Harlem's Own Subway Singer Turned Band Leader Redefines 'Music'

Bill Hudson’s definition of “music” is simple. If it has a pulse, it could very well be a song.

“Music is sound that’s pleasing to the ear,” Hudson says. “So if it’s something that moves me, I can roll with it.”

He’s a face many New Yorkers recognize, with a warm, familiar voice that serenaded subway riders for some time. But today, Hudson is the lead singer of the rock band John the Martyr, and performing at some of the city’s most sought-after venues. The band has a record deal with +1 Records and 300 Entertainment, and at age 70, Hudson brings his soul influence to the group that says it melds Jazz, R&B, and rock.

Hudson is no stranger to the New York music scene. The Harlem native says music has helped shaped his views on many events in American history. From the civil rights movement to the Vietnam War, music has been a constant source of inspiration for Hudson.

“What was vitally important to me at that time [was] music,” Hudson says. “The music at that time gave voice to some of the issues that were going on. These things infused some of my values.”