Homeless Opera Singer Gives First Stage Performance After Going Viral

by : Lucy Connolly on : 07 Oct 2019 10:52
Homeless Opera Singer Gives First Stage Performance After Going ViralHomeless Opera Singer Gives First Stage Performance After Going ViralLAPDHQ/Twitter/CBS Los Angeles

A homeless opera singer who went viral after footage of her incredible talent was shared by an LAPD officer has performed on stage for the first time.


Emily Zamourka, 52, became an internet sensation towards the end of last month when she was filmed singing in the Koreatown Metro station in Los Angeles, belongings and trolley in tow.

Now, less than two weeks later, the Russian-born singer has showed off her talents at a historic ‘Little Italy’ celebration in San Pedro, after being invited to perform by politician and Councilman Joe Buscaino’s office.

You can watch Zamourka’s most recent performance below:


As reported by CBS Los Angeles, before performing on stage on Saturday night (October 5), Zamourka was followed from her hotel to the event by her fans and media from around the world.

Speaking after the event, the 52-year-old said performing was a way to show people who she really is – although she hasn’t forgotten the pain of the past few years.

She explained:

This is my chance of telling people the real me, who I was the whole time. People took me the wrong way every time they saw me on the buses, on the trains anywhere.

A lot of people (literally) beat me up. And they were thinking of me, different. Every time I felt so hurt.

Before the video filmed by an LAPD police officer went viral, Zamourka said she often felt despised by passersby on the street – having been made homeless three years ago when a thief stole her violin and robbed her of her livelihood as a street performer.

The video, which has been retweeted more than 6,400 times on Twitter since being posted on September 27, prompted thousands to applaud her ‘amazing’ and ‘beautiful’ voice.

Many wondered whether Zamourka was a professional opera singer, although this was quickly rebutted by the 52-year-old, who insisted she had not been trained in opera singing.


She said, as per NBC Los Angeles:

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. It has to be delivered right.

It’s not easy, so that’s why today I will apologise 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].

Homeless singer offered recording contractHomeless singer offered recording contractLAPDHQ/Twitter

Zamourka now hopes more jobs will arise from this opportunity, saying she’s ‘ready to work’, adding: ‘I’m already working, and it feels great.’

The singer hopes her story will remind people to be kind to everyone they see, particularly the vulnerable. ‘Every homeless person deserves to be seen, deserves a chance,’ she added.

Congratulations to Emily, and I can’t wait to see where her talents will take her in the future.

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Lucy Connolly

A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).

Topics: Life, Homelessness, LAPD, Los Angeles, Music, Opera, Viral


CBS Los Angeles and 1 other
  1. CBS Los Angeles

    From Homeless Subway Singer To Toast Of The Town, It’s Been A Wild Week For Emily Zamourka

  2. NBC Los Angeles

    Viral LA Subway Singer Performs at Little Italy Celebration