Busker What’s Your Story? All that Albury Jazz

ALL THAT ALBURY JAZZ

“Some of you young folks been saying to me, Hey Pops, what you mean what a wonderful world? How about all them wars all over the place, you call them wonderful? And how about hunger and pollution? They ain’t so wonderful either.’

“But how about listening to old Pops for a minute. It seems to me it ain’t the world that’s so bad, but what we’re doing to it, and all I’m saying is see what a wonderful world it would be if only we’d give it a chance. Love, baby, love. That’s the secret. Yeah. If lots more of us loved each other we’d solve lots more problems. And man, this world would be a gasser.

Louis Armstrong

Perhaps old Pops was on to something? There’s no happier music than jazz music.

We’ve been fortunate in the regional city of Albury in recent months to have been treated to some excellent jazz and big band street performances from visiting musos for the 74th Australian Jazz Convention and from the Kapooka Army Band in QEII Square at an event to raise awareness around domestic violence.

The Kapooka Army Band and a Street Parade to open the 74th Annual Jazz Convention held in Albury, NSW

While this lot aren’t buskers – they’re just as joyful and we wanted to share the love with everyone here at Busker What’s Your Story?

Catch the Australian Kapooka Army Band performing at The Cube Wodonga in May – https://www.facebook.com/events/599635454202125/

Read more about the Australian Jazz Convention here – https://www.facebook.com/AustralianJazzConvention/

Busker What’s Your Story? Keka Otero

Keka Otero

“In Andalusia we dance with passion, we cook with passion, we fall in love passionately! I think that this is reflected in my music.”

Keka Otero

Keka is a musician from Seville in Spain who has been busking around Melbourne, Australia for around the last 9 months.

Keka’s sophisticated vocals and piano skills are delighting Melbourne tourists and shoppers in the CBD, including the Bourke Street Mall, Southbank and St Kilda precincts.

We’re thrilled that Keka has recorded this great interview just for us here at Busker What’s Your Story?
Enjoy her big warm smile, engaging personality, beautiful piano and impressive vocals as she shares with us a little about her busking experiences here in Melbourne.

You can also catch Keka at a few local gigs. She will be appearing on Valentine’s Day (14 February) at The Clayton Hotel from 6.30pm and at the Clifton Hill Brew Pub on Sunday 29 March from 6pm. Check out her Facebook for any further opportunties to see her play live.

Here she is covering the Ed Sheeran classic ‘Perfect’ to the delight of passers-by in Melbourne’s Bourke Street Mall.

Find out more about Keka Otero:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Keka-Otero-365606166875601/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/kekaotero/

YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCb55huf-xu2if55xh0Tj4rg

Busker What’s Your Story? Willy Golightly & Rowan Brown

Willy Golightly & Rowan Brown

Heading out to Beechworth on a leisurely Saturday in January, to support what had earlier become a bit of a ghost town during the devastating bushfires, Busker What’s Your Story? was delighted to discover two old timers in the main street enjoying a cheeky impromptu busk.

It was Beechworth folk/blues musician Willy Golightly’s birthday. He said the bushfires in surrounding regions had put everyone on edge and he wanted to do something to lighten things up a bit.

Setting up to busk with his guitar on Ford Street, Willy was chuffed when his old friend and double base player Rowan Brown from Woolshed/Eldorado (whom he hadn’t seen for ages) decided to join him on the spot for a good old fashioned jam.

It was wonderful to stumble upon these joyful musicians doing what they could to brighten up the smokie town. Once again, it was music bringing people together.

Busker What’s Your Story? Hudson Rose

Hudson Rose

“I have been busking for about three years now. Last year at the Tamworth Country Music Festival I was lucky enough to be selected as a top ten finalist in the busking competition and had the chance to perform on the main stage in Toyota Park on the last night.”

“I write my own material also. ‘Family Heart’ (for example) is a song I wrote for my Nan. She was diagnosed with cancer when my mum was only 17 and was told back then she had three years to live. She is still alive today, although this last year has been the hardest one yet. She has never been to one of my gigs; so I wrote a song for her.” 

Hudson Rose

At just 17 years of age, Hudson Rose is a young lady whose star is definately rising. In 2020 she has already performed 14 shows at the coveted Tamworth Country Music Festival (TCMF) and been bestowed the Young Person of the Year Award at MidCoast Council’s 2020 Australia Day ceremony (under her real name, Georgia Hudson).

It was the young artist’s fourth foray to TCMF. “I opened for Queensland band Homegrown. They were on ‘The Voice’ last year. That was really really cool. And I got to play on the Fanzone Stage in the heart of Peel Street, and the HSF Artists’ Showcase,” Hudson told Julia Driscoll of the Manning River Times.

We’re delighted that Hudson has accepted our invitation to Busker What’s Your Story? to talk about her music and her busking experiences.

You grew up on the mid North Coast? It seems to be a great breeding ground for country singers and musicians.

Yes, my hometown is Wingham. I love it! It’s a community that is very supportive towards my music. After a long trip away, there’s nothing like coming back home.  

How often and where do you busk?

I’ve busked at a few festivals and markets along the Mid North Coast (as well as the Tamworth Country Music Festival) and it has truly helped me to become the artist I am today.

Now I do gigs every weekend (it’s the best part of the week) to keep me busy. I believe every opportunity to perform is an opportunity to keep getting better. 

I also love to get together with other musicians and I attend the Peppertown Jam each month in Newcastle. With no rehearsal or practice, you get up on stage with the band and play your songs. It’s the best feeling!

How would you describe the difference for a musician between busking and gigging?

I enjoy both!

When busking, people choose to stop and listen. They chat to you between songs and ask questions. I think sometimes there is more interaction when you’re busking. Sometimes at gigs, you need to work harder to maintain the interest and engage the audience. 

At first, getting gigs was hard for me. It is completely different to busking, as the majority of the time you have an audience (and they are always listening and watching – even if it doesn’t seem like it) so always being enthusiastic and engaging (as well as professional) is very important. 

How do you engage people’s attention in a busy pub scenario?

It’s important to be enjoying what you are doing and having fun. If you seem interesting and inviting, people want to listen more. Looking at people, reading body language and talking to the audience helps to determine what people are looking for and helps you then develop the setlists accordingly. 

Any standout memories from busking?

I’ve been busking for about three years now. Last year at the TCMF I was lucky enough to be selected as a top ten finalist in the busking competition and had the chance to perform on the main stage in Toyota Park on the last night. That was such an incredible experience for me. It motivated me to become better at my craft and to then perform on those stages more often.

When people are singing or dancing to your music, it is the best feeling! Music has so much to offer and really speaks the language of everyone. 

You write your own material. Picking a couple of your favourites, what can you tell us about your originals?

I love writing my own songs, I think it is such a great way to express yourself.

The interesting thing I’ve learned, is that there are people who relate to the songs I write. I have been writing songs for about two years now and am hoping to release a couple of singles later this year. 

‘Hey Now’ is a fun, feel good song, about all the little things you experience and expect as you get older. 

‘Family Heart’ is a song I wrote for my Nan. She was diagnosed with cancer when my mum was only seventeen and was told she had three years to live. She is still alive today, although this last year has been the hardest one yet. She has never been to one of my gigs and so I wrote this song for her. 

Tell us a little bit more about your experiences in Tamworth

This was my fourth year attending the festival and it keeps getting better and better each year!

In 2019 I was selected as a top ten busker to compete on the main stage on the last night. While in 2020 I still busked, as a 2019 finalist, I was not eligible to be selected again. Busking is still a favourite of mine. 

This year I was doing more gigs than ever before as well as networking and meeting some amazing people and artists. 

What’s something really interesting about Hudson Rose?

My mum says if I was not a musician, I would be a comedian! I have some pretty good jokes (if I do say so myself)…

And some great advice you’ve been given along your journey?

One piece of advice that has stuck with me is to ‘stay in your lane and do your thing’ and ‘no one is more you, than you’.

A good friend and mentor of mine Jackson James said that to me at just the right time.

Where else can people see you gig or busk this year?

I regularly do gigs up and down the Mid North Coast from South West Rocks to Sydney. If you keep an eye on my Facebook page (Hudson Rose Music) I post all my upcoming gigs and performances.

Love to see you at one!

Image Credit: Bob McGahon Photography

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/hudsonrosemusic/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/hudsonrosemusic/

YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCr0j3SmHMlOPbbWxidp5qEQ

Busker What’s Your Story? Cainan Russell

Cainan Russell

“I’ve had plenty of amazing experiences while busking. There’s been a few instances when people have donated upwards of $120. I’ve had people propose to their girlfriend while I was playing. After one of my sets, I had some guy pay me $100 to play one song on the beach while he proposed to his girlfriend.

Unfortunately there’s a few bad experiences too. Drunk girls try to kiss me, because the lyrics of the song say: “darling kiss me.” I’ve had death threats because some drug addict didn’t like Ed Sheeran and drunk people falling on me and knocking everything over.” 

Cainan Russell

Twenty-one year old Gold Coast busker Cainan Russell was 8 when he moved to Australia with his family from his birth nation of South Africa.

After seeing a few videos of Cainan busking and playing gigs on the Gold Coast we invited him to Busker What’s Your Story? to find out more about this young acousic/pop/alternative artist.

How competitive is the busking scene on the Gold Coast? Is it difficult to book a spot in Cavill Mall? Is there an audition process?

It’s not too competitive; everyone is friendly and you get to know all the other buskers. You do however have to audition to receive a permit.

 Where do you busk apart from Cavill Mall?

I busk in Brisbane (South Bank), Broadbeach and at Pacific fair shopping centre as well as surfers paradise of course.

What are some memorable experiences you’ve had while busking?

I’ve had plenty of amazing experiences while busking, every time you go out you never know what to expect.

People are so generous sometimes. There’s been a few instances where people have donated upwards of $120.

I’ve had people propose to their girlfriends while I was playing. After one of my sets, I had some guy pay me $100 to play one song on the beach while he proposed to his girlfriend.

Unfortunately there’s a few bad experience too. I’ve had drunk girls try to kiss me, because the lyrics of the song were “darling kiss me.” I’ve had death threats because some drug addict didn’t like Ed Sheeran. I’ve had drunk people falling on me and knocking everything over (mic stand and guitar case.)

Recently I was busking in Cavill Mall and I had about $100 in notes in a jar (I keep all the notes in a jar so they don’t blow away in the wind). Mid-song, I had some random homeless guy run up and steel it. My dad tried to catch him but he was too fast; we reported it to the police and they caught him a few days later but unfortunately I never got the money back. 

If you could choose a lyric from any song that means something special to you, what would that lyric be, and why? 

“When I’m away, I will remember how you kissed me,
Under the lamp post, back on Sixth street,
Hearing you whisper through the phone,
“Wait for me to come home”

They’re from Ed Sheeran’s song ‘Photograph,’ I like them because they’re so relatable. Everyone experiences distance in a relationship and as long as you remember the special moments that made you fall in love, then you will always find your way home. 

What’s a great piece of advice you’ve been given?

As time goes on, the more you practice you can only get better. If you’re not happy where you are now, just keep going. You will get better.

You’re a singer/songwriter, what can you tell us about your own material? 

I’m constantly writing new songs and coming up with ideas for songs. Currently I’m working on a 5 track EP and I hope to have it out near the end of the year.

What’s something interesting or unusual about Cainan Russell?

I’m not sure, but I only started singing and playing guitar 3 years ago, in my last year of school (2016) I didn’t even know that I could sing!

Here’s a video recorded in 2018 by Cainan that gives an excellent insight into a day in the life of a Gold Coast busker.

In this video you’ll follow Cainan for a day of busking (including the girl who takes his lyrics a little too literally). You’ll also hear some more of Cainan’s great vocals and acoustic guitar.

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/cainanrussell/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/cainanrussell/

YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnn3JX2tbHlXnuUriFutxxA

Busker What’s Your Story? Patrick Lionel

Image Credit: Alex Rothmeier

Patrick Lionel

“Busking for me was a full time job. I had to do it even on days that I didn’t want to and wasn’t feeling inspired. This made me hone my craft immensely in two years; it made me improve exponentially and I noticed more and more that people were paying attention.

I realised that the smallest details can mean the difference between an okay performance and an amazing performance. It’s a challenge I set myself on stage too; in a noisy bar I would try and create silence… That’s when you know you’ve done well.”

Patrick Lionel

Patrick Lionel is a Melbourne based singer/songwriter who combines mesmerising vocals with delicate guitar lines, leaving his audience spellbound, focused intently on the performer.

We invited Patrick to the blog because he has a load of busking experience in Melbourne and is an articulate and reflective artist, whose insights we really appreciate – we hope you will too!

You’re just 21, tell us more about Patrick Lionel and his music

I was raised in a town called Heathcote, about half an hour drive from Bendigo. I did many of my first gigs in Bendigo, as well as doing my schooling there.

Yes, I recently turned 21 and I’m currently living in Melbourne; I’d much prefer to live in the country, but for work (as well as for music) the city provides many more opportunities. 

I’ve only officially released two songs at this stage, but if I earn enough money I’ll get back into the studio this year to record more. Recording them was one of the most amazing experiences in my life. I was able to receive the help and guidance from Jordie Lane throughout the entire process, which was a dream come true and a huge story within itself!

My first release ‘Forgive Yourself‘ ‘ was a song I completed writing only a couple of weeks before going into the studio. It was a song that wrote itself basically, stemming from a deeply distressing experience that unfolded in my life at the time; but the song came at the perfect time and I was able to take it into the studio. 

Patrick Lionel Original – Forgive Yourself

Caroline,’ my most recent release, was a song that I’ve had for quite a while now. Unlike ‘Forgive Yourself’ ‘ it has no personal story; it would be what you call fiction for most part! Although they’re both different in that aspect, I love them both. I feel that although ‘Caroline’ is not related to any particular experience in my life, someone out there will still relate to it, and hopefully experience some sort of emotive response to it in one way or another.

Patrick Lionel Original – Caroline

Tell us more about your busking experiences

When I first moved to Melbourne 3 years ago, I would busk most days of the week. I didn’t have a job, so busking was my main source of income for the most part of two years!

Nowadays I have a job, and although it’s rewarding being able to save money; it has become a detriment to my music. From playing all the time (to barely picking up the guitar) was a struggle which I became unaware of.

But time without playing has allowed me to reflect on what I want in the future, and 2020 will be more of a balancing act between work and music. I’m looking forward to it. 

Busking for me was (back then) a full time job. I had to do it even on days that I didn’t want to and wasn’t feeling inspired. This made me hone my craft immensely in two years; it made me improve exponentially and I noticed more and more that people were paying attention.

I realised that the smallest details can mean the difference between an okay performance and an amazing performance. This allowed me to become better on stage also, and I was beginning to form a reputation in my area which was a very rewarding feeling.  

Performing is very much a selfish thing. I do it because I love it. But it’s just as (if not more) rewarding to see other people enjoy it. That’s what I love most about busking; seeing people who I’ve never met before, or held a conversation with, respond to my music on an emotional level that only a song can evoke. 

But it’s a double edged sword. I had many days where I’d be disheartened after busking, not because I didn’t earn much, but because sometimes it makes you see the worst side of humanity. What hurt me most was when I would be putting all my vulnerabilities on show for people (which is what performing is) and watching people walk on by without any acknowledgment at all.

It still astounds me today how and why this is. It is incredibly sad that people can be caught up in their own world so much, that they shut off all senses. This also made me challenge myself to try and get those same people to at least acknowledge my presence, and maybe even enjoy what I was doing!

It’s a challenge I set myself on stage too; in a noisy bar I would try and create silence…. That’s when you know you’ve done well.

Patrick Lionel creates some silence with this cover of ‘If We Were Vampires’ by Jason Isbell

If you could choose a lyric or a song that’s really special to you, what would it be?

Lyrics have become more and more important to me as I’ve grown as a musician. Listening to lyrical masters like Jason Isbell, Joe Pug and Gregory Alan Isakov has made me want to focus on crafting better lyrics in my own songs. 

There’s not one particular lyric or line which stands out for me, because there are so many good ones. But I feel like a great song is one that is perfect in it’s entirety. And in terms of lyric, one song that does that in my opinion is ‘The Trapeze Swinger’ by Iron and Wine. That song gives me goosebumps the whole way through every time without failure.

Who are your musical inspirations and what do you love most about them?

I have so many musical inspirations which span from famous artists to friends. I feel like there can be inspiration wherever you look, you just have to listen. 

What’s something really interesting about you?

I think everyone has a belief that they are uninteresting, as I do too sometimes. But that’s only because what others consider interesting about us, we consider as the norm; it’s the familiarity and repetition of what interests us that makes it normal. So I’m sure there’d be many things which other people would consider interesting about myself, but for me, it’s just me. 

What’s a great piece of advice you’ve been given?

The most valuable piece of information (given to me when I was younger, and still trying to get my head around music) was from a friend who was in his last moments of life.

He was a well respected man in the community, who’d been playing music for a very long time, and the final time I saw him he told me to: “always keep it simple”. That was the last thing he said to me, and something which I have kept in the front of my mind since that time. 

Your Falsetto is amazing, is that something you’re shy about when you first start to sing, or does it come natural from the get-go?

Falsetto was something that I always loved. Growing up listening to Matt corby and Bon Iver (Justin Vernon) made me transfixed on the beauty of it, when it’s done well. But it was always a struggle for me, even though my voice was particularly high for a male.

As I’ve matured, it’s become easier (I’m not sure why?) but I’m sure there is a scientific reason!

I guess I have always wanted to be better at it, and practice was another factor in improvement. I’m still developing it, and there’s still much more room for improvement.

Singing as a whole for me has never been about technique; because perfection is unattainable, and sometimes the imperfections in a voice are the most impactive.

I’ve only ever had a few singing lessons in my life just to try it, but experimentation, practice and individuality are (in my opinion) the key aspects of being able to create an impactful performance.

What’s next for Patrick Lionel?

I’m really looking forward to performing more in 2020.

For the last six months or so I have been very quiet, but I’m hoping to change that soon. I’d like to record more songs and step out of my comfort zone, in order to develop myself further. I also look forward to getting back onto the street and doing some more busking! Because honestly, that is what I love doing the most.

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Patrick-Lionel-2197933567086982/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/patricklionel_/

Busker What’s Your Story? StephStrings

Image Credit: Lewis Warner

StephStrings

“I love when I’m playing and passers-by are rushing, all busy and occupied and then they stop and give me a look, almost as if to say ‘thanks for making me stop and smile’. That’s my favourite part, when people walk past with a skip in their step and it feels like I’ve positively impacted their day.”

Steph Strings
StephStrings original instrumental – Revilo

Steph is a 19 year old Melbourne born multi-instrumentalist. She released her first E.P. titled ‘Allegoric Oceans‘ in 2017 and is a regular busker at the Marketplace in Camberwell.

With influences from the John Butler Trio, Tash Sultana and Ziggy Alberts, Steph’s genre contains bursts of percussion alongside fingerstyle and indie rock.

At Busker What’s Your Story? we wanted to find out more about this young and talented independent acoustic artist.

What drew you to music as a child?

I grew up in Melbourne, surrounded by lots of family, friends and sport. Some of my earliest memories of music include driving in the car with my Dad, listening to Elvis Presley on repeat, watching my cousins jam together and going to see Ed Sheeran at my first concert when I was 14 years old.

What drew me to music was the support from my Dad and two of my cousins. They taught me a large handful of songs and showed me how much fun it was to jam and explore different sounds.

As a young person I listened to Coldplay, Ed Sheeran and The Red Hot Chili Peppers.

What do you enjoy most about busking?

One of the best things about busking is meeting the locals and feeling a sense of community. I love when I’m playing and passers-by are rushing, all busy and occupied and then they stop and give me a look, almost as if to say ‘thanks for making me stop and smile’. That’s my favourite part; when people walk past with a skip in their step and it feels like I’ve positively impacted their day. It’s a pretty special feeling.

What do you like least about it?

There’s not too much not to like about busking, however when I finish a full day of performing and my fingers are red and raw, I guess that’s pretty annoying (yet oddly satisfying).

What are some standout moments you’ve had busking?

I’ve had plenty of funny situations. One man missed his doctor’s appointment because he listened to me for so long. Another time, a woman gave me $10 and thanked me for not playing any Christmas Carols!

If you could choose a lyric from any song that’s really special to you, what would it be, and why?

The song ‘Time Is Dancing’ by Ben Howard is personally one of the best lyrical songs of all time, but ‘Red Moon’ by Michael Dunstan has my favourite lyric:
‘Comforting memories of summer rain on wheat. Soothing rustle of the pines in the easterlies. Open spaces, that let me breath.’

Do you think buskers will survive an increasingly cashless society?

It’s something that I’ve been concerned about recently, but I think with our ever-growing technology, there’ll be ways for people to gift performers for their art. London’s recently introduced card readers for buskers so that people can tap their card and give money; I think that idea will go global soon enough.

What’s a great piece of advice you’ve been given?

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve heard in relation to music is: ‘Don’t let music become a chore, it should always be a release.’ I’ve followed that, ever since I heard it.

Where can people see you busk or gig?

I busk at the Market Place in Camberwell in Melbourne and I do gigs around Fitzroy at local pubs and bars.

StephStrings original instrumental – San Remo

https://www.instagram.com/stephstringsmusic/

https://www.facebook.com/stephstrings/

Busker What’s Your Story? Jeremy Kerr

Jeremy Kerr

Music was my first love, and it will be my last
Music of the future, and music of the past
To live without my music, would be impossible to do
For in this world of troubles, my music pulls me through.”

John Miles
Jeremy covers Sandstorm by Darude and Bad Guy by Billie Eilish

It was March 2017, a typical Saturday evening in Albury, NSW. Young merry-makers were wandering between the pubs in Dean Street. Albury musician, Jeremy Kerr, was set up on his usual busking corner opposite the post office.

A group of passers-by asked Jeremy to play a rendition of Darude’s Sandstorm on his Melodica, an instrument that had captured their curiosity.

An obliging fellow, Jeremy agreed. The result now lives in the Albury Music Legends Hall of Fame (well, it would, if there were one).

The video of Jeremy nailing every note of the popular rave anthem, with a small flashmob of revellers, went viral, attracting an astonishing three million views in just 24 hours after it was picked up by popular Facebook page The LADBible. The humble melodica, and the humble Jeremy, were suddenly centre stage.

The Melodica is a free-reed instrument similar to a pump organ and harmonica. It has a musical keyboard on top and is played by blowing air through a mouthpiece fitted to its side. Pressing a key opens a hole, allowing air to flow through a reed. They are popular in music education, particularly in Asia.

Wikipedia states that the instrument was popularised in the 1970s by reggae musician Augustus Pablo. We believe this needs updating to state that it was popularised one Saturday evening in Albury in 2017, by musician Jeremy Kerr!

We invited Jeremy to the blog to talk about his busking experiences, other than on that fateful occasion.

Why the Melodica?

Mostly because there’s so many guitarists out busking. I just wanted to kind of stand out from the crowd. Melodicas are not very well known so I thought instead of playing guitar, why not do something different?

Is it difficult to play?

Only as difficult as learning the piano. I had about 1 year of keyboard lessons when I was in Year 11 and it’s pretty much just the same principle as piano.

What are your most requested tunes?

Obviously Sandstorm is the standout. People just associate with me with that one now. Also the Super Mario theme is a popular one, for some reason I get asked for that quite a lot, not sure why, must be a lot of gamers out and they probably associate that one with memories from their childhood.

What other instruments do you play?

My first instrument was the classical guitar. Then I moved on to the trumpet, then I tried the tin whistle. When I was young my parents took me to the Port Fairy Folk Festival and bought me a tin whistle there. I made all sorts of random sounds on it. It wasn’t until I was about 16 that I tried to hone my skills on it and eventually, with enough practice, I learned to do all manner of things with it. I can also play the harmonica, I sing a bit, I’ve dabbled in trombone, saxphone, ukulele. Overall I can play about 6 to 7 instruments fairly competently and on top of that another 15 or so, average (very average).

Where do you do most of your singing?

I perform A Cappella with a barbershop quartet called Good Gravy. Our biggest performance was at Albury’s Carols by Candelight in 2019. We were pretty stoked with that performance. We’ve also busked regularly at the Farmer’s Market on Gateway Island as well as a few other gigs.

You busk late at night. Does that cause you any issues?

Not that I’ve experienced directly. Sometimes I’ll see a few fights but I’ve never been involved in them. One time someone started a brawl directly in front of me, in that situation there’s not much I can do except keep playing, or if it gets too close, just move out of the way. I did have to do that once, the police came and the guy was arrested.

Probably the worst I’ve had is a guy driving past winding down his window to yell: “Get a job you Hippie!”

Apart from the viral moment, what are some standout busking memories?

One night I was playing the song We Like To Party. Someone stood up on this little wall next to me and did a backflip, landing it perfectly, right on the chorus. So that was a highlight.

Another night I had my head down playing and when I looked up, Barry Morgan was standing right in front of me. I thought ‘OMG, it’s Barry Morgan!’

Barry Morgan is the character in Barry Morgan’s World of Organs, a stage show/comedy based on a fictional electronic organ salesman from Adelaide, portrayed by Australian musican and comedian Stephen Teakle.

So Barry Morgan was standing right there watching me fiddle on my organ (so to speak) and I was a bit starstruck for a moment, but thank goodness he complimented my playing.

What’s a great piece of advice you’ve been given in your lifetime?

Mum once gave me this advice – “you don’t have to be perfect, just be the best you can be.” That really stuck with me.

Also, one quote I read that really struck a chord with me was “if you want to conquer fear, don’t sit home and think about it, go out and get busy.”

I see you have an eftpos square – how do you find the reponse to that?

As for popularity, it’s paid itself off. I bought it on Halloween in 2017 and tips had paid for it within a couple of months. So some people definately will use it. If people don’t happen to have cash on them, it’s just a convenient option. I don’t pressure people, I just make sure they know it’s there.

If you could choose a lyric that sums up life for you, what would that lyric be?

Definately the first song that comes to mind is one by John Miles called ‘Music.’

“Music was my first love, and it will be my last. Music of the future, and music of the past. To live without my music, would be impossible to do, for in this world of troubles, my music pulls me through.”

What’s next for Jeremy Kerr?

This year, the very next thing I have planned is Australia Day. I’ll be conducting the Wodonga Brass Band for the first time ever. Our conductor is having surgery and she’s asked me to lead the band for the anthem and a few songs before the ceremony.

Also Good Gravy are looking to do a few bigger concerts during 2020 and I’ll also be performing as part of the orchestra for Monty Python’s Spamalot which is being presented by Livid Productions.

https://www.facebook.com/JezzaTheMusical/

https://www.facebook.com/goodgravyquartet/

Busker What’s Your Story? Rob Falsini

Rob Falsini

“Standout moments for me are when a strong connection with the audience is built. When that happens, busking is pure magic!”

Rob Falsini

At Busker What’s Your Story? we’re thrilled that acclaimed London busker Rob Falsini accepted our invitation to the blog to tell us a little more of his story. As well as those videos we’ve featured here, you’ll find loads more on YouTube of this amazing and versatile Covent Garden standout.

Tell us a little about your music career?

I moved to London from Rome in 2003 with the aim of becoming a professional musician. After just a few months, I was approached by Cirque du Soleil composer Benoit Jutras to be the lead singer in a massive show in Las Vegas called Le Reve by Franco Dragone, a gig I performed until 2008.

During that period I did more than 1000 shows and had the chance to sing for Sting, Celine Dion, Anastacia and many others.

I came back to London in 2008 to pursue a solo career, and (thanks to a viral video taken by a tourist in 2014) I was able to build a up a strong presence online and earned the opportunity to play gigs in Uk, Ireland, Canada, Spain, France, Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands, Morocco, Norway and Barhain.

I currently play gigs and busk regularly in Covent Garden in London. You’ll find me on social media as Robcoventgarden. 

What do you love about busking and what do you dislike about it?

Standout moments are when a strong connection with the audience is built, when that happens, busking is pure magic!

I like the idea that I have to start from zero, every single day.

The downside is certainly playing in bad weather conditions and occasionally dealing with annoying people.

If you could choose a lyric that sums up life for you, what would it be?

I honestly don’t know how to answer this one. I don’t think busking can be summed up by a lyric… Even though it seems to be the same activity, it does change every single time. 

Do you think busking can survive an increasingly cashless society?

It is gonna be tough! Unless a truly efficient card reader is made available, that is super fast and easy. But also, the mentality of the audience must change, they have to understand that if they don’t have cash, they can still donate. It is possible, but it’s not gonna be easy.

If you could change something on the streets, what would it be?

I would go back when the society wasn’t becoming cashless…

What’s next for Rob Falsini?

Who knows? LOL – that’s the beauty of this profession, anything can happen! I found most of my gigs through busking and the Chasing Cars video that went viral was only shot by a tourist, so you never know what to expect.

Have you ever busked in Australia?

No, unfortunately, never – (Well we’re waiting Rob!)

Rob is also an accomplished singer/songwriter. Here he is performing a soulful original called Christmas Lullaby that he wrote for his children.

https://www.facebook.com/Robcoventgarden-344397872309300/

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/artist/rob-falsini/id839167918



Busker What’s Your Story? Stefano Rosa

Image Credit: Alessandro Legrenzy

Stefano Rosa

“Everything that happens is totally sincere and true, whether it’s from me or from the people. Playing on the street creates a unique atmosphere, especially when little kids start dancing or jumping all over the place. They’re so funny and I’m really thankful to them for making this experience so rich in terms of emotions.”

Stefano Rosa

Thirty-two year old Stefano Rosa is an Italian musician who grew up in a small village in the north of Italy called Coccaglio in the province of Brescia. With a music teacher and choir director for a mother and a brother who played piano and composed music, it was no surprise when (at the age of 7) he followed in their path, learning classical, electric and acoustic guitar.

Stefano enjoyed success as a guitarist in the band Sunset Baby Dolls for 7 years, opening for a number of Italian and International artists. Since 2015 he has also performed as a soloist and street artist.

Busker What’s Your Story? reached out to Stefano to find out more about his busking experiences.

You grew up in Coccaglio – what are some childhood memories there?

I have beautiful and vivid memories of my childhood. Playing soccer with my friends all day long and everyday, listening to music for hours in my parents’ car while traveling, playing with my beloved dog in the garden and doing my homework in the kitchen with my brother playing the piano in the background.

What drew you to music?

My family is made up by three quarters of musicians, so it definitely did not happen by accident!
My Mother was always listening to Classical or songwriter’s music. At the age of 7 she started teaching me the basics of guitar and it all began from there.

What do you love or loathe about busking? What are some memorable moments?

I love the fact that I’m 100% free. I’m free to play wherever, whenever, however I want to (as long as I observe the cities’ regulations). Everything that happens is totally sincere and true, whether it’s from me or from the people. Playing on the street creates a unique atmosphere, especially when little kids start dancing or jumping all over the place. They’re so funny and I’m really thankful to them for making this experience so rich in terms of emotions.

I honestly don’t hate anything about busking. Maybe I could venture to say I don’t love carrying all the equipment around, especially during hot summers.

The most beautiful thing that happened to me while busking was a lovely old woman who put a 1€ coin on a wonderful embroidered silk handkerchief. How much meaning she put into that gesture! I also remember a sweet lady who came up to hug me while I was playing an Elton John song on the Nice promenade.

If you could choose a lyric from any song that is very special to you – what would that lyric be?

Chi aspetta sempre l’inverno per desiderare una nuova estate.
taken from “Lettera” by Francesco Guccini. It means: “Those who always wait for winter to wish for a new summer.”

Have you ever busked in Australia? 

No. Never. But I follow a bunch of Australian buskers on Instagram and I have to say that Australian buskers’ quality is extremely high! I also love to watch those beautiful landscapes such as beaches, piers on the ocean where they perform. I love it!

Do you think busking can survive an increasingly cashless society?

Buskers were born thousands of years ago. They started working in the oldest societies and they kept adapting to changes so I think this will happen tomorrow as well. Buskers in London already take contactless card payments. I think this system will soon spread to many other countries as well.

If you could change something you see on the streets – what would it be?

I wouldn’t change some thing on the street. I would change some people’s mindset. Often, little kids stop and stare at me singing, but their parents drag them away as if they have something essential to do on an ordinary Spring Sunday. These parents are teaching their kids not to enjoy music, or art in general, cause it is a waste of time. Mummy prefers to watch the Louis Vuitton bags in the shop windows. I really detest this behaviour. Damn! Your kid is loving listening to music, he’s enjoying staring at me, and it’s free. You don’t even have to give me a coin. Let him enjoy it!

What’s next for Stefano Rosa?

What’s next for me? Well, I’m trying to change something in my lifestyle, in my job and my leisure time. I would like to spend more time street performing and traveling.

I’ve bought a campervan which will let me live the life of a busker in a more complete and free way. I’d like to tour around Italy and Europe.

This year I will begin touring Po River from the source to the mouth. I’m ready for anything that’s waiting for me in the future.

https://www.facebook.com/stefanorosaofficial/

https://www.instagram.com/stefanorosa/