Sanjaya Malakar Spotted Busking in a NYC Subway Station (PHOTO)

American Idol season 6 sensation, Sanjaya Malakar, was recently spotted busking for change in a New York City subway station. Check out the photo above from In Touch Weekly

“He was singing ‘(Sittin’ on) the Dock of the Bay,’” said an eyewitness who spotted him performing in the First Avenue L station.

Sanjaya was a very polarizing contestant the season he competed. He kept advancing despite the opinion shared by many that he could not sing. He did some television work afterward, but never really got a career off the ground. I heard that he was also tending bar in NYC to earn money.

As far as busking is concerned? A person’s gotta do what he’s gotta do…

Via In Touch Magazine

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  • aj rabin

    I’m sure Simon is telling himself “I told you so”

  • Bobbi

    That is sad.

  • No Thanks

    I wouldn’t assume he’s homeless. I doubt he’s the first singer/musician/artist to ever play in the subway.

  • too-cool-for-school


  • Whitney

    Jessie J sung in the subway….

  • bridgette12

    Yeah she did, but she had talent.

  • abbysee

    I never knew the concensus was that he couldn’t sing. And Mj, tending bar for money? Certainly he can spin straw into gold like all the other ex idols! Lol!
    Anyway I wish him well. I liked him. Maybe I will run into him.

  • pj

    I didn’t think Sanjaya was a great singer, but I did like that he made an attempt to be memorable. And see, he is! In Touch still cares…

  • fuzzywuzzy

    I didn’t think that Sanjaya was a great singer, but I wasn’t one of those who thought that he “couldn’t sing”. I remember being impressed that he was handling all of the negative publicity and mocking very well for such a young guy (I think that he was 17 on Idol).

  • girlygirltoo

    You can actually make a decent amount of money busking in the NYC subway, depending on the day and what station you are in.

    And busking doesn’t equal homeless. Lots of people busk on the Santa Monica Pier out here, for example (although you need a permit)

  • MellyPer1692

    I thought Sanjaya could sing, his talent compared to some from the last few seasons of Idol was definitely comparable lol.

  • vortexpanel

    I’ll never understand why so many marginally talented singers and musicians insist on trying to “make it” in the music business. 99% of singers will never be able to make a comfortable living in the industry, even the ones with above average or even exceptional talent. Idol finalists like Sanjaya are just postponing the inevitable when they keep pushing for a music career after Idol. It is simply NEVER going to happen for them.

  • fantoo1

    Like who? I think anybody from the last few seasons could sing better than him.

  • jpfan2

    Kind of sad. That said the L train is the cool train (it’s the train to Williamsburg).

  • TT19

    Kris Allen learned that the hard way…

  • iani

    It’s sad to hear that, but the reality is, there are many like him and many don’t feel sorry for themselves, EU is full of them. Last year I talked to one of them, a folk rock WGWG UK singer, how hard it is to have a career in music…and the reason I had the guts to ask him how he’s doing busking on downtown’s streets was because next to his hat with some money in, there were some of his homemade CDs of covers with well known songs of different genres. And I said for myself, what a great idea not to feel totally sorry for him and I bought his CD with $6. Hope Sanjaya to be fine at some point of his life.

  • No Thanks

    I could be wrong, but last I heard, Sanjaya was in college. So this whole busking and bartending thing could all be side jobs while he’s studying.

  • JD

    This should be a lesson for all those Idol contestants performing tonight that are getting that Hollywood touch, glamorous stylists, people tending to their needs, living in a hot home, going down red carpets to ENJOY this and realize most of them will never experience this again and many wont be able to eek out a living off music. Others will be able to cash in on their “as seen on Idol’ for a while and maybe get a 50K salary in music vs being a secretary. Others will quickly disappear…Even more so that Idol ratings are lower than ever

  • David Facenfield

    hasn’t he done numerous reality shows and the like since AI? so may well be nothing more than a publicity stunt?

  • Eilonwy_has_an_emu

    The photo’s edited so it’s impossible to tell if this was part of the Music Under New York program that dominates NYC subway busking. If it is, doing it is not at all a sign of homelessness or desperation, though it’s an odd career move outside a handful of major cities.

  • Bug Menot

    Richie Sambora was busking in NYC yesterday.

    This chick did it last week.

  • girlygirltoo

    I saw on one of those Idol “Where Are They Now” articles that Sanjaya had supposedly just done some sort of tour with a band he was in. So who knows why he is doing this.

  • Li Wright

    This makes me sad. I thought he was a good looking kid. and had a decent enough voice. He’s about 20 years old and has been in NY for about 3-4 years now. If he can’t make it in NYC, then go home to Seattle and be with his family.

  • jersey

    Busking doesn’t necessarily mean he’s struggling. My son is a student at the Berklee College of Music. At the cost of tuition there, most of the kids have access to money yet they busk all over Boston; on the streets, in the subway etc. It allows them to practice what they love and make a few bucks while their at it. They mostly do it because they love it.

  • Incipit

    “… it’s impossible to tell if this was part of the Music Under New York program that dominates NYC subway busking.”

    Eilonwy_has_an_emu, It certainly could be that, It could be publicity, it could just be a lucrative day job….Not only can’t we tell – but In Touch Magazine just threw the photo out there with no attempt to get further details, encouraging everyone to take a Swan Dive off the Cliffs of Assumption. So slipshod. IMO.

    The Music Under New York program has been going on for 20 years, they hold yearly auditions for aspiring buskers in Grand Central Station – ->

    “While it’s technically legal for anybody to play music in the subway, MUNY artists can display official banners, use amplification, don’t have to worry as much about pesky transit cops, and have dibs on some of the best and busiest spots underground, according to WNYC.”

  • Cory Patrick ??

    A Lot of people do it out of love for music. I’ve always wanted to experience it myself.

  • Amy Beth

    The most popular T stations actually have competition for the good busking slots!

  • blackberryharvest

    While we are on the subject of Sanjaya, what ever happened to his mom? I remember she was in a coma after being struck by a car. How is she now?

  • kim

    Most of the successful “musicians” in the industry are marginally talented. And it’s possible to support yourself as a musician without a record label or platinum album.

  • usedtobelucy

    No shame in busking. You get practice. You get to find out something about what people like. You get fresh air. You might even get a few bucks or, depending on where you are, quite a few bucks at times. And, for the most part, it’s actually fun. … And as I recall, Sanjaya likes to have fun. (In fact, I wish I were young enough to do it again without *actually* looking like a homeless person….ha)