LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — An impromptu performance at a Metro Purple Line station put singer Emily Zamourka on the world’s radar — garnering millions of views and countless news stories.
But now, Zamourka is telling her own story.
The classically trained violinist and pianist moved to the United States from Russia 30 years ago. She made a living by teaching music lessons, but she began to have serious health issues and later racked up huge medical bills which forced her to work several jobs just to make ends meet.
To make extra cash, Zamourka played her violin in the streets to make extra cash, but her $10,000 instrument was stolen a few years ago.
Unable to pay her rent and bills, Zamourka became homeless — sleeping on cardboard as a mattress in a parking lot.
Without an instrument, she performed for subway commuters with something that can’t be stolen from her — her enchanting voice.
“It sounds great when you’re in the subway,” she said. “It sounds beautiful.”
Not classically trained in singing, she sang in the subway and collected donations from people who heard her.
As for the Los Angeles Police Department officer who videotaped her performance, Zamourka said she was so grateful.
“He really changed my life,” she said. “I want to thank you so very much, because if he didn’t do what he did, I wouldn’t be here and people wouldn’t know about my talent.”
Zamourka said she hoped that all of this attention will help get her off the street and she said she hopes to learn how to sing professionally one day so she can be on a stage, instead of in a subway sharing her voice with the world.