“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.
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