Homeless Los Angeles subway opera singer Emily Zamourka has performed her first gig since she went viral in a video captured in a subway station.
The 52-year-old singer performed at the unveiling of the Historic Little Italy sign in downtown San Pedro on Saturday before a live audience that praised her with uproarious applause.
The Russian-born singer only performed one song, the same Puccini aria she performed in the viral video she became famous for.
After her performance she thanked the audience for listening and raised awareness about the homelessness crisis in California.
Homeless LA opera singer Emily Zamourka, 52, performed at the unveiling of the Little Italy sign in San Pedro on Saturday
She performed the same Puccini aria she went viral for when an LAPD officer shared video of her singing in a Metro subway station
‘I’m so glad I could touch your hearts with my voice. thank you so much for ll this that’s happening right now, I really thank you, I’m so overwhelmed,’ she said in her speech Saturday
‘I’m so glad I could touch your hearts with my voice. thank you so much for ll this that’s happening right now, I really thank you, I’m so overwhelmed,’ she said.
‘I’m not a professional singer, but I’m very critical to how I’m going to sound or how I’m going to perform,’ she said to NBC after her performance.
‘It has to be delivered right. It’s not easy, so that’s why today I will apologize in front of everybody, because they probably thought I’m going to bring a [bigger] repertoire or something. It’s going to be the same song that they know me from the subway [for],’ she added.
Zamourka has been homeless in Los Angeles for two years but she skyrocketed to fame when an LAPD officer posted a video of her singing at a Metro Purple Line station in Koreatown on social media showing her singing the breathtaking aria on September 26.
She said she ended up in the streets after her violin, which she used to play in the streets for money, was broken by a vandal.
Zamourka has been homeless in Los Angeles for two years but she skyrocketed to fame when an LAPD officer posted a video of her singing at a Metro Purple Line station in Koreatown on social media showing her singing the breathtaking aria on September 26
She landed Saturday’s performing gig after LA City Councilman Joe Buscaino’s office hosted the Little Italy event and offered her the chance to sing. His office says they’re also working on finding her housing
The Russian born singer pictured at the singing at the Wilshire-Normandie station in Los Angeles
A GoFundMe page to help Zamourka get off the streets and get her a new violin has surpassed $72,000 towards the goal of $75,000
She landed Saturday’s performing gig after LA City Councilman Joe Buscaino’s office hosted the Little Italy event and offered her the chance to sing. His office says they’re also working on finding her housing.
After her moment of viral fame, Grammy-nominated producer Joel Diamond announced he wanted to sign a record deal with her.
‘I actually wrote a deal memo to her and I don’t even know her,’ Diamond, the CEO and president of Silver Blue Records said to Good Morning America. ‘I’ve never done that my entire life. It’s crazy.’
He said he wants to produce a combination of classical plus electronic dance music with her and wants to title it Paradise.
‘I have two tracks ready to go that I’ve been holding. I didn’t have an artist so that’s like the perfect fit,’ he said.
Diamond has over 50 years in the music industry and notably helped launch David Hasselhoff’s music career, making him the largest music act in Germany.
A GoFundMe page to help Zamourka get off the streets and get her a new violin has surpassed $72,000 towards the goal of $75,000.
Zamourka moved from Russia to the US 24 years ago and ended up on the streets when she suffered serious health problems and had to pay for her medical bills.
The artist, who taught lessons in piano and violin, was forced to take up numerous jobs while busking to make ends meet.
Zamourka’s revealed that her life derailed two years ago when a vandal destroyed her violin, and with it her means of making money.
The down and out musician – who is not classically trained in singing – has been homeless ever since but sings in the subway because ‘it sounds so great’
She says was forced onto the streets two years ago when her $10,000 violin that she played on the streets for money was destroyed by a vandal. This image shows the moment after her violin was destroyed and Zamourka cries over her prized instrument
‘It was my treasure, and it was my income, too. It was everything,’ Zamourka said to ABC, adding the violin was worth $10,000.
She was performing on the street when a man grabbed the violin and ran off with it. Bystanders who were watching Zamourka play the instrument outside Clifton’s restaurant in downtown LA said they ran after the culprit. But he then threw the violin on the ground, destroying her prized instrument.
‘That’s when I became homeless. When I could not actually pay any of my bills and could not pay anymore of my rent,’ Zamourka said to NBC.
After the incident she played with an electric violin for some time, but then fractured her wrist when someone pushed her on the bus, and she hasn’t touched the instrument since.
‘This was a very horrible, bad thing to do and that’s the cause of me being where I’m at now,’ Zamourka said.
The down and out musician was then evicted from her house and has been homeless ever since. She now sleeps rough, using cardboard as a mattress in a parking lot.
Some friends said Ms Zamourka was classically trained in Russia but others have since called that into doubt.