Featured Rock the Vote Artist
|1. Forward||Mike de la Rocha||Moving Forward - EP||Rocky||5:08|
|2. Indifference||Mike de la Rocha||Moving Forward - EP||Rock||3:32|
Mike de la Rocha
One of America’s most promising new singer/songwriters, Mike de la Rocha delivers intense, melodic vocals coupled with his signature acoustic guitar sound on Moving Forward, his debut solo album. With music reminiscent of Ben Harper, Bono, and Eddie Vedder, Mike de la Rocha’s emotional lyrics and socially engaging songs seek to heal and inspire while shedding light on global issues affecting us all. For more information, visit: www.mikedelarocha.com
Tell us about your first concert experience:
My first concert experience happened when I was 7 years old and I was riding my bike with my father through a Grateful Dead concert at the Ventura County Fairgrounds.
If you couldn’t be a musician, what would you be doing instead?
I feel like my life’s purpose is to bring people together, so if I wasn’t a musician, I would more than likely still be focusing on positively changing the world through some form of art whether it be writing, poetry, and/or painting.
If you could collaborate with one artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?
I believe that the role of an artist is to not only expose people to certain political and spiritual truths, but to provide an alternative worldview. For me, the music that’s changed my life has always had a message of peace and love and challenged people to think about their critical role in positively transforming themselves and the world. As such, if I could collaborate with one artist, living or dead, I would definitely choose John Lennon because he’s someone who was able to positively change the world through his music and love for humanity.
If you became President, what is the first action you would take?
If I became President, the first action that I would do is pass the Youth PROMISE Act (historic federal youth violence prevention legislation) to make sure that every young person has an opportunity to succeed in life, while at the same time working with the community and members of all political parties to end the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, pass comprehensive immigration reform and marriage equality, and a climate bill that saves our earth.
What social cause is closest to your heart?
The social cause closest to my heart is juvenile justice and the unfortunate fact that the United States incarcerates more young people than any other place on the planet. I believe that societies are judged by how they treat their young people; therefore, I’m committed to raising awareness of our broken juvenile justice system and proven alternatives to rehabilitating and instilling hope in every young person.
What does the right to vote mean to you?
The right to vote means having the right to express your opinion and play a fundamental role in the progression of our democracy.
What bands or artists did you listen to when you were in high school? And which bands or artists influenced your style the most?
The bands that I listened to religiously in high school were: Fugazi, U2, Depeche Mode, Prince, INXS, Nirvana, and Nine Inch Nails.
The bands or artists that influenced my style the most are those who were or are courageous enough to take personal and musical risks and speak from the heart. Acts such as Bob Marley, Radiohead, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Jeff Buckley, John Forte, The Mars Volta, Rage Against the Machine, and of course John Lennon have all played a critical role in my personal, political, and musical development.
What activity or group were you involved with in high school that might surprise people today?
The activity that I was involved with in high school that might surprise many people was that I was a football jock who made the varsity football team during my sophomore year.
What's the biggest obstacle that you had to overcome in high school? (could be personal or academic)
The biggest obstacle that I had to overcome in high school was being comfortable in my own skin. Being one of the few people of color in a predominately Caucasian school made it difficult at times for me to completely embrace my ethnic identity as a Chicano and a person of multiple identities.
Do you do any volunteer or community work when you're not on tour?
History shows that music, arts and culture have made a quantifiable difference in shifting public opinion for specific political issues and ultimately building social movements with a lasting and positive impact.
As such, when I’m not on tour (and even when I’m on tour) I’m always volunteering and helping various social causes, from juvenile justice to the environment, from marriage equality to education reform efforts. I feel that as an artist and a person committed to peace and justice that it’s my duty to be involved in community work that reminds people of our interconnectedness and responsibility to make our world better.
What change would you like to see in our society in the next year?
Next year, I would like to see the Millennial Generation, the largest, most diverse, educated, and connected generation in the history of America, start to have a stronger presence and voice in the political process. For many of us, we are starting to come into our own and recognizing the huge influence that we have as a voting block and as young people committed to equality, justice, and love.
Thus, I look forward to being a part of a movement of young people working to pass progressive legislation that recognizes global warming, gives people the right to marry whom they choose, provides jobs, increases educational opportunities, and creates a dignified pathway to citizenship for millions of people living in America.