Chicago 'L' platform performer nominated for Chicago Music Award

Monday, June 24, 2019
Chicago 'L' platform performer nominated for best classical entertainer at Chicago Music Awards
Maurice Javier Hubbard, 24, plays his music on the 'L' platform. He's also among this year's nominees for a Chicago Music Award as best classical entertainer. The award winners wil

CHICAGO (WLS) -- You may have seen this young street musician perform, making his violin sing above the noise and commotion of the subway. What you may not know is that his music has attracted the ears of many far beyond the subway.

ABC7 Eyewitness News reporter Paul Meincke first met the young musician, 24-year-old Maurice Javier Hubbard, in late 2016. He's still at it today on the Washington Blue Line platform - though his music and the list of venues where he plays it has grown.

Hubbard is largely self-taught and mostly plays classics. But he's also a music maker who meshes different genres: baroque-folk, hip-hop, marrying the sounds of Ireland and Nashville.

"Bach is still my favorite artist. You know, anything he's made I can listen to forever," he said. "And it still influences my art as I go into hip-hop, rap, singing and producing. I always go back to the originals."

Hubbard has noticed changes in his audience as he's explored new genres.

"I'm getting all types of people from all races, all age groups coming up to me and telling me, 'I've never heard this before, but I want to hear more,'" he said.

He's just dropped his first album under his performing name, "Lapzul."

Even more impressive, Hubbard is among this year's nominees for a Chicago Music Award as best classical entertainer. The award winners will be announced next month.

"The nomination is beyond honor," he said. "There's two other nominees who have won Grammys. One of them has won twice. I don't know if I'm gonna win this year. I hope, but if not, I've at least been associated with greatness."

The future is as boundless as his music. Wherever it takes him, he says playing the subway will always be a part, for there are few places better to connect.

"I feel if you are an artist, you should have a connection with people," he said. "If people can connect with you and your art, you're succeeding."