Dominion of New York

The 411

September 6, 2012

Singer of “Native New Yorker,” Lillian Lopez Dies at 76

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Written by: Kelly Virella

Lillian Lopez. Photo Courtesy of Odyssey’s Facebook page.


n 1977, she and her group Odyssey released the song that would come to define her U.S. singing career for three decades, the disco hit “Native New Yorker.” The song goes:

“Runnin’ pretty, New York City girl
Twenty-five, thirty-five
Hello, baby, New York City girl

You grew up ridin’ the subways, running with people
Up in Harlem, down on Broadway
You’re no tramp, but you’re no lady, talkin’ that street talk
You’re the heart and soul of New York City”

Now Lillian Lopez is dead at the age of 76. She died Tuesday, after a bout with cancer.

Her son, Steven Andre, put this message on Odyssey’s Facebook page:

“It is with tremendous sadness that I announce the passing of my Mother, my mentor, and my very best friend, the founder and first voice of ODYSSEY, Lillian Lopez Collazo Jackson, who died peacefully in hospice on September 4th due to stage four cancer at the age of 76… She will live on in spirit through Annis, Anne, and me as we endeavour to carry on her legacy; to continue the musical journey that is, and always was, ODYSSEY… And of course, her magical voice can still be heard on practically any day, anywhere in the UK: When next you do, and if you can, TURN IT UP! She’d like that… Goodbye Ma, and Thank You…” provides some of Odyssey’s history. While the group faded in America, it became very popular in Europe with several hits there between 1977 and 1983.

Do you remember Lopez or the song “Native New Yorker?” If so, leave a tribute to her below.



About the Author

Kelly Virella
Kelly Virella lives in an East Harlem walk-up with her husband, her bicycle and her books. She's worked as a journalist for 11 years and started this website during the summer of 2011. She fell in love with New York City during her first visit here as a 16-year-old and finally made good on her promise to move here in April 2010.


Official portrait from his tenure as US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.