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12-year-old musician earns £200 an hour busking thanks to his ‘lovely’ cover songs

A 12-year-old musician who wowed guitar legend Johnny Marr earns up to £200 an hour busking thanks to his “lovely” covers of The Smiths songs. John Denton’s performances on the streets of Manchester brought buyers to a halt, while videos of his finger-picking skills went viral on social media. And the boy’s talents were recently recognized by star guitarist and songwriter Marr after he was shortlisted for a £1,000 grant created in his name. But his father Phil, 42, has now revealed that the prodigy’s skills have already helped him earn hundreds of pounds in cash an hour as he gambles with shoppers. The former conductor added that despite this impressive financial reward, the youngster, who has played festivals for thousands of fans, was not interested in money. He said: “People are very generous, and they throw in a strange coin, sometimes a pound or two, and then the strange person puts in a £20 note.” He received £200 one Christmas. That was after about an hour. But he is not interested in money at all. “When we get houses, he doesn’t count it. He doesn’t even ask how much he was, he just walks off. “We put it in a savings account for him, and with it he bought his electric guitar. And the other parts that he has saved have been used to record new songs ”. Schoolboy John said of recently meeting the legend of The Smith: “Johnny Marr is my absolute hero on guitar. “It’s been amazing meeting him and then getting messages from him online. I want to do Johnny Marr proud and make the most of this opportunity.” Phil said John, who this year received the Salford Foundation Trust’s Johnny Marr Award, had his first concert when he was just nine years old and since then has played to thousands of people on major festival stages, as well as playing at the street regularly. in his hometown of Manchester. He said: “When he picked up the guitar, he never let go, to the point where we’d all go to bed and I’d hear him whisper. We’d yell at him saying, ‘John, put the guitar down!’ “He wanted to do concerts right away, he wanted to do them for the family. He started writing to people and sent hundreds of letters. “He got a lot of pushback. Eventually, he asked somewhere near us, ‘Can I play my guitar?’ , and they said, ‘Yes.’ And he gathered 70 to 80 people to watch it. ‘I was about nine years old at the time. Since then he has played Middleton Arena to a crowd of 200 and at the Kendal Calling festival, where he played in front of 1000.” John was also nominated for Young Songwriter of the Year, which earned him a trip to Notting Hill for play in the live finale. And following his most recent award success, Johnny Marr sent the lad his heartfelt congratulations, saying, “It’s a pleasure and a privilege to help a young musician, especially when you’re as dedicated as John. Well done bro.” Peter Collins CBE, of The Salford Foundation Trust, added: “There could be no more worthy recipient of the Johnny Marr Award. music and we are delighted that the Trust can help him on this journey.”

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