GOOD

After 40 Years, This Amazing Singer From Manhattan’s Subways Is Getting His Due

He shares his amazing tale of promise, disappointment, and late-life success

Mike Yung’s story plays out like a Hollywood movie in reverse, but a new act suggests that he might just be in for a happy ending after decades of passionate hard work. The 56-year-old, born Michael Young, signed with RCA’s record label at just age 15, but after the label ran out of cash, it shuttered, leaving Yung’s album unreleased. For the next 40 years, he’s taken to Manhattan’s subway platforms, most often in the Broadway-Lafayette or the 23rd and 6th station, to perform.

And while it might not be Carnegie Hall, his talent and dedication exposed him to countless people coming and going every day. The era of a “hit record” has come and gone, but Yung has found himself living the life of today’s equivalent – a viral star.


Here’s the man in action, with enough views and retweets to make him a bona fide star in 2017:

The video found its way to Reddit, as these things often do, and Yung himself commented on the post with a little of his story for background: my name is mike yung and I am from brooklynthank u for supporting me.i have found some people who are helping me put out my original songs and my debut album.i have been in the subway for more than 30 years. im still here.i was signed to rca when i was 15 years old. then i was signed with the help of a grammy winning producer teddy vann to etta jame's last label called t electric. the label went bankrupt. my debut album never came out. and this is where i've called home for the last 40 years of my life. i hope my music gets me out.i hope to do an ask me anything soon and asnwer all your questions.god bless.

Here’s Yung backed by a band, pouring his soul into “A Change Is Gonna Come” while making impressive use of the subway’s acoustics.

It didn’t take long to turn his internet notoriety into more traditional gigs, such as this appearance on the Late Late Show with James Corden:

Even the train’s noise is no match for Yung’s booming voice. But make no mistake – competing with trains to sing for hours on end is no easy way to make a living, as Yung revealed when he was profiled by Pitchfork last year:

“It keeps you going. People I know, that I've been with, have been doing it just as long as me. You have to love what you do automatically, because what I do is not easy. I sing against trains for four or five hours.”

He recognizes that he’s the last of a dying breed. Fortunately, for both lucky commuters and those online, they’re beginning to realize it as well, giving him the attention he deserved, but never got, as a young talent. While he might jaunt off to Hollywood for an appearance or elsewhere for a paid gig, he realizes his residency is on the subway platforms.

Articles
via Alan Levine / Flickr

The World Health Organization is hoping to drive down the cost of insulin by encouraging more generic drug makers to enter the market.

The organization hopes that by increasing competition for insulin, drug manufacturers will be forced to lower their prices.

Currently, only three companies dominate the world insulin market, Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi. Over the past three decades they've worked to drastically increase the price of the drug, leading to an insulin availability crisis in some places.

In the United States, the price of insulin has increased from $35 a vial to $275 over the past two decades.

Keep Reading Show less
Health

Oh, irony. You are having quite a day.

The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet

Since the International Whaling Commission banned commercial whaling in 1986, whale populations have been steadily recovering. However, whales in the wild still face other dangers. In the summer of 2018, four Russian companies that supply aquariums with marine animals captured almost 100 beluga whales and killer whales (aka orcas). After a public outcry, those whales are swimming free as the last of the captive whales have been released, the first time this many captured whales have been released back into the wild.

In late 2018 and early 2019, a drone captured footage of 11 orcas and 87 beluga whales crammed into holding pens in the Srednyaya Bay. The so-called "whale jail" made headlines, and authorities began to investigate their potentially illegal capture.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via Twitter / Bye,Bye Harley Davidson

The NRA likes to diminish the role that guns play in fatal shootings by saying, "Guns don't kill people, people kill people."

Which is the same logic as, "Hammers don't build roofs, people build roofs." No duh. But it'd be nearly impossible to build a roof without a hammer.

So, shouldn't the people who manufacture guns share some responsibility when they are used for the purpose they're made: killing people? Especially when the manufacturers market the weapon for that exact purpose?

Keep Reading Show less
Business
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

The 2020 election is a year away, but Donald Trump has some serious ground to cover if he doesn't want it to be a historical blowout.

A Washington Post- ABC News poll released Tuesday shows that Trump loses by double digits to the top Democratic contenders.

Vice President Joe Biden (56%-39%); Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts (54%-39%); Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont (56%-39%); South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (52%-41%); and Sen. Kamala Harris of California (52%-41%) all have big leads over the president.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics