A homeless woman who dazzled the internet with her incredible opera singing in a Los Angeles subway station has been offered a recording contract. Grammy-nominated producer Joel Diamond caught wind of her viral video and now wants to take a chance on Emily Zamourka, he told CBS News.
Diamond has drawn up a letter for Zamourka with the hope of creating an "innovative classical/EDM [electronic dance music] crossover hit record for the subway soprano," he said in a press release. He talked to CBS News about his decision to find and sign her.
"I try very hard to think out of the box," Diamond told CBS News. "I saw her on this viral video like everybody else and I said to myself, 'You know something — and I felt it in my gut — there's not only a great story here, but also a great career here. And all she needs is an opportunity to help her fulfill her dream.'
"And that's when I reached out and I hope to be going into a recording studio within the next couple of weeks."
The record would be titled "Paradise," and would be released on Diamond's label, Silver Blue Records. TMZ first reported the news Thursday. Diamond, who has produced the likes of classical piano-playing ensemble "The Five Browns" and "Knight Rider" actor David Hasselhoff, has an ambitious plan for Zamourka.
"I've actually recorded the tracks and I have them ready to go. It's a classical crossover with EDM," Diamond said. "Nobody's done it yet. That's the direction I'm going to take her."
He told CBS News he's been trying to get the contract to Zamourka. It is unclear whether she has heard about or responded to his offer.
Last week, an LAPD officer filmed the Russian-born Zamourka singing a famous Puccini aria in a subway station. The video was posted on the department's Twitter account and it went viral. She received global attention and an outpouring of GoFundMe donations.
Zamourka, a classically trained violinist and pianist, moved to the United States from Russia 30 years ago, CBS Los Angeles reports. She taught music lessons, but she began to have serious health issues and later racked up huge medical bills which forced her to work several jobs to make ends meet.
Zamourka played her violin in the streets to make extra cash, but then her $10,000 instrument was stolen a few years ago. She became homeless after she was unable to pay her rent and bills. Prior to her viral fame, she was sleeping on cardboard as a mattress in a parking lot.
Without a violin, she performed for subway commuters with something that can't be stolen from her — her enchanting voice. "It sounds great when you're in the subway," she told CBS Los Angeles. "It sounds beautiful."
In the week since the video was posted, nearly $100,000 in donations have poured in for Zamourka through two GoFundMe accounts. She also has a singing gig this weekend in San Pedro.