“I started a project called ‘He Plays for Me’, wherein I sit with homeless people in NYC and play/sing songs on my guitar. All of the money we make, they get to keep. It started last year. I was coming home on the subway late one night carrying my guitar and a homeless woman holding a cup said, ‘this would be much easier if I had one of those,’ and pointed to my guitar case. She said that people who play instruments often get more charity than those who do not. That conversation sparked the idea.
I was just starting to get comfortable as a solo artist (always in bands before), and playing by myself still made me a bit nervous. So I thought, why not play sitting next to someone and help them get a few extra bucks? It seemed like a win win. That weekend, I went and played with several homeless people just to see if this would work. We always made at least some money, some sessions went better than others. The best moments by far were in the stories that these individuals told me. It is amazing what people will tell a complete stranger. I was also surprised at how much it impacted my life. I remember one older man I played with asked how my day was going, we had been sitting together for a few minutes so I felt pretty comfortable and said something like, “Tough day at work, and then I got in an argument over the phone with my sister.” He replied to me, “Oh but you have a job? Man that is AWESOME! And about your sister, I have not talked to mine in years; I do not even have a phone or number to call.” It really taught me a lot about perspective.
I continue to be inspired each and every time I get the opportunity to do this. In a competitive place like NYC, it is so easy to lose appreciation for all the fortunate things I have and focus only on the things I want next. There is no better reality check than having a chat with someone who keeps all the possessions they own in a small bag. I leave each session incredibly humbled.”0