A Word of Wisdom from Superman

Crescendo issue: July 2014
“All star piano based rock.”

That's Five for Fighting, otherwise known as John Ondrasik, who will be on the Kresge stage on July 19. This prolific artist, known for hits like “Superman,” “100 Years,” and “The Riddle,” will be a highlight of the week for many people. But, for Ondrasik, his highlight comes when a grouping of Interlochen singer-songwriter students take the stage as his opening act.

Ondrasik is a self-described “20-year overnight success.” While he was launched into the national consciousness with “Superman” in 2000, his success has been hard-earned. At the age of thirteen, with the basic skills mastered, Ondrasik walked away from formal piano lessons and turned his attention to writing his own music. Understanding the desire to write and perform his own music, Ondrasik is looking forward to his opening act, a group of talented singer-songwriters: current Camp student Jack Schneider (Atlanta, Ga.) and Arts Academy students Lauren Jones (Essexville, Mich.) and Madison Douglas (Clarksburg, W. Va.).

“Playing with an orchestra is always a blast but watching and chatting with young singer-songwriters is something I always look forward to,” says Ondrasik. “Hopefully I can leave a word or two of wisdom to let them know what to expect down the road.”

Much of Ondrasik’s set will be backed up by a full orchestra. “Over the last couple years I have been doing symphony shows, which is inspiring for me and hopefully a new treat for my audience,” he said. “My records have always had elaborate orchestrations and to be able to recreate that live, and reinvent the hits is exciting.”

“We will be doing a few songs with the band but at least an hour with the orchestra,” he continued. “I will also be debuting Five for Fighting songs never before played live, so it will be an adventure for us as well.”

The high point of this performance for Ondrasik will be meeting with young artists who hope to emulate his success someday. When asked what specific words he would leave with the students, his answer was that of a well-seasoned musician who has worked his entire career for the success that surrounds him now.

“Write, Write, Write. Take the stage, perform your songs, and don't let anyone stop you.”

More information on the July 19 Five for Fighting performance can be found here.