Ian Rhett

Antiwar songs by Ian Rhett

Ian discovered both his songwriting and singing voices just two years ago. His reaction to the events of 9/11 sent him on a 27 month soul-searching journey to find his purpose in the world - working as an executive in the advertising world suddenly felt empty and meaningless. For over the next two years, Ian searched for a direction that inspired him. As 2003 wound to a close, he still hadn't found "it," and finally gave up, spending the last two weeks of the year tying up loose ends to start the new year with a clean slate.

He stayed home on New Years, preferring to pray rather than party. In the early hours of 2004, he was struck with an insight that would change his life forever - he discovered he is, in fact, a songwriter.

Though he'd played improvisational piano since he was 8, he'd never actually written a song, nor performed in public since his seventh grade school musical (as "Nicely Nicely Johnson" in Guys and Dolls). Needless to say, this was a substantial and challenging change of course. A disciplined daily writing and rehearsal schedule (a minimum of 2 hours a day, every day) resulted in over a dozen songs in the first six months.

In June of 2004 at the advice of his vocal coach, he took the first opportunity he could to perform. A friend was organizing an event to get people involved in politics. One of the first songs he'd written was a song that was sort of political, so he offered to perform "(Didn't Know I Was) Unamerican." At showtime, two similar events elsewhere in the city that night meant a nearly empty house. For Ian, it was his first time singing a song in public. One of the few people in the audience happened to be an advisor to one of the Democratic Presidential candidates (Kucinich) and soon invited Ian to the Democratic National Convention.

Spending his last dollar for a roadcase for his piano, Ian went to Boston, met people and ended up closing the Kucinich Presidential Campaign Gala. He turned the trip into a mini-tour, performing hour-long sets of original songs at eight appearances in four states, returning home to begin working on a video for the song that prompted his trip - "(Didn't Know I Was) Unamerican".

The video was launched to his address book of friends and family and a few online communities and immediately saw widespread distribution on the internet, being called "A Must See Video" by Ben & Jerry's and TrueMajority founder Ben Cohen.

In late October, the Kerry Campaign invited Ian to Florida to perform at events including soloing at the Democrat's Florida Headquarters party on Election night, and the Let Justice Roll tour's final stop in Miami, featuring appearances by Michael Moore, Senator Bob Graham, and national religious leaders.

The "Unamerican" video continues to be seen by hundreds of people each week as friends forward the song on to friends, and so on and so on. As a result of the viral phenomenon, an estimated million people have heard the song online, on the radio, in churches, conferences and classrooms and soon in film.

In recognition of Ian's talents, over 10,000 people have signed up for his email list, eagerly awaiting new music from this freshly minted voice.

The song and video, "(I Know Why You're) Semper Fi" demonstrates Ian's development as a songwriter and vocalist over the last year and a half and shows off some of his nearly 5 octave vocal range.

He's now working on a demo for booking gigs, and will continue to focus on developing singles and viral videos for the web. As an Internet evangelist and pioneer, he plans to prove that the new music paradigm (online, direct to fans) makes it possible to make both a living and a difference in the world as an artist.