk and more, and that is Alice Tan Ridley.
Ever-popular videos of Ridley's performances on YouTube reveal sizeable crowds gathering around her.
Michael Bodolosky, executive director of the Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center on the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown campus, said that he hopes that Ridley attracts even bigger crowds when she makes her stop in Johnstown Feb. 18.
"It is a great connection for Johnstown to see this caliber of music and entertainment close up," Bodolosky said. "(Ridley is) super talented with a great band to back her. She has an amazing voice ... very similar to many of the great female jazz vocalists."
Bodolosky added that Ridley's performance is a great way to celebrate Black History Month.
"Hopefully, she will reflect on the artists that influenced her," he said.
Similar to the subways in which she has performed, Ridley has been on a ride of her own. Born into a family of nine children, she discovered a passion for music at 3-years-old.
In 1971, she moved to New York, where she raised her children (one of whom is the award-winning "Precious" actress, Gabourey Sidibe) and worked with handicapped children. Today, Ridley is known as the "New York City Subway Idol."
Her touring career began when people in the entertainment industry took notice of her. Aside from performing across the United States, she has performed around the world, including Morocco, Argentina, Germany, Uruguay and The Netherlands.
Ridley's rendition of Etta James's "At Last" impressed the "America's Got Talent" judges and she was selected to compete on the show in 2010. Perhaps "America's Got Talent" judge Howie Mandel said it best: "You deserve to be heard by much more than everyone on the train."
Tickets for the show, which range in price from $28 to $35, can be purchased online at www.upj.pitt.edu/277/ or by calling (814) 269-7200. Her performance begins at 7:30 p.m.
For more information about Ridley and her rise-to-the-top career, visit www.alicetanridley.com.