Cambridge Busking Singer: Lucy Black

Lucy Black is certainly a musical being. When I heard her singing at the Cambridge Buskers and Street Performers Festival I actually put my camera down (OMG this from the woman who refused to put her camera away in caves, jungles and city traffic).

I’m telling you it’s true though, after snapping a few photos though I decided I wanted to experience the grace of the voice before me without interruption.

Black’s has been singing most of her life, with singing lessons starting when she was teenager. She performed at university for part of her degree and plays the cello, piano, recorder and ukulele.

Sprouting from classical singing she’s branched into a variety of new music genres—including musical theatre/classical crossovers—under the tutorage of a new vocal coach.

This talented woman only started bringing opera music to the streets in June last year.

“I hadn’t really thought about it much before, but then I started seeing more and more people doing it and I thought I would give it a go and see what happened,” she said.

Her favourite classical song to busk with is “O Mio Babbino Caro”.

“It’s a difficult one for me to sing while busking because of the vocal range, so it’s slightly more challenging!”

However, she also loves singing “Hallelujah” and “On My Own” from Les Misérables.

Fun fact: Did you know that Hallelujah was written and originally performed by a Canadian singer-songwriter named Leonard Cohen ??? 

… sorry my patriotism kicked in when I saw that.

Back to Lucy Black.

Looking for a chance to gain some publicity and become more proactive about her career—Black began busking.

Busker Fest-21

And she fell in love with the freedom of the activity.

“I enjoy busking because it gives me the opportunity to sing all the time, any day I want, instead of doing any other job that I wouldn’t enjoy as much. I get lots of positive feedback from it and meet so many interesting people,” said Black.

“I love visiting new places as well, and getting to sing around the country. It also gives me the chance to earn money singing, enabling me to finance my career.”

Her favourite thing about singing on the streets is the fact that she can talk to her audience. Digging through her collection of favourite conversations she came back to me with her most memorable:

“A recent one that springs to mind was while I was in St. Albans last month, and a man was sitting near me listening for quite a while,” said Black.

“Eventually he came over to speak to me because he wanted to let me know that he had had a horrible day at work and he had just come out for a break, but while he was listening to me, it had made it all go away and he wanted me to know that.”

Busker Fest-20

While she busks in her free time she also sings professionally at weddings and events. In fact the busking often helps her gather bookings.

For her, singing at events doesn’t always have the benefits of busking.

“I don’t always get paid for doing these and get a much shorter time slot. I don’t always get as much feedback from the public as I do while I’m singing in the streets.”

To the newbies out there considering whether to busk or not, Black says GO FOR IT!

“It’s a great way to improve your performance skills and your confidence. It’s also a great way to try new songs out and meet people while doing it.”

She suggests visiting as many different places as possible. One must always be prepared to talk to the public and other buskers too.

Allison’s insert of encouragement: It’s not too hard to talk about something you love is it?

Network, network, network and make new contacts, added Black.

Of course the golden rule is:

Make sure you enjoy it.

UPDATE: Lucy now has recordings of her singing available! You can buy her CD online or the next time you see her!

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