My Busking Stories (Pre-Covid era)

February 16, 2022




Hey guys!

So today I just wanted to share some of the most memorable moments I have had as a busker in Singapore. I wrote this post about three years ago thinking that this collection of memories would be very nice to look back upon.

Back then I was actively busking but as you know, Covid-19 rocked the world and everything has changed since then. Right now there is *some* busking activity - very controlled and limited ones in places like Scape or some trials behind a glass/plastic sheet but I have not been participating in any of these (I was too late). The busking community has rallied and tried to inject some life back into the scene but honestly it has been hard for everyone in the live entertainment industry. 

Well, let's delve into the post written about three years back! (Nov 2019)

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Just a little background, I got my busking license in 2018. I mostly busk at Paya Lebar Square but I have also busked outside Cathay too.

If you follow my Instagram, you may already know some of these stories. But I hope you enjoy these anyway.

  • Once an auntie stopped me halfway through singing to pass me an ice cream cone and milkshake from Macdonalds. Haha! Then I asked if I could sing any song for her, and we settled on a song dedication to 'Auntie Ali baba', with the song 'Mamma Mia' by ABBA. She clapped very loudly after the performance :) I quickly slurped up the ice cream before it melted - it actually did wonders for my throat and it was nice to have a break during the busking session!



  • The time when a five year old boy asked to sing. He looked very brave, but after a while he admitted that he was a little scared of performing in public. So his sister and his mum came to back him up! We sang 'Can You Feel the Love Tonight' from the Lion King, and also 修炼爱情 by JJ Lin.



  • Once a boy, clutching his P6 PSLE assessment books, hung around for quite some time, before coming up a few times to talk to me before literally running away. Haha. He told me things like, "You sing very nice", "When do you busk", and lastly, "I love you!" Haha that was very cute.

  • Singing outside Cathay was not the most pleasant as it was very dark, it drizzled, it was beside a busy road, and worst, there was another busker AND another event that hired performers on the same day. Was feeling quite discouraged that day, but later received hand-drawn fan mail from two teenagers who have continued to support me in my busking journey so far. Thank you!!



  • Teenagers are the most energetic of the lot! It was a quiet Tuesday night and I was just getting into the groove of things. I was busy trying to emote in the song 'The Climb', by Miley Cyrus, when suddenly I noticed a group of maybe 4-5 students waving their arms enthusiastically to my song, just like in a concert. They were smiling at me and at first I was thrown off because I thought I knew them (they looked a bit like my students, LOL).

    To my surprise they knew the words to the song (which I thought was only popular in my era) and I could see their mouths moving from a far distance. Later on the last chorus I said, "Let's sing together!" and they responded with squeals and from a distance I could hear them singing soooo loudly together. They said thank you and 加油 before leaving. Two of them came back with loose change and to tell me 加油 again! That's when I saw that they were from my secondary school! That was really fun.

  • One time I busked in a different location, in front of Cheers at Paya Lebar. The wind was really strong and money actually flew away!!! Kind strangers helped me chase after the notes. It was hilarious.

  • During mid-autumn, an uncle left me matcha mooncakes! Later he also suggested that I have a QR code and that's why I now have a QR code. This kind uncle has also came by on other occasions, leaving me pineapple tarts and other treats!

     

  • Fun fact, the months after CNY, I received many fresh, newly printed $2 notes,  most probably from angbao!!! 😂

  • Once, an old lady parked her grocery trolley at the side, took down her shawl, and to my surprise, starting dancing. We chatted a little bit and she danced to more songs like ' Sway'. Weeks later I got to know her as Auntie B and she told me that she lived alone and was depressed. She danced again, this time to the song ' Que Sera Sera' and 'Jingle Bells'. What touched me most was when she told me she had a good time. I look forward to meeting this auntie again!

  • When I sing Disney songs, little girls will gather around me with wide eyes, and giggle while they sing along. It's the cutest thing!! We are all princesses! I like to sing them songs from Frozen or Moana, though they also like Little Mermaid!

  • I usually busk near the entrance of Paya Lebar, so when I saw an uncle hobbling over, I did not make much of it. He shuffled his feet slowly with little steps, and my heart melted when I realised he was walking all the way just to give me $2. :')))))

  • My mum once came to watch me secretly from the side. LOL that was a huge surprise for me.

  • When I busk near Jollibee, many food deliverymen will park their bikes or e-scooters (now banned lol) nearby. One time they broke loudly into song with me on the chorus of 'Shallow' by Lady Gaga. I still laugh at this memory.

  • Someone once left me a paper bag of food and water! So sweet :') I must admit I thought it was Mcdonalds at first, and was very excited. Nope, it was something very healthy -an oats milkshake that I enjoyed - it became my dinner!


  • Two little kiddos, probably brothers, once danced and swayed along, and after they made the heart shape with their arms. ADORBZ!

  • Once someone came walking very intentionally to me, with a $50 note in hand. I was quite shocked but later he told me he just wanted to give me $2 (lol), so we gathered some notes to help him exchange his bill. LOL
There has been a lot of heartwarming (and funny) moments, and it's always nice to see people dancing and enjoying the music. Sometimes people stand in a corner, then later break into big smiles when they approach you and even give you words of encouragement. You never know what's coming next, the uncertainty of everything makes busking so unique!

Of course, not everything is rosy. Sometimes you get checked by policemen (so make sure you have your license), sometimes it rains, once an uncle told me something about pitch and whether I have found my own voice (lol I was butchering a Taylor Swift song), sometimes shop owners tell you to turn it down. But mostly it has been great (for me).

Just want to say a big thank you to everyone who has been supporting me thus far, you guys are the best! Thank you for sending me love on social media, or turning up IRL to catch my perfs! Some of you have come by multiple times, I want to say thank you for making time for me. Busking has opened quite a few doors for me as well, and I'm very grateful for that. 

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It's so strange reading something you've written a while back. I didn't post this when I wrote it back then because the memories were pretty fresh in my mind and I also posted them on the days I busked. 

Aww,  I really miss busking and making precious memories like these.

I have waited and waited for the rules to relax but you know that ain't happening soon in Singapore. I'm not too sure when busking will be allowed again, but for now I hope everyone is staying safe and I hope to see you soon ~! 

Love,
Skye

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