NEW YORK -- It’s something Chris Leamy has been doing for nearly two years. The musician finds a busy sidewalk or a bench somewhere in New York City and then he plays his heart out for tips.
The thing is – the singer isn’t homeless, he’s simply using his talent to help those who feel neglected.
“I think that’s something a lot of homeless people say,” he told PIX11 News. “They say they feel forgotten. People just walk on by and I was guilty of that.”
Leamy moved to the Big Apple six years ago, looking to make it big in the music industry. He would constantly run into homeless people and it was one interaction that changed everything.
“I was coming home late one day on the subway and this woman who was less fortunate and was panhandling,” he recalled. “She looked at me and said ‘oh this would be a whole lot easier if I had one of those’ and she pointed at my guitar case.”
“She said people with a talent tend to do better on the street, which makes a lot of sense to me. “
After that, Leamy decided to play for those who couldn’t, passing along 100% of the tips to them he received.
“A lot of these people are so scared that a few of them think I’m trying to take advantage of them,” Leamy said, describing how he has to gain the trust of those he performs for. “Like everyone is waiting for the other foot to drop.”
“It’s like ‘wait you’re gonna sit here and play with me and any of the money we make, I keep – what’s in it for you?’”
What the musician got, was perspective.
He’s spreading the message of kindness and he’s doing that on the streets and on social media with the hashtag #HePlaysForMe.
“I’ve gotten messages from many different countries from all over the world,” he said. “People have been incredibly kind and i’m grateful.”
In what could best be described as the pay-off for paying it forward, Leamy landed a distribution deal late last year with Sony Red.
His first music video “American Man” features Miguel Correa – a man he helped get off the streets, raising over $4,000 for.
It further proves that a simple gesture can go a long way.
“It’s a very easy thing to do,” Leamy said. “If you happen to play an instrument, go sit next to someone you don’t know and see how it goes.”
Leamy’s new EP “The American Man” drops on September 16. To pre-order a copy, visit his website. http://chrisleamymusic.com/home