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Londoner Matt Jones has played on pavements for 20 years. He loves the fact he can choose his working hours – four to five hours a day, he boasts – and doesn’t answer to a boss.

He plays classic, crowd-pleasing guitar songs.“It’s not going to make you rich, but it pays more than minimum wage,” he says.

“If you’re planning on practising in your bedroom anyway, you may as well get paid for it. Certain spots are more profitable than others.

I play Charing Cross and at busy Oxford Circus.”Indie-rock singer-songwriter Wilfy Williams wants to “sell as many records as Shakin’ Stevens or James Morrison”, both famous former buskers.

 He moved from Portsmouth to play to London commuters three years ago.

“My main spot is Piccadilly in the evening, so I get to play for tens of thousands of people a week,” he says.

“While I’m not a rock star, I’m about as close as you can be without a record deal.”

For Williams, it’s all about the music, but in order to survive, he admits that he needs to make £30 a day from passers-by.

“If I’m having a bad money day, I’ll knock out Wonderwall (by Oasis), but I try and avoid it.”

 He accepts record deals only go to the best, so artists have to find other avenues to get their music heard. 

“This is the practice makes perfect route,” he says.

“Right now I’m like a seed on the ‘Underground’. I’m practising every day getting better and better, but when I’m ready I’m gonna burst outta here.”

 

Where to start

Become so good you’d be willing to give yourself money. The only way to get there is practice.  

Tailor your act to busking – pack light and choose material that works with less accompaniment.

Email busking@tube.tfl.gov.uk to book an audition slot. If they like you, you’ll get a licence.

 

Hear our Buskers

Throw them some coins on the Tube or have a sneak peek here:

Yoko Hallelujah: myspace.com/yokohallelujah

Jamie West: jamiewest.net  

Wilfy: facebook.com/wilfyw

 

Photos: TfL; Jamie West; TNT


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Merry money making: Christmas is boom time for buskers on London's Tube and streets
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