A street musician was stunned when she looked up from her keyboard and saw John Legend and his family among the crowd gathered to hear her perform a cover of the Grammy-winning artist's hit song, "All of Me."
Radha Rao often plays her keyboard and sings outside Boston's historic Faneuil Hall Marketplace but never before has she had an audience quite like she did over the weekend.
In video posted Sunday on her Instagram, Legend is seen standing in the crowd with his wife, Chrissy Teigen, and his two children, Luna and Miles. After Rao finishes the song, he walks up to her, gives her a tip then hugs her. She revisited the moment in an interview with NBC News.
"I started singing the song, and I was enjoying myself, and I see this man wearing a trench coat and a mask and I think, 'That looks a lot like John Legend — why would he be in Boston?'" Rao said. "When he took off his mask, I was shocked."
The singer admitted it was a "nerve-wracking moment" but one she "enjoyed tremendously." After the performance, Rao said Legend shared his gratitude with her.
"Thank you so much for singing my song," she recalled him saying. "He was so incredibly humble and encouraging to local artists. I look up to him immensely, and I love that he plays acoustic instruments like I do," Rao added.
In her Instagram post, Rao wrote it felt as if it was a mix of "divine timing and luck" that Legend happened to be walking past while she was performing his song.
"Several times a month, I perform my two-hour set – a mix of R&B, soul, pop, and my own originals," she captioned the video. "'All of Me' is part of my regular set, and this Sunday feels like a gratifying step in my creative journey as I continue to seek out growth and deepen my artistry in the Boston scene and beyond."
Rao added the experience taught her just how important timing and hard work were.
"But that the real joy lies in making the music I love," she added. "That's what I am driven by – the desire to create and share art for my communities, and for myself."
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