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From IT to busking, Billy follows his love of music

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Brendan Rees

Billy Advic has taken a leap of faith and he couldn’t be happier.

The 59-year-old Southbank resident is exploring his musical side after taking up busking in the streets of the CBD.

A general manager of an IT company by day, Billy wanted to embrace his love of music by performing live to an audience, which, for years, felt daunting.

But he’s now strumming his acoustic guitar with a newfound confidence and enjoying being part of the city’s cultural fabric.

“I took out a busker’s permit as a challenge – a dare to myself really, since I’ve never done any kind of street performance before,” he said.

“I was amazed at how many people stopped by to have a chat and sing along – I just loved it, totally.”

Billy said he had worked in IT all his life, but music was always his passion, noting he was a “big fan” of Bob Dylan, John Denver, Neil Young, and ‘80s and ‘90s Aussie rock.

“When I was about 14, a family friend gave me a very old nylon string classical guitar and the John Wesley Harding vinyl record by Bob Dylan. I was instantly hooked on Dylan’s music because all I wanted to do is play songs (any songs), and Dylan songs were easy to play,” he said.

Today, he loves that the power of music was fulfilling and being able to share it with the world on the streets of Melbourne – but noted he wouldn’t be quitting his day job.

“I busked for about two hours and played a medley of Dylan and other popular acoustic songs. I earned my first ever income from entertaining others – a total of $19.05 – woo hoo!”

 

The most heartfelt moment was when a young boy maybe five or six years old came up to me and said he had no money to give, so get gave me his balloon instead. How charming!

 

A grandfather of two, Billy moved to Melbourne from Perth just over eight years ago. He recently moved to Southbank and loves the lifestyle, particularly the “carnival-like feeling” in the evenings.

“Melbourne city and Southbank certainly have a cultural buzz about them and it’s so nice to be among it all.”

While he’s taking time to recover from knee surgery, Bill said he looked forward to being “out on the streets busking away”.

“I also love listening and watching other buskers and performers along the boulevard – there’s some truly amazing talent on display.”

Looking ahead, he said he would ultimately love to play at venues after Christmas when he has a “more comprehensive set list ready”. •

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