Music and politics aren’t the usual bedfellow mix in most conversations on Capitol Hill, but for Danny Ross, both subjects are his passion, career and life.
The district staffer for Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) also is a piano-pop rocker, and the 23-year-old from Melville, N.Y., said he always had ambitions in both the music industry and the political arena.
“I think that music and politics have more to do with each other than people think,” Ross said. “From my view, the ultimate goal of an artist is to delve into yourself, learn your ins and outs, and come out the other side with a clearer, more distinct world perspective, which includes a political perspective.
“If people wonder why artists are always yapping about politics, that’s the reason. I think they’re inherently linked.”
Recently, Ross used his musical talent to demonstrate his support for various political affairs. He hosted a benefit concert for the non-profit organization 9/11 Environment Action at New York City’s Bowery Poetry Club on Sept. 15. The concert raised more than $1,600 for the group, which will benefit those harmed by World Trade Center contaminants by advocating for a comprehensive cleanup of downtown Manhattan along with medical monitoring and health care.
While working as a New York scheduler for Nadler, Ross has had the opportunity of understanding and admiring the dichotomy of politics and music. Ross said his “ideal entry-level job” has helped him in coordinating a music career through multitasking and paying close attention to derail.
“Scheduling rehearsals with musicians, working with artists on Web site design and t-shirts, booking gigs and contacting press, all while focusing on personal growth as a songwriter, pianist and vocalist is an arduous undertaking, as you can probably imagine,” Ross added. “It would be impossible for me to make it all happen without a strict level of organization, which the Congressman’s office really ingrained in me.”
Nadler is elated that Ross’ experience with him has opened a window into many different policy issues. “I’m thrilled that Danny organized a benefit to raise awareness on 9/11 health issues,” Nadler said. “He has a great band and it has a conscience, too.”
Ross became familiar with 9/11 Environmental Action through the Congressman’s office. In appreciation of Ross’ efforts, Nadler spoke at the show. Ross said it was great to see his boss clapping to the music, along with the rest of the Nadler staff who have been incredibly supportive of his music career. Ross described the night as “ truly my double life coming together.”
“On weekdays Danny handles my scheduling requests, maintains our office operations and coordinates Congressional interns. At night and on weekends, he becomes a rock star,” Nadler said.
Though Ross spends most of his day handling scheduling requests, maintaining the fluidity of the office and coordinating events for Nadler, he also takes time to apply all those lessons to his mission of achieving his dreams of a career in music that he would like to follow up with an equally successful career in public service.
Ross, a self-taught pianist, said that though the majority of his time is devoted to politics, Ross’ music isn’t overtly politically oriented like the 1960s political folk tunes he loves — yet.
“I’m eager to jump into it, but it’s difficult to write political songs that are both timely and timeless,” Ross said. “I’ll definitely get there, but it’ll require a special attention to do it right.”