When Andrew Steelsmith went for a walk around his downtown San Diego neighborhood last week, he heard someone singing a few blocks away. The voice sounded so melodious so he followed it. ?I knew right off the bat ?. She?s quality. Her voice is amazing,? Steelsmith said. ?I sat through three songs with my mouth wide open. ? She?s sitting there playing in a spot where there?s normally a Greenpeace person or a crappy trumpeter, so it was sort of shocking to see her there sitting and playing.? Steelsmith, a marketing consultant, recorded her Rae on his camera and uploaded it to Reddit. He did not know the singer’s name, but the Reddit community quickly identified her as Charlie Rae despite the low video quality. Rae, 26, has opened for big name singers like Sheryl Crow, Pat Benatar, and Michelle Branch. Rae recently moved from Phoenix to San Diego to take up street performing.
?When I moved here, it was really hard for me to get in the scene,? said Rae in an interview with ABC News. A saxophone player that she met at an open mic night suggested that she takes up street performing to stay in tune. She was skeptical at first, but then decided to try it out about a month ago. ?I was so scared. I?m so used to the stage and lights and the production of it,? she said. ?It?s been amazing singing out there, but at the same exact time it?s been terrifying. It?s been a huge growing experience for me.? Rae now sings for two hours over a few nights per week outside of the Balboa Theatre. ?Once I get into it, I can sing anywhere,? said Rae. ?My shows are about two hours so I try to keep that maintenance on my voice.?
The video that Steelsmith recorded has hit over 400,000 views. ?I was shocked at first because none of my videos had ever had more than 200 [views],? said Rae. ?I was really, really happy. I was surprised at the song. I?ve got ones that are more poppy than that one. It made me really, really happy that people are responding to such a real song.? She has now received many more e-mails from producers and publishing companies.