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- American singer-songwriter, poet and visual artist
Patti Smith has been given the key to New York City.
The legendary musician - who was born in Chicago, Illinois and grew up in South Jersey but adopted the city as her home - received the special honour this week just before her 75th birthday on Thursday (30.12.21) as outgoing mayor Bill De Blasio praised her for "an authenticity that you just don’t find [in] that many other places".
In his speech, he said: "Some have called Patti Smith the godmother of punk... [and] I think it’s a fair phrase because she inspired so many people, helped shape a whole artistic movement, and in many ways a political movement as well.
"Her work as a musician, as a singer, as a lyricist, as an activist – so many elements influenced so many people and showed people a way.
"And when we honour people, I particularly think about the pathfinders – the people who show the way to so many others.
"There’s a lot of artists out there who realise what they could do and what they could say because they heard the works of Patti Smith.”
In her own speech, Patti reflected on moving to New York from a "rural, rural area of South Jersey" in 1967 and admitted she had "just a few dollars", nowhere to stay and "no real prospects".
She returned in 1994 - having moved to Detroit 15 years earlier with her late husband NAME NAME - and was grateful by the way the city embraced her and gave her "another chance to rebuild [her] life and continue to evolve as an artist".
She added: "I wish I could give New York City the key to me, because that's how I feel about our city.
"With all its challenges and difficulties, it remains - and I'm quite a traveller - the most diverse city, to me, in the world."