Street Musician: My Music Has Saved People's Lives

Talented musicians perform during virtually every waking hour on streets, subway cars and underground, all over the world.

Nicknamed “buskers,” street musicians each have a unique story about their musical aspirations.  

Asher Korycka, an intern for INSIDE EDITION, spoke to musicians trying to make a living performing in the streets. The impact they’ve had on people’s lives has been profound.

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“I’ve had people come up to me and say they wanted to commit suicide,” revealed jazz musician Delfin Tardio. “My music gave them a clear head, and now they don’t want to commit suicide anymore.”

Arlethia Lindsey, who sings gospel music, has had similar experiences. She revealed that people have told her that her music lifted their spirits from a very dark place.

For the past 10 years, Lindsey has been singing with Music Under New York, which manages music for the commuting public since 1985. She has traveled the world performing for commuters who hire her.

She said that one of the most rewarding aspects of performing is the direct impact she has on her audience, rather than the financial reward. “If I were doing it for the money, I would be doing something else,” she admitted.

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Some of the musicians do see considerable financial reward. Tony Bonse began performing recently and said he’s seeing profitable returns come in, especially when he plays a Bach classic. Bonse told Korycka that within seven hours, he once earned $170.

For over 20 years, Gonzalo Silva has been playing bass guitar for passing commuters as his only source of income. He’s even trying to bring his music mainstream, pitching it to music, movies and TV producers.

“I was inspired while attending Berklee College of Music in Boston, by Mary Lou Lord, who busked until she was picked up by a major record label,” said Silva.

While the money goes in ebbs and flows, there is one thing for many of them that’s lasting: the positive impact they have on the people they play for in streets around the world.

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