Leo Zhang chosen as TTC’s first Underground Idol

Cellist Leo Zhang was this afternoon named the winner of the TTC’s Underground Sounds competition.

Through a partnership with Universal Music Canada, Zhang has been offered the opportunity to enter into an agreement with UMC for the professional recording and release of a mutually agreed to song. In the coming months, Zhang will work with UMC to select a song and finalize the details and terms of the recording agreement. Once released, his song will be featured in a ‘Tracks on Tracks’ playlist exclusively available on Apple Music at applemusic.com/rushhour or applemusic.com/hushhour.

Zhang was among 180 musicians to enter the TTC’s Underground Sounds competition and one of 10 finalists for the grand prize. All 10 performed for a panel of judges from Universal Music Canada and the TTC.

Zhang has been playing the cello underground as a TTC subway musician for two decades. He's a classically trained cellist and attended University of Toronto, mastering in performance.

A total of 90 performers, including the 10 finalists, received three-year licenses to perform in 31 designated TTC station locations beginning this fall. Online voting throughout May determined the 90 licensees and the top 10 finalists.

The subway musician program has been enhancing TTC customers’ experiences for almost 40 years, while providing exposure to local musicians. Past and current TTC musicians include Juno Award winners, Royal Conservatory of Music graduates, symphony performers and published musicians.

For more information on auditions and voting, visit www.undergroundsounds.ca.

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