New York, often coined as the city of dreams, has seen an unaccountable number of struggling artists, professionals and ordinary people throughout the years. The web of subway tunnels has served as a hectic haven for street musicians and performers alike.
The busy and fast-paced lifestyle of New Yorkers offers little consolation to subway artists who are trying to earn a living by sharing their talents. Most of these striving individuals remain nameless, getting a few moments of attention from curious passersby who eventually go on shuffling for the train after a song or two.
One of these talented subway performers who would have remained unrecognized is Mike Yung. A 57-year old vocalist who has been crooning the hollows of the New York train stations for 4 years until 2016 when he would become famous.
Mike Yung was videotaped while doing a candid yet remarkable performance of the Righteous Brother’s “Unchained Melody”. Standing on a subway platform on 23rd and Sixth Avenue, Mike Yung’s deep voice is so strong and soulful it will send shivers down your spine.
The video was posted on YouTube and has gained 4 million views since it was shared. One of those who stumbled upon his video is English comedian James Corden, who aside from being an actor was an also a famous television host.
Corden became so impressed with Yung’s voice that he decided to lead a relentless hunt, dedicated to finding the humble subway singer. After months of tireless pursuit, the long-awaited meeting happened. Mike Yung finally graced the stage of The Late Late Show with James Corden. He performed the same song that made him YouTube famous, much to the appreciation of the show’s audience and home viewers.
It may seem surprising that despite the wave of attention, Yung appears to be unfazed. On an interview with the Pitchfork, Mike says, “See, I had another viral video in October and it went to 13, 14 million views. I got some shows out of it, but no cash. And now, I’m getting calls from everywhere again.”
The soulful singer thoughtfully adds, “You have to love what you do. All of us are blessed, but I’m blessed to wake up in the morning and be able to sing at 7:30 a.m. when I have to.”