D.I.Y.

Homeless Street Musician Goes Viral On YouTube, Gets A Record Deal, & Turns His Life Around

image from loyalkng.com (UPDATED) Remember that YouTube video that when viral of a homeless person singing Radiohead's "Creep" on the Opie & Anthony Show? That video went on to garner 1.7 million views. Many fans, after seeing it, remarked that this guy, known as Daniel "Homeless" Mustard, should get a record deal. A Hypebot reader wrote in to notify us that he got one.

Over a period of a few months, Story Records called in a few favors, recorded on a low budget, and gave Daniel a shot at becoming a professional musician.

“We saw so many people genuinely moved by Daniel’s music and his circumstances," James Bertuzzi, Daniel's Executive Producer, told Hypebot.

In the beginning, Daniel was a homeless alcoholic street musician. He came into the Opie & Anthony studios for their annual Homeless Shopping Spree. In passing, he said that he was a musician. The studio staff, being curious and having no idea what to expect, found him a guitar. Reportedly, he performed an original song that stunned the entire staff. Then they asked him to play a cover.

The rest is history. He played "Creep" and became a YouTube phenomenon.

Sometime later, Story Records caught up with Daniel, he went into a halfway house, and they pulled strings to record his record on a low budget. This story has all kinds of themes, ranging from using YouTube as an A&R vehicle to the importance of having an authentic, compelling narrative behind your artist.

"Daniel embodied a very raw energy people were connecting with, and hungry to hear more of, ” Bertuzzi noted further. “He had active fan-created communities scattered across the web, so we accessed them and they covered the release."

In addition, to ensure this project more immediately benefited Daniel, Bertuzzi said that they "focused on keeping overhead extremely low" throughout the recording project, "so he would see an upside as quickly as possible.” Watch:

Then:

Now:

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30 Comments

  1. The tracks are pretty solid on his album. They just need a more up-tempo number. He really should have had “Last Time” as the closer, instead it was left out completely. I think he deserves to have more mainstream notoriety, especially with all the garbage out there today. Mustard is real and raw. I wish him all the best.

  2. I was listening to the original show when Mustard came in and blew everyone listening away. A lot of focus has been put on the cover of Creep but I actually like his original stuff even more.
    Hope he remains sober and goes far.

  3. Sounds like fucking Dave Matthews. Shit compared to his ‘creep’ rendition. See what a record deal does to you? God dammit, I thought it’d be better.

  4. It’s called “autotune”–whatever people felt from his voice is GONE, replaced by computer-generated vocals.
    He sounded better, and realistic, in his cover, indeed. Why? ’cause that’s his real talent. As soon as the record studio added autotune, he sounded like EVERYONE ELSE.
    “‘Daniel embodied a very raw energy people were connecting with, and hungry to hear more of,’ Bertuzzi noted…” THIS was the truth that the record bums ignore, before they decided that autotune would magically make it even better. Autotune took-out the raw energy and made it smoother…
    Last time I checked, no one [truly] connects with that (autotune). We can only [truly] connect with the lyrics and the tempo; not the voice that made him popular. =P
    AKA: If he debuts without autotune, he will be successful; with autotune, he will be dropped.

  5. Mustard is raw, yes, but his recordings won’t demonstrate that /depressed
    I really adored his cover, and then heard previews of his recordings… What happened to why people adored him/his vocals? Oh, it had to be the tough past. Yep, it couldn’t possibly be his raw, rough, and non-autotuned voice! /sarcastic

  6. Michini,
    Auto-tune was not used at any point during the recording process. Daniel’s pitch and intonation are as close to perfect as they come, so it wasn’t necesary.
    Perhaps you are confused as to what auto-tune actually is, and the modern audio recording process in general.
    James
    James

  7. Story records got lucky. Opie TRIED to help him, got him studio time at Sirius studio. Mustard blew it, by choosing to be a drunk diva. Way to remember who got ya noticed CREEP

  8. Didn’t go to Berklee, Full Sail, or The Musicians Institute…just got up and did something constructive – and now he has a record deal! My students will eat their hearts out!
    As I say to my students every semester, they can learn a lot in my class, but the one thing I can NOT teach them is gumption; as exemplified in this article.
    The truth is no longer in the pudding, it’s in the mustard, Daniel Mustard to be exact.
    Bravo!
    Gian Fiero, Adjunct Professor
    San Francisco State University
    Music/Recording Industry Program
    http://www.professorfiero.blogspot.com

  9. His voice is quite good. The studio musicians helping him out on this recording are rather shitty, though. Somewhere buried in this pile of not quite up to par band performances are songs yelling out to be recorded by people who are up to the task…
    They aren’t exactly tight and the engineer could’ve done a better job too.
    Hope they will fix it in the mix.

  10. We’ve got a famous bum in the UK who got a recording contract out of the gutter called Seasick Steve. He’s an American, came over to be a bum in England then made it big.

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