I had one of the best days of my radio career: I got to speak with one of my favorite musical artists of all time - John Ondrasik of Five For Fighting. His albums Slice and Bookmarks are two of my favorite albums ever, and "Superman (It's Not Easy) is my favorite song of all time. I was a Superman fan from a young age, so naturally, the song resonated with me because of that. My dad would rock me to sleep to the song most nights. I'll forever connect the song with my dad and I growing up. Over the years, the song has taken many forms for me, and it has gotten me through some hard times.

Townsquare Spotlight w/ John Ondrasik of Five For Fighting

Hence why it was an honor to speak with John Ondrasik this weekend. John and I talk about his latest "Music Matters Challenge" in conjunction with Music in Our Schools Month. We also talk about how John is no stranger to writing songs with strong social messages. His latest single "OK" dives into the catastrophes happening in Israel. John shares accounts of his recent visit to Israel and performing for refugees. Lastly, we talk of the legacy songs like "Superman (It's Not Easy)" and "100 Years" have had on the social consciousness.

Catching Up w/ GRAMMY Nominated Five For Fighting

In the two decades since Five for Fighting’s first major single, “Superman (It’s Not Easy),” hit the stratosphere, Five For Fighting (aka John Ondrasik), has released six studio LPs, including the platinum-certified “America Town” and “The Battle for Everything;” and the top-10 charting “Two Lights,” along with an EP and live albums. A post 9-11 anthem, Ondrasik performed “Superman (It’s Not Easy),” at the 2001 Concert for New York, a benefit show at Madison Square Garden that honored first responders and the fallen about a month after the tragic September 11th attacks.
 Ondrasik has penned major hits, including the chart-topping “100 Years,” “The Riddle,” “Chances,” “World,” and “Easy Tonight,” which have earned tens of millions of streams and placed him as a top-10 Hot Adult Contemporary artist for the 2000s. The reflective “100 Years” has joined “Superman (It’s Not Easy)” as part of the American Songbook and continues to stand the test of time. Five For Fighting’s music has also been featured in more than 350 films, television shows, and commercials, including the Oscar-winning “The Blind Side,” “Hawaii Five-O,” “The Sopranos,” and the CBS drama, “Code Black.”  For more information visit: www.fiveforfighting.com.

Five For Fighting's "Music Matters Challenge" for Music in Our Schools Month

Tying in with "Music In Our Schools Month,"GRAMMY® nominated John Ondrasik of Five For Fighting and The Tullman Family Office, through its operational philanthropic wing Tullman Community Ventures, announce the “Music Matters Challenge,” which launched on March 26, and is running through April 30; with the Grand Prize winners to be announced on May 14. The national online music challenge asks Americans to create an original rendition of the song “Let Music Fill My World,” a song recorded and written by Five For Fighting’s John Ondrasik and students of the Farragut Career Academy in Chicago, Illinois; while sharing their own story of a time where music greatly impacted them, changed their life, or moved them to where they remember that story today.   The challenge is designed to spotlight the magic of music and bring awareness to the generational impact of removing music from schools. To enter the contest, visit: www.letmusicfillmyworld.com.
Let Music Fill My World
Let Music Fill My World
The “Music Matters Challenge” is hosted by “Let Music Fill My World,” an organization founded by The Tullman Family Office, and is on a mission to ensure that every child in America has access to music education in their schools. Two Grand Prize winners will be awarded – one for individual entries: $10,000 in cash, plus the opportunity to participate in selecting a music teacher for an under-resourced school to receive a salary of up to $300,000 for three years;  and one for school entries, where the winning school receives a $25,000 school grant.
Let Music Fill MY World
Let Music Fill MY World
“Let Music Fill My World” was created to ensure every child in America has access to music education in their schools with efforts to put the mission in action by
  1. Placing Music Teachers in Schools - every year, the Tullman Family Office will fund at least one full-time music education teacher in a school in America that does not have one, for a three-year salary up to $300k.
  2. Maximizing Fundraising for Music Education Nationwide by paving a path for significant fundraising opportunities through concerts and other artistic ventures with iconic artists to increase nonprofit funding in support of music education in schools and
  3. Increasing Congressional Attention on Federal Funding for Music Education by using the Let Music Fill My World platform to urge Members of Congress to support robust funding for music education in schools.
Says Ondrasik,
"In speaking with philanthropist Cayley Tullman about how we can best support music in the schools in inner-city Chicago, I thought of my mom, Anna Marie. Mom was a USC music grad and piano teacher. When LA Unified cut all music funding for schools in the 1970s, she volunteered at Van Gogh Elementary School and began putting on full musicals with the 5th and 6th grade classes. The impact that my mother had on me, and my classmates resonates over 50 years later. Many students still keep in touch with my mom, and for the most, music has continued to be instrumental in their lives. That is why I was so proud to collaborate with students at Farragut Academy in Chicago in writing “Let Music Fill my World.” Though the title was mine, the lyrics are the kids! That effort, due to the Tullman Family Office, now provides a full-time music teacher for three years at Farragut! Lives will be changed for the better. The “Music Matters Challenge” will bring our mission and efforts to the nation, raising awareness for music in the schools while letting everyone sing and lend their voice to such a critical cause while having fun, and again, participating in a prize that will bring another full-time music teacher to a school in desperate need.”
Adds Cayley Tullman, President of The Tullman Family Office and former U.S. Diplomat:
"I remember sitting on the floor in front of the couch at my grandparents’ home in California, mesmerized watching my Uncle Stan play guitar and sing. Stan struggled with mental health and addiction, but when playing music, he shined so bright.  Looking back, I believe music was his solace and gave him a way to express himself that he could not do with words alone.  I miss him a lot and know he would be proud of our mission to connect more young people with the magic of music.”
Stay up to date on all things “Let Music Fill My World,” and the “Music Matters Challenge” on socials here. Check out video message from John Ondrasik and Cayley Tullman.

Five For Fighting's "OK" is Not a Political Message, But a Moral One

John recently released a new single/music video, “OK” – a composition that expresses Ondrasik’s heartfelt view about the October 7th Hamas attacks in Israel, while addressing the cultural aftermath both in America and around the worldMichael Ramirez, two-time Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist, drew the single cover image.
The State of Israel and the Israeli Foreign Minister both shared the video.  Ondrasik states, “’OK’ is not a political message, but a moral one. A call to action. The final image of the ‘OK’ music video is Martin Luther King and his historic call to every man and woman on this earth: ‘He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.’  Thankfully, as happens in the darkest of times, there are heroes in our midst. Some are in this video, several have names that we know, others will never be known.”

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