Drawing inspiration from soul music, classic singer/songwriters and socially conscious artists like John Lennon and Bob Marley, Mike de la Rocha has been described as a modern day Bob Dylan with emotional lyrics and heartfelt songs that seek to heal and inspire.
Although the hard-working, modest singer-songwriter smiles at those comparisons, de la Rocha teamed up with his cousin Milan de la Rocha in 2011 to form MDLR to expand the reach and sound of his music. Since then, MDLR have won fans over by exploring different (and often challenging) musical textures while taking their brand of acoustic folk-rock all over the United States and Europe.
Since the release of “Moving Forward,” Mike's debut EP in 2010, de la Rocha has performed at various high profile concerts with world renowned artists. These performances include the Clean Energy Tour with Pete Rock & CL Smooth, shows with John Forte and the Roots, performed at the Interdependence Day Conference in Berlin as well as other large scale events in Mexico, France, Germany, South Africa, the United Kingdom and Canada.
In 2012, Mike merged his love of politics and music by creating The Living Rooms Across America Tour, a 10 state tour that utilized music to stimulate conversation, build community and inspire people to get engaged in the civic process. With memorable performances in front of thousands of people, including shows at the Democratic National Convention and on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, the tour provided community members with tools to create greater awareness of important issues and helped connect non-profit organizations nationally.
Mike has been a featured artist for Rock the Vote, the nation’s preeminent nonpartisan voter registration organization, and continues to gain national attention as a public speaker and contributing writer to Russell Simmons’ Global Grind website and HyperVocal. Mike is scheduled to perform and speak at the upcoming TED x-Venice and Chicago Ideas Week in 2013. MDLR released their first live album on March 1, 2013.
For more information, visit www.mikedelarocha.com and www.onestorymanyvoices.com
Mike de la Rocha - Voice/Guitar
Milan de la Rocha - Bass, keyboards, and Vocals
The Living Rooms Across America Tour - Live Album
"Moving Forward" - 5-song debut solo EP
"Broken Ornaments" - Album with Los Angeles-based rock band Broken Ornaments
Another Detroit Is Happening
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Read a Forbes.com article that mentions Mike and The Living Rooms Across America Tour as part of “An...Read a Forbes.com article that mentions Mike and The Living Rooms Across America Tour as part of “Another Detroit Is Happening,” a gathering of 125 of the most amazing thinkers, doers, entrepreneurs and activists from across North America.
Community:Mike de la Rocha
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Mike de la Rocha was featured in Issue 29 of F.O.K.U.S. INSIGHT magazine. The purpose of F.O.K.U.S. ...Mike de la Rocha was featured in Issue 29 of F.O.K.U.S. INSIGHT magazine. The purpose of F.O.K.U.S. is to educate, empower and unite communities utilizing the arts. F.O.K.U.S. highlights the importance of and need for arts and creativity in life – for both the artist and the audience.
Rock the Vote Featured Artist
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FEATURED ROCK THE VOTE ARTIST October 2010 One of America’s most promising new singer/songwriter...FEATURED ROCK THE VOTE ARTIST
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.
The Clean Energy Tour – Success for CA & Our Future
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“Our Voice, Our Vote and Our State” Focused on sustainable climate legislation, voter mobilizatio...“Our Voice, Our Vote and Our State”
Focused on sustainable climate legislation, voter mobilization, and creating a solid student voting bloc, The Clean Energy Tour, and it’s main Partners; The California Student Sustainability Coalition (CSSC), Communities United Coalition, Communitree, Rootz Media, The Greenlining Institute, Rainforest Action Network, Fusicology.com, and the Natural Resource Defense Council, has mobilized a movement to change the future of California and the planet.
By providing a powerful union of arts, activism, and education, the tour has organized and empowered over 60,000 youth and students, alongside diverse communities, to “be the change” needed for social, environmental, and economic justice.
History shows that music, arts and culture have made a quantifiable difference in shifting public opinion for specific political outcomes and ultimately, building social movements with a lasting impact. Together with hip hop music celebrities like The Legendary DJ Pete Rock, CL Smooth, and DJ Muggs of Cypress Hill as well as artists rooted in their local communities like Mike de la Rocha, FREEDOM from Haiti, Erik Rico, and Christen Lien, The Clean Energy Tour has proven this age-old tactic to build unity through the common language of the arts to speak truth to power.
The Clean Energy Tour campaign utilized all of the traditional organizing methods, coupled with earned media campaigns, student lead viral videos, pledge to vote widgets/apps, leadership trainings, high profile press conferences, 6 musical concerts at UC, CSU, and CCC campus’, and empowerment tool-kits for mobilizing voters. As citizens in a divided political atmosphere, unlikely heroes have come to together to reclaim the future of our voice, our vote and our state!
For more information, contact Shelly O’Neil at Rootz Media at email@example.com
Do I Gotta Start Paying for Clean Air Now?
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"Do I gotta start paying for clean air now?” - CL Smooth from the legendary Hip Hop group Pete Rock..."Do I gotta start paying for clean air now?”
- CL Smooth from the legendary Hip Hop group Pete Rock & CL Smooth
Imagine people dragging around an oxygen tank just to breathe fresh air because some corporation is making another profit off of the pollution in the air.
Imagine wars popping off all around the world because of lack of clean water.
Imagine millions of climate refugees having to carry a global green card in order to escape the environmental destruction in their homelands.
Now, imagine what we could do if just half, let alone all of us, vote on Nov. 2nd for candidates and initiatives that have the best interests of our children and our planet in mind.
Imagine people realizing the privilege that some of us have to simply breathe clean air and not have bombs falling in our backyards.
Imagine the impact that young people around the world could have by coming together to demand clean air, green jobs, and dignity in our schools and neighborhoods.
I tell you that the only thing real at this moment in time is whether we choose to stand up and make a difference or whether we choose to lie down.
I tell you that the lobbying interests in Washington and in your hometown are banking, literally banking, on you staying home and not exercising your right to vote at the ballot box.
And I tell you that we can continue positively changing America if we decide to do so.
This past month, I've had the privilege to be the opening act on the Clean Energy Tour with Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Garth Trinidad from KCRW, Freedom from Haiti, DJ Muggs of Cypress Hill, the amazing Christen Lien, and Aaron Ableman.
The Clean Energy Tour is backed by over 120 social and environmental organizations from across California representing one of the largest on-line and off-line youth organizing movements this election cycle.
From college campus to college campus, we’ve built community, educated each other on our own power as a voting block, and discussed the interconnectedness of issues from the environment to immigration reform to education equity.
Through the tour, thousands of students were engaged, inspired, and motivated to not only vote but to join organizations committed to making a positive difference in their communities.
And through the tour, we, as artists and organizers, constantly reminded ourselves that it's our voice and our vote that will continue to transform America.
So regardless of what the pundits say on TV or on the radio, I’m re-inspired because artists from Pete Rock & CL Smooth to Rosario Dawson to DJ Skee are actively involved in getting the youth vote out because we all know how critically important this election is.
So remember to vote fearlessly on Nov. 2nd and to keep organizing for the kind of world that we all know is possible.
For more information on the Clean Energy Tour visit: www.cleanenergytour.com.
Cover: Masters of War
Cover: Bob Marley/Marvin Gaye Mix
Just Be You
There are no upcoming dates at this time.