New York City mayor Bill de Blasio describes himself as being "really taken in" by Scandinavian speed metal, a genre he was introduced to by his teenage son and daughter. He responds to things he agrees with by proffering a (large) hand for high-fives. He's a big fan of The Clash and Steel Pulse — not surprising for a guy who got elected on a progressive platform that included discussions of an end to stop-and-frisk policing, who got arrested for disorderly conduct while protesting the closing of a community hospital during his campaign, and who has expanded his free early-childhood education program to now include children as young as 3.
And he's super-psyched the Grammys are coming back to New York for the first time in 15 years, which he tells MTV News on the porch of Gracie Mansion, the museum set within a public park that serves as the city's mayoral residence.
"It's right for New York City," he says about the decision to bring the annual music awards show to Madison Square Garden in 2018. "As the musical capital, as the most diverse city in the world. There's so many good reasons why the Grammys should be here."
Mayor de Blasio likes Ensiferum and Funk Flex in approximately equal measure, is vehemently against the Trump administration's immigration laws, and supports a plan to close Rikers Island. He believes The Clash’s Sandinista! to be superior to London Calling.
He also believes in challenging the status quo — a quality he supports in the artists who will visit New York next year for the 2018 Grammys.
“We wouldn't be New York City if we didn't have a lot of people here challenging the status quo,” the mayor says. "It's a healthy part of our society. Since the election in November, that impulse has only intensified.
"And what better place to do it? We're not only the music capital of the world, we're the capital of free speech."