A homeless woman in Los Angeles went viral after a video of her singing opera in a subway station was posted on social media. Now she has her own recording contract.
What's the story?
On Sept. 26, the LAPD's Twitter account posted a video of the woman singing "O Mio Babbino Caro" ("oh my dear Papa") by Puccini.
The woman, Emily Zamourka, told the Los Angeles Times that she was nervous when the LAPD officer had asked her if he could take a video of her while she was singing.
"I told him, 'Please don't do it.' I felt intimidated," she told the paper. "What do you expect with a police officer taking a picture of you?"
The video currently has one million views on Twitter.
4 million people call LA home. 4 million stories. 4 million voices...sometimes you just have to stop and listen to… https://t.co/U0A3yXe5Zs— LAPD HQ (@LAPD HQ)1569554536.0
One twitter user, Kara Miller, mentioned in the comments that she recognized the woman. "I've seen her for years on the Metro. I heard her once singing "Ave Maria" and thought it was a radio at first. Everyone has a story...this woman does too. I don't know why she's been homeless all these years, but she's a human being...that's all that matters," she wrote.
@LAPDHQ I’ve seen her for years on the Metro. I heard her once singing “Ave Maria” and thought it was a radio at fi… https://t.co/dKrX0nGNTR— Kara Miller (@Kara Miller)1569687957.0
Zamourka told the Times that she had learned how to sing opera from TV, by watching performances during her childhood in Russia. She said that she had come to the U.S. when she was 24 and worked at a restaurant and nursing home as she learned English. Later she taught piano lessons.
However, medical issues and bills soon left her without options. She played a violin to try to earn more money, but someone grabbed it and broke it. Then she lost her apartment.
But thanks to the viral video, people have donated thousands to Zamourka through GoFundMe pages, and she was invited to sing at the opening of Little Italy in the San Pedro community of Los Angeles.
On Wednesday, TMZ reported that Grammy-nominated music producer Joe Diamond had seen the video and offered Zamourka a recording contract with Silver Blue Records.