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Hi, I’m Robbie and I like to tell stories. Usually I tell them with words and music, a guitar strapped around my shoulder, and an earnest look on my face. Sometimes I leave the guitar at home and just use the words part. And sometimes, when I don’t feel like talking, I sit in my underwear at the kitchen table with a nice espresso and write the story down.

Either way, what I’m really after with these stories is exploring that little space between you and me that I call our shared aliveness. I love that and find it the most authentic place to be. What’s more is I find that the more we live in that space, the more compassionate our world becomes. So, welcome gentle soul. And keep your feet off the sofa. It’s new.

My mom could have just moved the pots and pans. Then everything might have turned out differently. But she didn’t. The pots and pans were, at the age of 2 or so, my first instrument, and wisely or not, both my mother and grandmother kept them in the bottom kitchen cabinets where they could be easily reached. I know it’s a common talent at that age, but, by all accounts, I was pretty damn good.

My family moved to Madras, India, for a while, where we got a dog we named Sandy. Ever a performer at heart, I would coerce Sandy and my younger sister into putting on backyard plays or circuses for the rest of the family. Rehearsals were mostly good, but Sandy suffered from a bit of stage fright, or possibly indifference, and so the performances were often more flawed than I’d envisioned.

A few years later we moved to Geneva, Switzerland where, at the age of 7 and to the relief of all, I traded the 10-inch sauté pan for a guitar. It has been my companion and confidant ever since. I started writing songs soon thereafter. That most of the songs were entitled “Girl” or some variation thereof didn’t seem to bother me or anyone else. Hey, I was 7.

Between the ages of 7 and 25, I did some stuff. Somewhere in there my grandmother told me I was an Artist, as though she was stating that the Sky was Blue. No one had ever said that to me that before and life hasn’t been the same since.

Right around 1991, I found myself in a band with three dear friends. We called ourselves Eddie From Ohio, and for about 16 years we sang, toured the U.S. and Canada incessantly, became Waffle House connoisseurs, recorded 9 cds (as they were called back then), sold about 150,000 of them, and generally had a pretty good time of it. We still play when we’re moved to, or whenever we start missing one another, which is more often than you might think.

Somewhere in the middle of all that, I recorded a couple of solo cds, In The Flesh (2003) and Strange and Lovely World (2008), and a kids and family cd called Songs For Kids Like Us (2006).

In 2007, on the strength of that kids and family cd, I got a gig at Sirius XM Satellite Radio, hosting a daily show and being the Music Director for the kids channel, Kids Place Live. You know when you’re a kid and you play air guitar on your tennis racket and announce yourself into a hairbrush? It was kinda like that, and I kept playing radio until 2012.
Somewhere along the way I started listening to a long-dormant voice inside me. Growing from a whisper to a bit of a roar, this voice, once listened to, became a present and urgent sense of responsibility to use my art to serve others. Eventually, out of that, something beautiful came into focus: the desire to use art to help a global audience of kids find the power in their own voices.

Enter OneVoice, the nonprofit organization I founded in 2011. In a few short years OneVoice has given birth to kid-powered artistic expression and social change in India, Africa, the U.S., and Central America. And we’ve only just begun.

And now? I spend time being what I am—an Artist, story-telling through music and words and playing shows in support of my most recent album, Ruby (2014). Light Years, my first musical, will see it’s world premiere at Arlington, Virginia’s Signature Theatre in early 2018.

I am blessed by three teenage boys—musicians all — and my wife, whose voice sounds like Truth itself to me, and we live in a house full of instruments. We often find ourselves sitting around the living room with guitars, banjos, ukuleles, and a cajon all pulled out. Someone sits down at the piano we inherited from my grandparents, and sometimes, we even break out a few pots and pans.

Some of the goings-on around here

408, 2015

A Return to Nicaragua

By | August 4th, 2015|Categories: activism, onevoice|0 Comments

This summer a theme seems to be undeniably emerging. Voices. Everywhere there are voices that have gone un-listened to for far too long. And they are now demanding to be heard. From the #BlackLivesMatter movement [...]

2006, 2015

The black boots climb wooden stairs deliberately

By | June 20th, 2015|Categories: essays|1 Comment

Black boots climb worn wooden stairs. Deliberately. Making just enough noise to let the inhabitants of apartment 5b know that the jig is up. You don’t own this place, I do. And, by the way, [...]

405, 2015

Fear and Magic: A son’s meditation on loss

By | May 4th, 2015|Categories: blogs, essays, spirituality|1 Comment

Originally published in the Elephant Journal, Oct. 2014 I have to tell you that I’m losing my father. What I really mean to say is I’ve lost him. What’s worse is I have no idea [...]