Jessica Dennison and her ukulele perform “Grave”

Jessica Dennison plays her original tune “Grave” on ukulele in 2010.
In the summer of 2010, New York-based musician Jessica Dennison was passing through Asheville, and decided to give busking a try on our streets. By the time I ran across her, however, the looming clouds and drizzle made it very clear that her next song would be the last in her set. So, armed with her ukulele and charm, she performed her original tune “Grave” for the Busk Break project.

This video was the first “hit” Busk Break recording, quickly reaching 1,000 YouTube views in a matter of weeks. It’s easy to see why: Dennison is talented performer, it’s a fun song, and it doesn’t hurt at all that she’s almost painfully cute. Add to that her seeming shyness (half the time she’s playing, her eyes are closed tight) and that “whoops” face she makes at the end when she slightly messes up the melody, and it’s hardly surprising that she won over the overwhelmingly young male demographic Busk Break was attracting at the time.

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Steve Shanafelt

Steve Shanafelt used to think he was a writer. Lots of other people thought he was a very good one, and they paid him to write everything from news articles to erotic comic books. Then, a few years ago, he started to realize that writing was just one very tiny piece of the puzzle. He started recording podcasts, producing field recordings of busking musicians, making short video series and learning how to make websites. Along the way, he learned lots of ways not to manage businesses and how to promote those businesses online. Now, people pay him surprisingly large sums of money to show them some of the things he's picked up.