A video posted on Twitter by the Los Angeles Police Department has gone viral, bringing attention to a woman whose opera singing in a Metro station is turning heads. And because of her new fame, Emily Zamourka has now performed her first concert and has a record deal, reports CNN.
The video was taken in the Wilshire-Normandie Metro station and has more than 1 million views just on the original post. Zamourka can be heard singing an opera by Giacomo Puccini, a famous Italian composer.
Zamourka told Los Angeles Times that she is 52 years old and became homeless after suffering serious financial and health problems. She had grown up in Russia imitating the opera singers she saw on television.
Since the video was posted, she has been getting daily requests for photos and videos as people pass through the station.
Los Angeles Councilmember Joe Buscaino invited her to perform at the designation of the city's Little Italy last weekend, introduced her on stage as "America's new sweetheart," and took care of her $700 fee.
"I didn't have much time to practice," she told the audience. "So I'm just gonna sing the same song I sang on the subway...That OK with you?"
Zamourka sang Puccini's aria, "O mio babbino caro" before a cheering crowd.
Grammy-nominated music producer Joel Diamond offered Zamourka a recording contract. "Emily's story is what dreams are made of," Diamond told CNN. "And I never turn my back on a dream."
Officials in the area, in coordination with the LAPD, are working to help her find a stable job and better resources for housing. A GoFundMe campaign to help Zamourka has already raised more than $77,000.
Editor's note: This story has been updated with new information since it was published in October 2019.