Musician Gets Record Deal After Busking on the Streets and Giving Earnings to the Homeless
This New Yorker spends his time playing guitar on the streets and giving his tips to the homeless. Never did he think karma would repay his generosity with an equally generous distribution deal with a major label.
Chris Leamy, 29, told InsideEdition.com his life changed one night nearly two years ago, when he was taking the subway home late one night.
"I was carrying my guitar [and] this woman stopped me," Leamy said. "She was less fortunate, panhandling, and she said, 'It would be a lot easier if I had one of those,' and pointed to my guitar kit."
Leamy, who works in finance, spent the following weekend performing on the streets alongside homeless people, and offering them whatever he earned in tips.
"Along the way I really heard inspiring stories from people that I didn't expect," Leamy said. "I heard incredible words of wisdom, it was incredible how kind they were, how giving."
He eventually went on to busk on the streets of New York every week for the next two years.
"It's so easy to be caught up in the rat race that is New York City," he said. "The reason I kept doing this is because it's a constant reminder for me to keep grounded."
Through his project, #HePlaysForMe, Leamy was able to raise more than $10,000 for The Bowery Mission in New York, and also help individuals living on the streets with "small acts of kindness." He said for 15 minutes of music, he can often make an average of $15 in tips, none of which he keeps for himself.
He also attracted the attention of Sony's RED, where he signed a distribution deal for his upcoming music video, "American Man," which retells many of the themes he's learned while playing guitar and helping homeless people earn a few bucks.
In fact, one man Leamy remained friends with after playing music beside him, Miguel, was also featured in the music video.
Leamy said that when they recorded the music video earlier this summer, Miguel didn't have direction. He hoped being in the music video would help him find his way, or at least garner enough sympathy for him that he would be able to find a job and a place to live.
But since the video was shot, Leamy said Miguel was able to find a home, and even a job at a nearby Dairy Queen with a generous donation of $500 through a charity campaign Leamy was running with The Bowery Mission.
"To see it on the other side of it now where he's on his own, it's kind of cool," Leamy said. "It shows how the process has helped."