In late September of 2019, Emily Zamourka (her real name is Liudmila Grekova) was homeless in Los Angeles and had been homeless for a full two years. Certainly, she’s not unique in this regard. When my husband and I visited LA a few years ago, we stayed in Santa Monica and I was stunned to see how many homeless people there were. I assumed that it’s because of the moderate climate and the fact that unlike my home state of Texas, California doesn’t have strict laws dictating how and where homeless people can rest.
However, one thing that makes Emily Zamourka unique is that she has immense talent in music. She was in the Metro Purple Line station in LA’s Koreatown when she started singing the aria from “O Mio Babbino Caro” by Puccini. Emily was born in Moldova and she’s 53 years old. She moved to the United States in 1991 to pursue her music career, but shortly after moving, she started suffering from a variety of severe health issues. It cost her a lot of money to pay her medical bills and she ended up being homeless.
For a while, Emily wandered Los Angeles’s streets singing and playing her violin for money. Before she became homeless, Emily also made money as a piano and violin instructor. However, someone vandalized and destroyed Emily’s violin and this left her without the instrument that she relied on to help make a living.
As it turns out, someone was listening to her sing in the subway that day: a police officer with the LAPD. Officer Alex Frazier filmed Emily singing and uploaded the video to social media. The video quickly went viral and opened up some opportunities for Emily. One thing that happened is that a GoFundMe was started, so anyone who wants to contribute to Emily’s re-establishment can do so.
4 million people call LA home. 4 million stories. 4 million voices…sometimes you just have to stop and listen to one, to hear something beautiful. pic.twitter.com/VzlmA0c6jX
— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) September 27, 2019
The amazing thing is that Emily has never had any formal singing instruction. As a result of her video, Emily got her first paid gig as a singer earning $700 playing at a Little Italy festival.
Here is the original video that went viral.
Here’s a news story about her video, with an update as to what’s going on in Emily’s life now.
In the video below, you can see her heartfelt reunion with the police officer who shared her video and changed her life.
We’re so happy for Emily.