A 12-year-old musician who wowed guitar legend Johnny Marr pulls in as much as £200 in an hour busking thanks to his ‘charming’ covers of songs by The Smiths.
John Denton's performances in the streets of Manchester stopped shoppers in their tracks, while videos of his finger-picking skills went viral on social media.
And the lad's talents were recently recognised by guitarist and songwriter star Marr after he was selected for a £1,000 grant created in his name.
But his dad Phil, 42, has now revealed the prodigy's abilities have already helped him rake in hundreds of pounds in cash per hour while playing to shoppers.
The former head teacher added that despite this impressive financial pay-off, the youngster, who's played at festivals to thousands of fans, wasn’t interested in money.
He said: “People are really generous, and they’ll drop the odd coin in, sometimes a pound or two - and then the odd person will put a £20 note in.
“He got £200 one Christmas. That was after about an hour. But he’s not interested in the money at all.
“When we get homes, he doesn’t count it. He doesn’t even ask how much it was, he just walks off.
“We put it in a savings account for him, and he bought his electric guitar with it. And the other bits he’s saved up, he’s put towards recording new songs.”
Schoolboy John said about meeting The Smith’s legend recently: “Johnny Marr is my absolute hero on guitar.
"It’s been amazing to meet him and then get messages from him online. I want to make Johnny Marr proud and make the most of this opportunity.”
Phil said John, who was this year’s recipient of the Salford Foundation Trust’s Johnny Marr Award, had got his first gig when he was just nine years old.
And since then, he's played to thousands of people on major festival stages, along with busking regularly in his hometown of Manchester.
He said: “When he picked the guitar up, he never put it down, to the point where we were all going to bed and I would hear him rustling about.
“We would shout to him saying, “John, put your guitar down!”
"He wanted to do gigs straight away, wanted to do them for the family. He started to write to people and sent hundreds of letters.
“He got loads of knockbacks. Eventually, he asked someplace near us, “Can I play my guitar”, and they said “Yep”. And he got together 70 to 80 people to watch him.
"He was about nine at that point.
“He’s since played Middleton Arena to a crowd of 200 people, and Kendal Calling festival, where he played in front of 1000.”
John was also nominated for the young songwriter of the year award, which earned him a trip down to Notting Hill to play at the live final.
And following his most recent award success, Johnny Marr sent the lad his heartfelt congratulations.
He told him: “It’s a pleasure and privilege to give some assistance to a young musician especially when they’re as dedicated as John. Well done, brother."
Peter Collins CBE, from The Salford Foundation Trust, added: “There couldn’t be a more worthy recipient of the Johnny Marr Award.
“Even though John is only 12 he’s already proven he’s committed to making a future in music and we’re delighted the Trust can give him a helping hand on this journey.”