A Homeless Woman Singing an Opera Aria Solo Is Beautifully Haunting

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.

Emily Zamourka subway opera singer Los Angeles

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.

Emily Zamourka subway opera singer Los Angeles

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.

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.

Emily Zamourka homeless woman singing in the subway

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.

Tiffany Willis Clark is a fifth-generation Texan and the founder and editor-in-chief of The Best Stuff Online, AmReading.com, and a few other websites. In 2011, she made the decision to pursue her dreams and become a full-time writer. Tiff is obsessed with finding the most interesting, coolest stuff online and sharing it with the world. Connect with her on LinkedIn, follow her on Twitter, and like her Facebook page.