Some might say that busker Symon’s story is something Simon Cowell wishes he could have dreamed up, but for the former City worker the journey from accounts executive at Thomson Reuters to celebrated busker has been one with definite challenges but an overriding sense of positivity.
The Royal College of Music graduate always understood the technicalities of music, but knew he didn’t fully grasp the depth of the artform. While he gigged throughout his 15 years in the City, it was only when he busked from necessity that he learnt the true power of music.
Having stepped away from his day job in order to become a full time carer for his son Andre, who had been diagnosed with the very rare condition Juvenile Dermatomyositis (JDM). Symon turned his attention back to his music as a form of relief. Unable to work regular shifts, the flexibility of busking allowed him to earn money with the assistance of relief nurse and family helpers to look after Andre, and also maintain human contact outside his own family bubble.
Learning from the connection a busker can forge with the passer-by, Symon started testing his own material in front of an ever changing audience. Organically developing his skills as a performer and a songwriter, Symon’s career took a turn when he was spotted busking outside the offices of acclaimed ex-Polygram CEO, David Hockman, who was blown away by the uniqueness to his tone and joviality to his lyrics.
With Andre now in remission, Symon continues to busk as his main source of income, stating that he is not seeking the increased income that a return to the city would offer him. Choosing happiness and creativity, Symon is excited about the release of debut single ‘Cherry Tree’ on 25th September 2015. Composed on the London Underground, ‘Cherry Tree’ is a soulful metaphor for the moment couples meet at a specific time and place. Whether they continue to meet year after year or if their liaison proved fleeting, that moment of waiting in that special place will always remain cherished.
I recently had the chance to interview Symon with a Y and find out a little more about his journey and how Juvenile Dermatomyositis has affected family life . . .
1. Juvenile Dermatomyositis isn’t a condition I have ever heard of, can you tell me a little more?
JDM is a condition that affects 1 in 2 million children each year, it is very rare. Its an autoimune condition where the body attacks itself. I wanted to raise awareness more than anything as it is such an unknown complex condition about it and the impact that it has had on your family life?
Like most familes you just adapt really, life goes on and you do your best to face the scenario.
2. What made you decide to give busking a go?
I have always been involved in music but life and bills create obstacles, however I tried busking as it gave me an outlet, release and was a good way to do something I love and make a living.
3. Have you ever had any bad experiences when busking?
I cant say I have to be honest, The only issue is the weather, playing in the freezing winters is not to much fun.
4. I often dance along to buskers if their music grabs me. What is your happiest memory of busking?
My happiest memory is meeting David Hockman CEO of Polygram. I was discovered by him at a busy London Underground station.
5. Are you still busking now?
Yes I am still busking inbetween the rainfall, I actually love busking.
6. Who is your music idol?
To be absolutely honest, I dont really have one… I love Al Green because he attacks songs from a completely different angle to most so at a push I guess it would be him.
7. My Husband and I loved listening to Cherry Tree, it would sound great over one of my family Summer videos! What can you tell me about Cherry Tree?
Thank you, It is about the place that we all remember, where we first met someone who made a difference to our lives. A place that brings back memories.
8. What is your ultimate musical dream?
To sing for as long as possible, to make many albums and meet likeminded artists.
9. Other than music, what do you do to relax?
I like to people watch, I find that interesting and relaxing at the same time, I could spend hours doing this 🙂
Thank you for your time – Symon