Mike Yung has a lifelong dream and passion for performing and singing music. For more than 30 years, he’s made a reputation for performing live on the subway platforms of New York City. Earlier this year, he was captured on video in a moment of pure joy when he unexpectedly sang a duo alongside Ed Sheeran.
Down on His Luck
Mike Yung was discovered as a teenager and signed with CBS and RCA prior to being picked up by T-Electric, the same label signed legend Etta James. Sadly, Yung never got the chance to release his first debut as the label went bankrupt beforehand. Instead, he began performing on subway platforms to make some income, where he’d one day sing alongside Ed Sheeran.
In 2018, the hit subway performer appeared on America’s Got Talent, making it all the way to the semi-finals. After the appearance, he’d generated enough buzz to raise more than $80,000 to make his first official record. Sadly, his luck didn’t improve. Ultimately, he lost his house and had to start from scratch. He returned to the subway platforms, where he’s been nearly every day since. Throughout his time performing on Subway platforms, Yung has been stabbed nine times and jumped more than that. Nevertheless, he continues to prevail.
Ed Sheeran’s Thoughtful Surprise
By April of 2023, Mike Yung had overcome numerous obstacles when, one day, something incredibly heartwarming happened. Yung experienced a much-needed pick-me-up from international superstar Ed Sheeran. Sheeran has an impressive career with a total of 46 awards, topping charts with eight different singles. In most cases, at number 1 for several consecutive weeks.
Ed Sheeran Finds Inspiration
Ed Sheeran, a singer and songwriter, was born in 1991 in Halifax, West Yorkshire. He started playing guitar at a very young age and, at 11, began writing his own songs. Sheeran was inspired after a meeting backstage with Damien Rice. The young star became popular in the UK between 2006-2009 and went to the United States in 2010. He was then invited by Jamie Foxx to appear on his Sirius Radio Show, becoming incredibly successful with numerous albums and prestigious duets. Interestingly, he managed to hit number 1 on iTunes before ever signing with any label.
Perhaps one of his most notable achievements came on December 7, 2017, when he was honorably made a member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. Given the honor by Prince (at the time) Charles, Sheeran was recognized for his “services to music and charity.” Although he’s made headlines on countless occurrences, Ed Sheeran was trending again on April 10th, 2023. This time, in an incredibly wholesome moment, shared with subway performer Mike Yung.
Again Ed Sheeran Goes Viral
The viral Instagram video shows Yung singing Sheeran’s hit song Eyes Closed. Yung is singing when Ed Sheeran walks up behind and begins singing. Startled, Yung stops and turns to find Sheeran behind him. The pair hug and chuckle, exchanging a few words before continuing with the impromptu duet. The heartwarming video has more than 100,000 likes on Instagram, posted by a popular account called Subway Creatures.
The account’s creator Rick McGuire captured the sweet moments who often posts his own videos as well as featuring videos sent in by his followers. Featured videos often capture the colorful characters who can be seen riding the subway including a man in a body suit and covered in bird feathers. Fascinatingly, the account also featured a video sent in from one subway passenger who’d been able to capture footage of Hurricane Ida in 2021.
The sweet video captured the hearts of fans everywhere. However, the magic didn’t stop there. Not only did Ed Sheeran hope to surprise the talented Yung with the duet, but he also presented him with tickets to his show at Kings Theatre in Brooklyn, New York.
Writing a Hit
The song Eyes Closed was written by Sheeran himself and has a powerful history. Jamal Edwards passed away from a drug overdose on February 20, 2022. An event that would change life for Ed Sheeran. Edwards was a DJ and founder of SB.TV and was an early supporter of Sheeran’s music career. The pair ultimately became close friends, and Sheeran was hit hard by the news of his friend’s death.
Eyes Closed had previously been written in 2010 and was previously intended to be a breakup song. However, after Edwards’ passing, the song suddenly meant something more and different to Ed Sheeran. The song was released on March 24, 2023, and took Ed Sheeran’s success to new heights. Thanks to the new hit and other hits, Ed Sheeran has a total of 50 weeks in the number 1 spot on billboard charts.
Although, like everything else, the general population is divided regarding their opinion of Ed Sheeran. However, the majority seems to be in favor, gushing over his voice, his talent, and his dreaminess. Furthermore, this video highlights his kindness and generosity.
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- “About Mike.” Mike Yung NY.
- “Ed Sheeran.” Biography September 8, 2020.
- “Eyes Closed by Ed Sheeran.” Song Facts
- “New York Subway Singer Mike Yung, Stabbed 9 Times, Tries One Last Time to Make an Album.” NBC NY. March 9, 2018
- “‘It’s like being a prizefighter’: the busker who went viral on his new chance at fame.” Guardian. Adam Gabbatt. March 27, 2018.
- “Ed Sheeran surprises subway busker singing his song with incredible gift: ‘You just made my day.’ Scoop. Vani Khokar. April 14, 2023.
- “Did You See That Video of the Subway Rat Hauling the Crab? NY Times. Steven Kurutz October 16, 2021.
- “Ed Sheeran Extends Record as ‘Eyes Closed’ Hits No. 1 on Adult Pop Airplay Chart.” Billboard Gary Trust. June 16, 2023.