Trend spotter: Amateur songwriters for Obama

The Illinois senator is inspiring unknown musicians to compose their own odes to the presidential candidate.

courtesy of dipdive

It took just two days for Miguel Orozco to compose the corrido "Viva Obama." Less than a week later, in time for President's Day, he'd found a mariachi band to record the song, produced a video, and posted it online.

The rush? He wanted it heard in the run-up to the March 4 Texas primary. Orozco's swift turnaround and facility with rhyming in Spanish aside, the head of a Los Angeles media company says he's not a songwriter: "I just felt, well, I am inspired by Barack Obama."

Before "Viva Obama," Mr. Orozco's songwriting repertoire included only "Obama Reggaeton," which he wrote to rally young Latino voters behind the presidential candidate as part of his one-man outreach campaign, Amigos de Obama.

It's no surprise that "artists inspire other artists," says Chicago Sun-Times music critic Jim DeRogatis. But not in his lifetime has the veteran newspaperman seen someone with Obama's oratorical abilities. "He inspires people to express themselves in their talents in the way that he obviously does as a rhetorician."

From the star-studded ensemble that put together "Yes We Can" (top) and the YouTube phenomenon known as Obama Girl, who crooned about her "crush," to first-time and lesser-known songwriters like Orozco, Barack Obama's presidential bid has clearly struck a chord with the musically inclined. The senator, who is popular in rap shout-outs, has been designated "B-Rock" by the hip-hop community.

Even as far back as 2006, Obama's possible candidacy made a cameo in Neil Young's "Lookin' for a Leader."

And well before that, Annie Palovcik, a songwriter and travel photographer, had set pen to paper in tribute to the senator from Illinois. The Canadian songstress won't be voting in the presidential election, but Ms. Palovcik says the folksy tune she wrote in 2004 is her way of political campaigning, envelope licking, door knocking.

"People don't write songs about politicians," says A.D., the Voice, a hip-hop artist in Los Angeles who recorded "Obama 08" after the Iowa caucuses. "People write songs about leaders, about agents of change, about people who inspire them."

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