Musician Goes From Performing in MBTA Tunnels to Playing Private Party For Rob Gronkowski
That is, once he figured out who Rob Gronkowski is.
Not long ago, violinist Rhett Price decided he wanted to make a career of busking beneath Boston’s streets, performing songs on the platforms of various MBTA train stations after realizing that the impromptu shows could bring in a steady flow of cash from commuters.
But now, Price has taken his talent above ground by performing for the likes of Rob Gronkowski and John Henry, and he hopes to keep the momentum going as he starts to pick up shows at local venues.
In April, Price and fellow former Berklee School of Music student Josh Knowles launched a video of the duo playing a Taylor Swift cover for customers taking the T. After the video was picked up by national online outlets like Huffington Post, requests to play at spaces locally began to crop up more frequently.
When the video of Price and Knowles playing on the T platform received tens of thousands of views, he received a “vague” Facebook message on his fan page from an agent asking if he would be interested in playing a private party for a “big name athlete.” Without much to go on, Price said he turned down the offer. But the agent sending out the invite was persistent, he said. “The lady booking it then laid out all her cards and said it was for Rob Gronkowski, but the problem was, I grew up in Texas and wasn’t sure who he was, so I still said no,” he said. “I Googled him and just laughed … I’m probably the only person in the city who wouldn’t have known him before I met him! So I told her I could do it, and it was a blast.”
Price said that, while most people know Gronkowski to be a party animal, the night with the Patriots player and his brothers was “inspirational” as he sat with them and heard stories about their careers and about Gronkowski’s charity organization, the Gronk Nation Youth Foundation.
Besides getting to spend time with the Gronkowskis at a private party, the event led to another invitation that was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and one that Price said he still can’t believe happened. While performing, someone at the party approached him and asked if he would be willing to do a solo show on Red Sox owner John Henry’s yacht. “The yacht was nuts. I don’t think I’ve ever touched anything so valuable, but more than that, I don’t think I’ve ever met such successful people with such down-to-earth, humble attitudes,” he said, specifically mentioning Henry’s wife, Linda Pizzuti.
Following the performance, Price was given free tickets to the Red Sox game that night and was escorted by a private car to the game. “I’ve been really lucky and really blessed,” he said.
Over the weekend, Price launched a brand new video of him playing a cover of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “Can’t Hold Us,” on the Boston Common, a few days ahead of his first on-stage performance at the Middle East in Cambridge. In two days, the video had more than 10,000 views and counting. ”I’ve always wanted to perform for a living, and it’s starting to happen,” he said, adding that he is working on his first solo album and has deals lined up for other private events as well as a new partnership with a “major” apparel label he couldn’t mention. “And that’s completely [because of] the people who see me playing and ask for a card, throw a dollar in, or come to my shows … because of them, my dreams have started to become reality.”