Street musicians bring diversity and style to the streets of Seattle

Metea Media

Staffers from News and Yearbook Journalism attended the National High School Journalism Convention, held in Seattle, Washington from April 6-9. This is one of three stories in a series called “Sights and Sounds of Seattle” documenting their trip.

Co-written by Connor Smith and Liam Sweeney.

From the psychedelic blues of Jimi Hendrix, the angst-filled grunge of Pearl Jam and Nirvana, and the raucous garage rock of The Sonics, many great musical acts have had the tremendous honor of calling Seattle home. Although great music has always flowed throughout the city, some of the city’s most dedicated and talented musicians can be found performing on the streets for everyday citizens.

Commonly known as “buskers,” these street musicians perform on a daily basis to not only entertain crowds, but also to gain experience and help earn a positive reputation, along with some extra cash. These musicians range from simple acoustic singer-songwriters to experimental acts jamming out on homemade instruments.

Matthew Shockey is one of the several musicians who performs on a near-to-daily basis at Pike Place Market, one of Seattle’s most notable tourist attractions, despite the signature Seattle weather conditions he faces constantly.

“There’s lots of distractions over here. It can be cold and windy, and sometimes homeless guys can throw stuff at you, but if you can keep playing your music and staying calm, it makes being on a stage that much easier,” Shockey said.

Born and raised in southern Idaho, Shockey decided to move to the city of Seattle. He believes that coming to a city known for such a wide range of musicians has helped him expand his repertoire and influences.

“To go play shows and get better, and then get encouragement from musicians who I think are way better than me, is a confidence booster as far as the working part. I get to do something that I’m passionate about,” Shockey said.

From a young age, Shockey became enamored with music. The sheer beauty of music made him instantly gravitate to it as a future career.

“When I was young I would hear a melody that would haunt me, and just be in my head forever. Then I would just hum it, and the way it would make me feel was just amazing,” Shockey added.