Someone who stumbled across the YouTube music video “I’m An American,” with its lyrics about Washington being “out of touch,” might think it was written by someone in deep-red America -- Kansas, perhaps, or Wyoming.
Instead, it was written just down the road from the Nation’s Capital, in Reston, Va.
The song by John Schwarzman, a self-described “‘spare bedroom’ guitar player” who runs an advertising and marketing company, was played on a Pennsylvania radio program in September and has become an underground hit among conservatives. The song features local vocal artist Todd Googins, mostly known for commercials, as lead singer.
In an interview with About.com, Schwarzman said the state of the economy and its impact on his small business led him to write the song. But while he says the last two years have been tough, he stayed away from slamming Democrats directly.
“It would have been easy to take cheap shots at particular people -- like Obama, Reid, or Pelosi,” he said. “But I stayed away from that on purpose because this song represents a bigger message.”
Schwarzman focused on federal spending, saying, “I have two young grandchildren and want them to have the same opportunities that I have enjoyed. They won't if they are crushed under a mountain of debt.”
He said he decided to write the song after his business partner’s son said many felt the same way, and that music would be a good way to spread the message.
“I am not a professional musician,” Schwarzman said. “I have never been in a band. I have never really written a song before. But the idea kept nagging at me, and I thought I would give it a try.”
After the song got a positive reaction, Schwarzman got a videographer to cut the video. Schwarzman felt that YouTube was the best way to easily attract a wider audience for the song.
But despite his success, Schwarzman says he doesn’t expect there to be a follow up. He told About.com’s Justin Quinn, “I want to be a one-hit wonder, and then make a scrapbook for my grandkids.”
Follow P.J. Orvetti on Twitter at @PJOinDC