Image Credit: Lewis Warner
“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
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.