There’s certainly something to be said for being at the right place at the right time. Poppy Waterman-Smith must have felt like she was on Britain’s Got Talent, except she didn’t have to audition or even compete against other performers.
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She went from busking at Piccadilly Gardens earlier in the day straight to a live performance. That night. At Bridgewater Hall. Where she opened for pop star Seal. In front of more than 2,000 fans.
“I was on a walkabout today and heard the dulcet tones of this beautiful lady,”Seal, 53, told the audience that night last July. “She was busking downtown, so I’m bringing her to you from the streets of your very own Manchester.â€
The 23-year-old singer/songwriter then proceeded to play four of her own songs and a cover of Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song.â€
The day started out like any other for Waterman-Smith, although the intermittent downpours did put a damper on things as she played for spare change, determined to last long enough to at least pay for that evening’s meal.
She’d just finished a song when none other than Seal — whom she initially failed to recognize — walked up wearing his aviator sunglasses, and the two began chatting.
The singer of the hit “Kiss From A Rose”told her he’d been listening to her play for about 15 minutes, then relayed an experience he had several days earlier, when he stood and listened to another street performer in Montreal.
“And it made me realize that the only difference between him and myself was just opportunity,”he told her. “Like maybe my opportunity came around and I was hungry at the time and maybe I was lucky and I seized the opportunity.
“And I figure that with some people, maybe they didn’t seize the opportunity or the opportunity hasn’t come around just yet. I came from the streets, so that’s what kind of fascinates me about listening to people’s stories.â€
Their conversation was recorded on Facebook Live, and during it she told him she originally is from Brighton but moved to Manchester because it would be easier to make a living as a street performer. After a bit more chit chat, Seal asked if he could join her in a song and a crowd soon gathered, using their own devices to record the duo singing “I Shot The Sheriff.”
Later that day, Seal’s tour manager contacted her and invited her to talk with Seal at Bridgewater Hall, where he would be performing that night.
“After our chat he turned to me and asked straight up if I’d like to open his show for him, only if I hadn’t made any prior plans,” she posted on her website. “I was pretty sure there was nothing quite pressing enough to turn down the opportunity to open Seal’s concert so I accepted.”
Putting his star power to use, this amazing international pop star presented this young musician with her own opportunity, a once-in-a-lifetime chance to put her talents on display for the entire world to see.
Watch the video below to see the encounter that started it all.
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