6 Famous Musicians Who Started Out By Busking

by Tim Redford, Jan 2, 2018 . 3 min read

6 Famous Musicians Who Started Out By Busking

We all see street performers downtown and busking in high traffic public places, it’s a good way for musicians to make some money while sharpening their skills. Did you know that some of the world’s most famous musicians got their start as buskers?

B.B. King

BB King

King had a difficult life growing up. When he wasn’t at church or picking cotton in the fields, he would busk for extra change with simple 3 chord songs that he picked up from the radio and would sing along to them.

He developed a special kind of reach with his music that stayed with him from the streets all the way up into packed concert halls.

Glen Hansard

Glen Hansard singing on stage

An unlikely Oscar winner for his movie “Once” about a busker who starts a band and writes music with a girl he meets on the street. The story reflects his real life start busking on Grafton street in Dublin and all over Europe.

An example of how years of experience in front of a passing audience can give someone super powers of captivation on stage.

Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran

Sheeran began his career by travelling around the UK sleeping on couches, playing open mics, and busking everywhere he could find an audience who would listen. Eventually Jamie Foxx would come across him and invite him to play one at one of his house parties. He’s now known for having the most streamed song of all time on Spotify with “Shape of You”.

Jewel

Jewel singing on stage

Jewel spent a time living out of her van while travelling across the US playing on the streets and doing small gigs in coffee shops. Her music and songwriting took her all around the country, and eventually the world as a chart topping singer songwriter.

Beck

Beck performing on stage

Beck deserves an award for the most varied music one artist has brought into the world. Everything from weird hip hop to experimental rock, his humble beginnings are in roots and folk music that he would play as a busker on street corners in L.A.

Tracy Chapman

Tracy Chapman with guitar

Tracy was such a natural in her early 20s that she scored a busking pass for the lucrative Harvard Square. A fellow student discovered her and happened to be the daughter of a record exec for a label called SBK. Her passion and persistence put her on track to being a celebrated songwriter in history.

Get Out There and Play

If you’ve had the urge to get out there and play your music in front of thousands of total strangers, not only is busking great practice, but as we can see from these examples it can be a possible doorway to a career with your music.

With your Roadie 2 tuner in your bag, you’ll be tuned up and ready in mere seconds.

Gather some courage and give it a try!

 



Get our free Alternate Tunings Guide!
Submit
Get Roadie Tuner

Check out some other similar articles

Today’s Roadie Spotlight series will introduce Adam Nitti, a world-renown bassist, music teacher, composer, and recording artist.

Randall Nashleanas
Aug 9, 2019 . 3 min read

Roadie Tuner has received much support from musicians all over the world, as they share their personal preferences and opinions on how they use Roadie products.

Frederik Nielsen
Jul 10, 2019 . 2 min read

While it’s true that the music industry can often seem like a young person’s game, there are more than a handful guitarists who made it later in life.

Frederik Nielsen
Jul 4, 2019 . 3 min read

Western and non-western civilizations across the globe contain a plethora of various genres of music. Although these cultures aren’t universally on the same page – music is the universal language.

Randall Nashleanas
Jun 21, 2019 . 5 min read

Ice-T is a legend. Not only can he claim to be the Godfather of Gangsta Rap, but he’s also very convincing as a TV cop.

Frederik Nielsen
Jun 11, 2019 . 3 min read

The beauty of being a musician is that the only musician you can be…is you. Jimi Hendrix left-handedly pioneered blues and rock guitar styles of playing with a head full of lucy.

Randall Nashleanas
Jun 10, 2019 . 3 min read

Happy Father’s Day! Hopefully you’ve got a really cool present (like a Roadie 2) from your kids,

Frederik Nielsen
Jun 9, 2019 . 4 min read

The variety of guitars available goes far beyond acoustic or electric. From its humble beginnings as a lute,

Natalie Hagen
Apr 13, 2019 . 1 min read

We have received a lot of love from Roadie fans over the past years, so we thought we would give some back. We’ll put the

Frederik Nielsen
Mar 11, 2019 . 2 min read

Although women by no means are under-represented in the music industry, female instrumentalists are not quite as common as we’d like them to be –

Frederik Nielsen
Mar 7, 2019 . 4 min read

Grunge is not dead! It’s been almost three decades since the heyday of ‘90s grunge. But, grunge bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam

Alec Plowman
Mar 1, 2019 . 3 min read

One more time then! We’ve already outlined six of the best albums of 2018 in the previous entries to this series. But, the party ain’t over yet!

Alec Plowman
Feb 21, 2019 . 4 min read

This week, “Vicious,” the new record from Halestorm has featured heavily on the Roadie office playlist. If you’ve

Alec Plowman
Aug 10, 2018 . 3 min read

Musicians like Joni Mitchell are a dying breed. Although I’m not big on folk myself, I have a soft spot for Joni.

Frederik Nielsen
Aug 8, 2018 . 3 min read

We’re huge fans of Alter Bridge guitarist Mark Tremonti here at Roadie. Not just because of his prolific use of alternate tunings

Alec Plowman
Jul 24, 2018 . 3 min read

Few groups can claim a half-century of excellence in the field of rock and roll. But The Who is one of them.

Alec Plowman
Jun 26, 2018 . 3 min read

“It’s not about the money, money, money.” But yes it is, Jessie J, yes it is. This week in music has been mostly focused on how little money

Frederik Nielsen
May 31, 2018 . 3 min read

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the death of Chris Cornell. We’re still reeling from the loss

Alec Plowman
May 17, 2018 . 3 min read

These days, keeping a guitar in tune is easier than ever. There is an abundance of digital guitar tuners,

Alec Plowman
May 13, 2018 . 3 min read

Brian Eno may very well be the best ambient music creator of our time. At the very least, he stands

Evan Ceretti
May 8, 2018 . 3 min read
We'll be bringing you recommended tabs and plenty of interesting quotes from guitar legends along the way!