We interview sensational busker Lydia Gerrard – you may have seen Lydia perform at London’s Waterloo Station

We were so impressed with Lydia Gerrard after seeing her busk at Waterloo Station that we couldn’t wait to ask her a few questions!

Charles Dardenne @clovispicture

When did you first start performing. Was it at a young age?

I started ‘performing’ when I was in nursery – I was always forcing my parents to watch my made-up shows in the front room and this progressed to taking part in every school play or choir I possibly could. When I was 8 I joined the church choir (mostly because there was an annual trip to Thorpe park!) where I fell in love with hymnal and classical music. A career in the West End has always been my dream, I don’t think I’ve ever considered anything else. Which is scary because nothing is guaranteed in life but the way I see it is that life is so temporary and unexpected it would be a waste to strive for anything other than your dream.

What memories do you have of your first busking session? Was it in London?

My first ever busk was in Victoria station, my amp was brand new… and it was faulty. I started to sing Nessun Dorma and the amp died five words in! I had to pack it all up and go home – I was gutted! But my first successful busk was in Waterloo station and the support I received from the public and station staff was so overwhelming; all I could think about for a solid week was ‘wow, people are so NICE!’

How nervous do you get when you start singing in front of strangers?

The first time I was a little nervous just because I didn’t know what to expect; I was worried people would tell me to shut up so that they could have peace and quiet after a long day at work and to be honest, I would have completely understood that. But as soon as I realised that the reception I received was wonderful reception, my nerves completely disappeared. Now when I busk, I don’t feel any nerves (which is weird for me because I can always find something to worry about) and I feel as comfortable singing in front of hundreds of strangers as I do having a chat with my mum!

Photo by Andrew Lunn @andrewlunnphoto

What is the strangest thing that has happened to you when busking?

I was busking in King’s Cross and a lady came over to me and placed a napkin on my head and later returned to steal a tenner from my basket! Luckily my parents were there to help (their job description includes roadies, security, and management). They come to every busk because they love hearing me sing and they are my biggest supporters. And obviously, for safety reasons but for the most part, I’ve been very lucky with the people I’ve encountered!

Do you have any advice for someone that wants to busk?

Just do it. It is the most fun, flexible and rewarding job I could ask for at this stage of my life. It has given me the biggest confidence boost and I have met some very amazing people through it. Have a look online for busking schemes – there are official rules and regulations that most people don’t realise exist. You’ll need a license and public liability insurance (I’m with the musician’s union). Other than that, you just need an instrument or your voice!

Charles Dardenne @clovispicture

What is your favorite musical and who do you admire most in musical theatre?

My favourite musical, without a doubt, would be Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera. When I saw it for the first time I sobbed the whole way through, and the same thing happened when I saw it for the fourth time! Every piece of music in that show is genius to me and my one dream role would be Christine. For this reason, Sierra Boggess is my idol in musical theatre because her portrayal of Christine is, for me, perfection.