Smithtown High School graduate Jason Samel has always been a music lover but never thought his passion would lead him to executive produce an album, called 'Occupy this Album' with a track by Michael Moore for the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Samel, owns and insurance company with his father in Jericho, NY, said it all started with a trip to Zuccotti Park in New York City in September where the Occupy Movement began.
"I thought I'd check it out," said Samel, who lives in Great Neck. "And I fell in love with the buzz."
It wasn't just the meaning behind the Occupy Movement that drew Samel in, but rather the music that was pouring from the streets — the beats from the drum circles, the harmonies of the harmonicas and strums from the guitars.
"The music chimed in my ears," he said.
Samel, who writes music himself and has a music website, called Musicforegypt.com based on Middle Eastern revolutions, said he soon introduced himself to a few of the musicians, including Matt Pless, who Samel said gave him the inspiration to create the Music for Occupy Label, which promotes Occupy protest music.
"This guy, no joke, is one of the best lyricists I have ever heard. His music is socially conscious and speaks the truth," said Samel, who said he asked Tless for business card and was surprised that his card was simply a piece of paper with his name written in magic marker.
"I couldn't understand why his business card was a piece of paper and nobody had ever heard of him," said Samel.
That's when Samel decided to share this music with the world.
"I never produced an album in my life," said Samel, "but I figured I could figure it out."
Before Samel could blink an eye, he had musicians sending him tracks, with free rights and royalties.
But there was one thing Samel said he needed before he could release the album — a star.
Samel reached out to Michael Moore and after a few meetings he agreed to be a part of the album.
"Things just cosmically aligned for me," Samel said.
The album, which features 99 occupy artists, including a track by Samel, called “Smile, Get Up and Sing,” is set to be released on May 15 with all proceeds going to the Occupy Movement. The album can be purchased on websites, such as Musicforoccupy.org, Amazon.com and in stores, like Best Buy. Pre-orders are available for $9.99.
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