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12-year-old musician earns £200 an hour from his ‘charming’ cover songs

A 12-year-old musician who wowed guitar legend Johnny Marr was making as much as £200 an hour from his ‘charming’ covers of The Smiths songs. John Denton’s performances on the streets of Manchester stopped shoppers, while videos of his fingerpicking skills went viral on social media. And the boy’s talents were recently recognized by guitarist and songwriter star Marr after he was selected for a £1,000 scholarship established in his name. But his father Phil, 42, has now revealed that the prodigy’s abilities have already helped him rake in hundreds of pounds an hour playing to shoppers. The former head teacher 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 put in a coin, sometimes a pound or two – and then put in a £20 note. “He got £200 on a Christmas Day. That was after about an hour. But he is not interested in the money at all. “When we get home, he won’t count it. He doesn’t even ask how much it was, he just walks away. “We put it in a savings account for him and he bought his electric guitar with it. And the other pieces he has saved, he uses to record new songs.” Schoolboy John said of meeting the legend of The Smith recently: “Johnny Marr is my absolute hero on guitar. “It was great meeting him and then getting messages from him online. I want to make Johnny Marr proud and make the most of this opportunity.” Phil said John, who received this year’s Johnny Marr Award from the Salford Foundation Trust, got his first gig when he was just nine years old. And since then he has played in front of thousands of people on major festival stages and regularly played in the streets. in his hometown of Manchester. He said, “Once he picked up the guitar, he never put it down, to the point where we all went to bed and I heard him rustle. We’d yell at him and say, ‘John, put your guitar down!” “He immediately wanted to do performances, wanted to do them for the family. He started writing people and sent hundreds of letters. “He had a lot of setbacks. Finally, somewhere near us, he asked, “Can I play my guitar,” and they said, “Yes.” And he gathered 70 to 80 people to watch him. “He was about nine years old at the time. “Since then he has played at Middleton Arena to an audience of 200 people and at the Kendal Calling Festival, where he played to 1,000.” John was also nominated for the Young Songwriter Award of the years, which earned him a trip to Notting Hill to play at the live final. And after his most recent award success, Johnny Marr sent the lad his heartfelt congratulations, telling him: “It’s a pleasure and a privilege to help to offer to a young musician, especially when they are as dedicated as John. Well done brother.” Peter Collins CBE, of The Salford Foundation Trust, added: “There could not be a more worthy recipient of the Johnny Marr Award. “Even though John is only 12, he has already proven his commitment to making a future in music and we are delighted that the Trust can lend him a helping hand on this journey.”

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