A man who spent 20 years as a street busker has finally hit the big time with a million-pound recording contract.
Si Cranstoun, 38, started writing his own songs and performing when he was just 16.
For years he struggled to make ends meet as he played on London’s streets – where Prime Minister Tony Blair once gave him 30p.
Eight years ago he met his wife Tamu when she heard him singing in Croydon and asked him to sign his CD.
But success evaded him until April last year when he finally landed a breakthrough deal with music giants Warner.
Si is due to release his debut album this summer after being backed by Radio 2 DJ Terry Wogan.
His debut single ‘Caught in the Moonlight’ was shortlisted on the Radio 2 playlist last month.
Si, from Caterham, Sussex, said: “There were stages where I felt like it wasn’t going to happen but in my heart I thought this is the path I wanted to go down.
“That mentality just got me through the day. Now I’m just thanking my lucky stars.
“When I was played on the radio my family came over and my parents were in tears. They are so proud.
“It has been a wonderful life and street entertainment is all about lifting people’s spirits and enjoying the music.
Si recalled the day he proved to be an instant hit with Tamu when she stopped to listen to him singing one of his own songs, Beautiful Stranger.
They immediately fell in love, got married two years later and six years on now have a daughter, Tiva, five, and a son Kaius, three.
Si said: “Tamu came over and asked for a CD to be signed. I didn’t even look at her until I saw this hand holding a CD.
“I glanced up and I came face to face with the most beautiful face I had ever seen.
“It was a really natural thing. I realised she was gorgeous and so wrote my e-mail down and asked her to let me know what she thought.
“Then she got in touch and the rest is history. She’s been a big support and encouraged me to keep going.”
Tamu, 35, a former manager, said: “I am just so happy for him and so proud.”
Despite his new-found fame Si still goes back to the streets to perform.
He added: “I’m writing songs to try and stop people from doing their shopping.
“I’ve still got my busking trolley and my battery and I enjoy getting back out there.”