Chances are you walk past buskers everyday but next time you do, it may be worth stopping at listening for a second because it may not be long before you’re paying to see them in concert. Some of the biggest artists today started out busking on the streets and on public transport before they were discovered.
Here are six stories that particularly stand out to us.
The Pierce Brothers
Aussie duo The Pierce Brothers come from humble beginnings as street buskers. Before they started releasing music professionally, the Melbourne brothers were taking over the streets of their city with their music. They would sell CDs while busking and they even took their talents interstate. Now, they’ve had top 10 records here and tour the country with a bit more than they did when they started busking. Their new EP My Tired Mind is out next Friday, 17th November but they’ve already delivered one of the tracks Follow Me Into The Dark.
Ed Sheeran is now one of the most famous musicians in the world but he started out as a busker. Sheeran spent time homeless before his career took off, busking on the streets by day and sleeping in the subway by night. Nowadays, he still travels as a one-man band but his audiences are a bit bigger (way bigger) and he has a few more of his own tunes up his sleeve. This year he released Divide, his latest album, topping the charts all around the world.
Passenger AKA. Mike Rosenberg has had number one albums in countries all around the world but it’s something he didn’t expect when he started out on the streets. He reckons that busking helped prepare him for touring and playing in front of huge audiences though. “You spend thousands of hours playing on the street, and if you can play on the street, you can play anywhere,” he told All Music.
Chances are you may have heard Benjamin Clementine play on the streets of Paris without even knowing if you visited the city before he hit the big time. He was discovered on the streets and has since gone on to win a Mercury Prize for his record At Least For Now and earlier this year he collaborated with Gorillaz.
Kim Churchill won the Bluesfest busking competition back in 2009 and has returned to the iconic Byron Bay festival multiple times since as a professional musician. Even though he’s technically graduated from busking, Churchill still hits the streets to busk from time to time and even did so this year off the back of his latest record weight_falls.
Tash Sultana is about to embark on her biggest tour of Australia yet in huge venues but there was a time when she was playing to few. After being unable to lockdown a regular job Sultana started busking on the streets of Melbourne. She also started filming her bedroom performances on a GoPro and uploading them on YouTube. Some of her earliest videos now have over one million views.