Busker What’s Your Story? Sunny Acc’s

Sunny Acc’s

I mainly busk in my hometown of Munich. Busking in Germany is quite different compared to busking in Australia. There are strict rules in Germany for buskers. For example, you’re not allowed to busk amplified, it’s quite a big process you have to go through to get a permit and there are only a few spots to busk in the city centre. But still I really enjoy it.”

Sunny Acc’s

Sunny’s Facebook profile says she’s just a small town girl, singing in a lonely world. We wanted to find out more about this 22 year old singer/songwriter and street performer from Germany.

Sunny was born in the Bavarian Capital of Munich but her busking adventures began right here in Australia in Melboune in 2015.

What brought you to Australia?

When I finished school, and after that an apprenticeship as a bilingual assistant, it didn‘t feel right to start working straight away. So my boyfriend and I decided to take a year off to explore Australia and also to improve our language skills. Which (thinking back now) was the absolute right thing to do. 

What are some memorable moments from busking in Australia and Germany?

I guess the most memorable moment in Australia was my first busking day. I was really  nervous with just my voice and my guitar. But I started to really enjoy it after the first few songs. So my boyfriend noticed that and went straight off to buy a microphone and an amp to make it a little more professional. That was a very big step at that time and I think that also set the stone for where I am now. 

In Germany it was very special for me to busk in front of my family and friends for the first time. They couldn’t see me busking in Australia, so I really enjoyed showing them my passion for street music first hand. 

Where do you busk in Germany? How does the busking experience differ in Germany to what it is like in Australia?

I mainly busk in Munich. Busking in Germany is quite different compared to busking in Australia. There are strict rules in Germany for buskers. For example you’re not allowed to busk amplified, it’s quite a big process you have to go through to get a permit and there are only a few spots to busk in the city centre. But still I really enjoy it. 

The best thing about busking in Australia is that you’re allowed to use an amplifier. That makes it so much easier to be heard amongst heaps of people walking the streets and it really gives you the feeling of being on a stage. 

What do you like most about busking?

The street is my stage. That’s what I really like about busking.

I can play my music for a lot of people and the ones who enjoy it will stay and listen. That way I can reach a lot of people and also practice my performance.

Also, you meet a lot of inspiring people and other street artists.

Do you always feel safe busking on the streets? Have you had any worrying moments?

I feel safe, as my boyfriend is with me most of the time to watch out. If that wasn’t the case, it would be different. There are situations that you don’t want to face alone. 

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

That’s a hard question! There are a lot of songs with great lyrics. But if I had to choose one right now, it would be: ‘We‘re just one big family and it‘s our godforsaken right to be loved” (it’s from “I‘m yours” by Jason Mraz). I always feel connected to that line when I play that song myself. 

What is your real name? What’s something interesting about you?

Sunny is actually the short form of my real name Susanna. And Acc’s is just a short form of ‘acoustics’ as I usually play acoustic music. 

Something interesting about me? Let me think. Is working full time as a musician interesting? I think so.

Tell us a little about your original music.

I would describe my own music style as a futuristic singer songwriter.

I’m currently working on my first studio album and I’m really excited to show the world in the next few weeks.

I write about inspiring moments or people. I get most of my inspiration when I’m in nature. There’s something calm and peaceful about it. 

What’s a great piece of advice you’ve been given and who gave you that advice?

The best advice my parents gave me was to trust my gut and follow my instincts. It’s better to try and fail than not to try at all.

What’s next for Sunny Acc’s?

Well, first I’m working on finishing my studio album and then of course, I will release it.

After that, I’ll see what life has to offer. I definitely want to go back to Australia one day. Until then, I’ll keep on practicing and working on my music.

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

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/sunny.accs_music/

YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSxE5Jr7ayv3P0H-fPjSH5A

Busker What’s Your Story? Eliza May

Eliza May

“I love the line ‘I am one step heavy and two steps high’ in the song ‘Without You’, by Oh Wonder.  I see it as such a positive line.  To me it means that even when things go wrong, there’s more good in the world than bad.”

Eliza May

Eliza May is a young singer/songwriter from Birmingham UK and a Popular Music graduate from Falmouth University.

Eliza’s passion for performing saw her begin her busking adventure around 5 years ago in Birmingham. Eliza then moved to Cornwall to study music where she says busking was an enjoyable way to help fund her studies and hone her craft.

“Around my studies, I managed to find time to visit other musician friends who lived in Liverpool and took the opportunity to busk there as well.  It was a great experience, busking all around the UK; it allowed me to meet lots of new people and get my music out to different parts of the country,” she says.

There is a chilled indie pop vibe to Eliza’s original music which she says takes inspiration from artists such as Corinne Bailey Rae, Tori Kelly, Skinny Living and Frank Turner. She has released four singles on Spotify and an EP titled Inner Damage on Soundcloud.

Eliza continues to busk and is also gigging regularly around Birmingham and other areas of the UK as a solo artist with her full band.

We’ve invited Eliza to Busker What’s Your Story? to find out a little more about her experiences as a busker.

You grew up in Birmingham, what can you tell us about your childhood there?

I spent a lot of my time focused on music. From the age of 3, I started singing along to Avril Lavigne and picked up the guitar at the age of 6.  

Growing up, I realised that I loved everything about music and spent my childhood immersed in it.  I’ve always had a passion for singing and learning instruments,  any instrument I could get my hands on and learn to play.

How much time would you spend busking?

When I was in Birmingham, I’d often busk at least two or three times a week and when I was studying in Cornwall, I’d busk once or twice a week.

Can you share some memorable moments?

I think the best moments when busking are when other people can get involved with the experience.  

In 2017, I used to busk with an amazing musician called Amelia Wallace.  One of my favourite most memorable moments was when we were singing together in front of a large circle of people and a woman stepped forward, into the middle, and started dancing which made the crowd cheer and clap.  It was one of the most wholesome moments I’ve experienced busking.  

Another great memory is of a Spanish man who came over and asked to play a song. I said yes and he sang the original version of Despacito flawlessly.  It was such a great performance of the song; everyone was so impressed that they started clapping and cheering.

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

I love the line “I am one step heavy and two steps high” in the song Without You by Oh Wonder.  I see it as such a positive line.  To me it means that even when things go wrong, there’s more good in the world than bad.

What’s something really interesting about you?

Well, along with being an artist, I also do a lot of community music work around the West Midlands.  

This involves working with people of all ages and abilities, including people with mental health and physical disabilities, to help get them involved with music.  

I have a strong passion for helping people get into music, no matter what experience they have. I love working in these settings because I see how much of a positive impact each project has on the people involved.

We love your collaboration with Nath Brooks called ‘Reach’ what can you tell us about that?

Nath Brooks is an upcoming singer songwriter that I met on a songwriting project at The Song Lab in Birmingham a couple of years ago.  We wrote the song “Reach” whilst on the songwriting project and near the end of 2019 managed to find the time to record it.  

We made a live video of it for his YouTube series “Brumtown and Around” which aims to showcase collaborations of people in and around Birmingham, UK.

What’s next for Eliza May?

At the moment, I’m working on my second upcoming EP.  Last year I finished writing all the songs for it; now I’m in the process of jamming out the songs with my band and then we’ll be in the recording studio laying down each track.  

I also plan on playing more full band gigs.  Last year I managed to play two massive shows with my band but this year I want to play a few more.  I can’t wait for the spring/summertime as well, so I can get back to busking on the streets.  One of my goals this year is to be busking more in London, so hopefully that’s where I’ll be next.

Facebook ~ https://www.facebook.com/ElizaMayOfficial/

Instagram ~ https://instagram.com/elizamayofficial

Twitter ~ https://twitter.com/elizamaymusic

Spotify ~ https://open.spotify.com/artist/4Pbpr3htIU9fvBsn2bPYno?si=lckxc2lmSLaHvRluoOgHEQ

Soundcloud ~ https://soundcloud.com/eliza_may

YouTube ~ https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdZurXjn7wa_ixwduWnqqOA

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? 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/

Busker What’s Your Story? Toledo, 2019

Don Quixote Street Performer Toledo, Spain

“When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be too practical is madness. To surrender dreams — this may be madness. Too much sanity may be madness — and maddest of all: to see life as it is, and not as it should be!”

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

Who could resist this brave and quirky human as she delivers her Don Quixote monologue.

She clip clopped her way on her imaginary steed up the cobblestone streets of the ancient city of Toledo, Spain. We were so along for the ride!

Her sign says “unemployed”.

We hope her egg carton armour and cheeky sense of humour will shield her against the odds.

Today we saw life as it is, and not as it should be!

Busker What’s Your Story? Flamenco Dancer, Seville

“The dancer’s trembling heart must bring everything into harmony, from the tips of her shoes to the flutter of her eyelashes, from the rustles of her dress to the incessant play of her fingers. Shipwrecked in a field of air, she must measure lines, silences, zigzags and rapid curves, with a sixth sense of aroma and geometry, without ever mistaking her terrain. In this she resembles the torero, whose heart must keep to the neck of the bull. Both of them face the same danger–he, death; and she, darkness.”

Federico Garcia Lorco/Poet from In Praise of Antonio Merce

In the exquiste city of Seville, the crowd are enchanted by a graceful dancer in traditional Flamenco costume.

Busker What’s Your Story?

She is beauty, she is grace, she is queen.

Busker What’s Your Story? Harpist at Royal Palace, Madrid

Harpist, Royal Palace, Madrid

“And he played on a harp of a thousand strings. Spirits of just men, made perfect.”

Henry Teliaferro Lewis

In the fading light of early evening, outside Madrid’s Royal Palace, a pony tailed Spaniard is sat upon a rich red carpet, ringed in ivy.

The crowd listen in awe as he plucks skillfully at the strings of his spellbinding harp.

Busker What’s Your Story?

We’re too mesmerised to ask, but we know it reeks of romance.

Spanish musician plays the harp outside Madrid's Royal Palace