A homeless woman, whose video showcasing her singing ability at a Los Angeles Metro station recently went viral, performed for a live audience Saturday, hoping to raise awareness of the homelessness crisis.
Russian-born singer Emily Zamourka appeared onstage during the "Little Italy" celebration in San Pedro, singing the same Italian opera piece that garnered her international attention.
"I'm not a professional singer, but I'm very critical to how I'm going to sound or how I'm going to perform," she said. "It has to be delivered right. It's not easy, so that's why today I will apologize in front of everybody, because they probably thought I'm going to bring a [bigger] repertoire or something. It's going to be the same song that they know me from the subway [for]."
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Zamourka, who has been homeless for the past few years, said that she has been overwhelmed by the worldwide acclaim she has received since the Los Angeles Police Department posted a video of her singing at a Metro Purple Line station on its social media.
The video, which has been retweeted over 6,000 times on Twitter since being posted on Sept. 26, prompted many to applaud her operatic voice. Zamourka didn't know that her singing had been heard by people around the world until friends called to tell her.
She later thanked the officer who took the video, as shown by another clip posted by the LAPD.
Zamourka previously said that she has no formal training, but would not decline to sing on stage. The opportunity to do so came on Saturday.
After performing at the event and giving interviews to local and international reporters, Zamourka left to rest. LA City Councilman Joe Buscaino's office, which hosted the "Little Italy" event, said it is working to find housing for the singer.
But though she thanks everyone who has supported her, Zamourka believes a person's skills shouldn't determine whether they receive help.
"Don't wait until... you discover something," she said. "Be there for them. Help them out. And if you can discover [something] about them later, what they're capable of, what their talents are, it can happen, but everyone deserves a chance."