Greenville man offered his tech firm, now performs saxophone on streets

John Sterling of Greenville, plays his saxaphone around downtown Greenville, Tuesday, November 16 2021.

Under the yellowing fall leaves of Christmas-light-wrapped trees, John Sterling is playing his saxophone as darkness falls in downtown Greenville.

He plays the blues — the notes light and swinging, then deeper, more melancholy.

His black-and-white Boston terrier, Poppy, settles down at his feet as a small group of women and a little girl approach.

Some of the women film him on their cellphones. The little girl runs up and drops a tip in his saxophone case, then skips away, smiling. 

Sterling, a Greenville native, doesn’t play for the money. In 2006, he sold the company he helped launch to success, Datastream Systems, which serviced the majority of Fortune 500 companies.

Instead, Sterling plays to make people happy. 

“It’s a combination of really enjoying mixing it up, playing for people, having those little positive interactions,” he said. 

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