What to Know
- The subway singer with the huge voice can finally make his decades-long dream a reality
- Mike Yung, 58, has raised enough money to record a short album thanks to a Kickstarter campaign
- Yung has been singing in the subway for 38 years and even made it to the semi-finals of "America's Got Talent"
The subway singer with the huge voice can finally make his decades-long dream a reality.
Mike Yung, the 58-year-old New Yorker who has been busking the subway for the past 38 years, has raised enough money to record a short album thanks to an online fundraising campaign.
Having come so close to achieving his dream, only to have it slip through his fingers on many occassions, he turned to the crowdfunding website Kickstarter to ask the public for help financing his debut album. The public and fans alike came out in full force — helping him surpass an initial $75,000 goal to put out a short album.
Yung’s voice is so powerful and memorable that he was scouted for "America’s Got Talent" — making it all the way to the semi-finals.
At the age of 14 he was signed to RCA and then to T. Electric, a label that counted such greats as Etta James and Luther Vandross among its artists, according to his Kickstarter. But, in a cruel twist of fate, the label went bankrupt and Yung’s debut album was never released. He later decided to turn to performing in the subway to earn a living and support his family in the projects of Brownsville, Brooklyn.
Yung sings for three to four hours a day or until his voice gives out, but these gigs don’t pay nearly enough and he makes about $40 a day performing, his crowdfunding campaign says.
Throughout his life, Yung faced many adversities head-on, including being stabbed nine times and being jumped on many occasions.
Not only was Yung scouted for "America's Got Talent,” but videos of him singing get hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions of views on social media.
On Kickstarter, Yung’s manager, Danny, explained that the exposure and fame hasn’t led to a paycheck.
"While the agents book the shows and the business managers oversee the finances, there is nothing they can do without an album. Mike has an incredible voice, but he hasn't been given a shot yet," he said.
Although Yung’s Kickstarter campaign surpassed the minimum goal, and with about a week left in fundraising, Danny hopes to close in on the ultimate $125,000 goal in order for Yung to record his full-length album, aptly-titled, “Never Give Up.”