“Why would I get a job when busking earns me £100 a day?”

Music school drop out turns his hand to busking on the streets of Sheffield to make a living and earns himself £25 an hour.

Olly Manning has dropped out of Music school, been a chef, a guitar teacher and played in a band, but since October 2011 he has been busking on a street corner in Sheffield City Centre. Olly, who is a lover of the 60’s and 70’s era has made over £100 a day pursing his hobby.

Olly said, “I had just moved back from Leeds. I was in between jobs and had little money so I decided to have a go at busking. Earning £50 in two hours was the tipping point, after a week I decided that it would be my job.’

It took the musician who has been playing the guitar and singing since he was four three attempts to really start busking. Olly added, “ The first three times I didn’t play and came straight home. I waited for five minutes and my nerves got the better of me so I packed up my stuff and walked home.”

Although Olly loves to play music and has played sell out gigs with his band, he still doesn’t like people to sit and watch him. Olly said, “In Fargate, people like to sit and watch. This makes me feel uncomfortable, I prefer people to watch standing. Although the older people love it, they always give me money.”

Olly is now wise to the tricks of successful busking, he said, “After about a month I started to do sneaky thinks. I asked myself what would happen if I put a £10 note in my case, so I did and I got myself a £5 note.”

Olly is also familiar with the local drunks and other buskers around the city, he said, “One time I was forced into singing with the opera busker in the city centre it was a very bizarre situation but the drunks are the worst. If you let them say one word on the microphone then they take over and believe me- I learnt that the hard way.”

Although Olly now works in a school, his love of busking is still strong and you will catch him busking most Saturdays outside Halifax in Fargate. Olly added, “I know that I wouldn’t be happy if I was doing something more predictable. I like that I can rely myself and perpetuate being a better musician whilst making money.”

Olly’s top busking tips.

  1. Don’t be afraid to be bad. You will only be good if you can be ok with being bad.
  2. Only play things you like. If you don’t you wont enjoy it then there is no point.
  3. Notice things that seem to work. For example song choices at certain times and certain places
  4. You have to be willing to get it wrong-that is how you get it right!
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