November 6, 2013 | Posted in:tip

Everyone has seen the Jimmy Somerville busker video by now – or at least over 1.8 million YouTube visitors have seen it anyway. It’s cute. But I’m going to be a bit harsh, OK? Look at the singer before Jimmy turns up. I don’t know what you saw, but I saw a scruffy guy mumbling to the neck of his guitar. Jimmy Somerville vs A busker will be a very easy match to referee!

Jimmy Somerville busker on video

101 hits for buskers

Never leave home without this!

The video is a classic example of how NOT to busk if you want to get noticed or earn money (and both are cool by me).  The guy with the guitar is a compete turn-off. He looks scruffy and he’s mumbling to the neck of his guitar.

Busking is not easy – but either you do it or you dont. I have known musicians pick up €300 a day when they hit the right locations. Singer CB Milton was also noticed when he was singing on the streets of Barcelona (although admittedly he had had hits a few years before). BJ Scott was also discovered busking in Brussels.

Busking can work. But you are trying to engage with passers-by that in general resent you even being there. You have to catch their eye – nicely. In this case, he is struggling so much with his guitar (scratch-scratch two chords – come on!) that he can’t see who is there. I really wonder why someone bothered to film him.

Watch how Somerville lightens the song with more control in his distinctive falsetto. I don’t recommend singing like that (find out more here), but you do need to catch people’s ear. Give them a reason to notice you, and hopefully a good reason.

if you have any practical tips for busking, I’d really love if you could add them below!


  1. Marcia
    November 8, 2013

    Leave a Reply

    Aww, how cute!
    Okay, I don’t know Jimmy Somerville but I love his voice. Very generous of him to do that.
    Thanks for visiting my blog.

    • Michael
      November 8, 2013

      Leave a Reply

      Marcia, you might remember him as the singer of the British band Bronski Beat. They had a series of hits in the 80s/90s. I think this was their first one, “Smalltown Boy” (maybe I should check Wikipedia – oops, too late).

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